Iyama Yuta wins 41st Tengen and 63rd Oza

Iyama Yuta 9p came back to Tengen by defeating Takao Shinji 9p with a 3-0 score.

The 41st Tengen final, game 3 was played on November 25, 2015 in Fukuoka, Japan, and Iyama Yuta won by resignation at 147 moves.

Takao Shinji 9 dan (left) and Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 41st Tengen final.

Takao Shinji 9 dan (left) and Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 41st Tengen final.


Return match of Tengen

In 2014, Takao Shinji challenged for the 40th Tengen, and he defeated Iyama Yuta with a 3-2 score to become a new Tengen.

However, Takao didn’t succeed to defend Tengen title against Iyama.

This year, Iyama Yuta defeated Yuki Satoshi 9p at the challenger deciding match, and he became a challenger.

Game one of the final, Iyama built a big moyo over the center for Black, and White invaded. Black attacked White’s invading stones fiercely, and there was a serious capturing race in the center.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing the game just after finishing game 3.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing the game just after finishing game 3.

Unfortunately for White, Black had one more liberty to win the race, and the game was over at the same time.

In game two, the opening was relatively peaceful, but Iyama started to play aggressively after he failed fighting at the top.

Takao (Black) was clearly ahead up to 81, and Black maintained his lead until the end of middle game.

However, Black 149 was a crucial mistake, and White caught up through to 180. The game was still very close, but Iyama showed his special technique, and he won the game by half a point.

In game three, Takao seemed to lose his fighting spirit after losing his won game in game two. Iyama showed his power through the game, and he captured White’s huge group to finish the series.

Iyama had held Tengen for three years from 2011 to 2013, so this was his forth Tengen title.

Another return match of Oza

Iyama Yuta 9 dan (left) and Murakawa Daisuke 8 dan, reviewing game 2 from the 63rd Oza final.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan (left) and Murakawa Daisuke 8 dan, reviewing game 2 from the 63rd Oza final.

Meanwhile, there was another title match played between Iyama Yuta 9p and Murakawa Daisuke 8p.

Murakawa challenged for 62nd Oza last year, and he defeated Iyama to become a new Oza.

That was very surprising and sensational, because it was the first time that Iyama lost to a younger player than him in the final match.

This year, Iyama defeated Yo Seiki (Taiwanese name Yu Zhengqi) 7p at the challenger deciding match, and he became a challenger for another return match of 63rd Oza.

Game one of the final was very exciting with a whole board fighting. Murakawa (White) took the lead at the fighting on the left side, and he was leading in the middle game.

However, White 140 was careless, and Black 141 to 145 were exquisite sequence to help his left side group, and his left side group lived in sente up to White 150.

Black’s sequence from Black 151 to 165 was bold and severe, and Black caught up through a big trade up to White 172.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing game 3 from the 63rd Oza final.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing game 3 from the 63rd Oza final.

The game was very close, but Iyama managed to win by half a point, and that was a painful defeat for Murakawa.

After losing game one, Murakawa appeared to be too disappointed, and he didn’t show his strength next two games.

Iyama won game two and three relatively easily, and he returned to Oza with a 3-0 score on November 19, 2015.

He had held the Oza in 2012 and 2013, so this was his third Oza title.

Iyama Yuta’s ambitions

Iyama’s been holding Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo, Gosei, and he’s just returned to Tengen and Oza, so he’s holding six out of seven major titles in Japan.

Judan is the only title which is out of reach from Iyama Yuta, and Ida Atsushi 8p defeated Takao Shinji 9p to become a new Judan in April, 2015.

So far, he is proceeded to the semifinals of the 54th Judan, and is going to play against Imamura Toshiya 9p next.

It will be interesting to see if or not Iyama’s dreams of achieving the gland slam of Japanese Go, by claiming all seven major titles simultaneously will come true in 2016.

Game records of 41st Tengen

Iyama Yuta vs Takao Shinji – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Takao Shinji vs Iyama Yuta – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Iyama Yuta vs Takao Shinji – Game 3


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Game records of 63rd Oza

Iyama Yuta vs Murakawa Daisuke – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Murakawa Daisuke vs Iyama Yuta – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Iyama Yuta vs Murakawa Daisuke – Game 3


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Iyama Yuta really is strong. According to goratings.com he is the nr. 3 of the world behind Ke Jie and Park Yungwhan, and has a winning streak of 25 games. I hope he delivers the inspiration to fellow Japanese to improve, to make it an even competition between China, Korea and Japan. I really would like to see a best of five series between the top-3: young, super talented players.

    Kind regards,

    • This wish, at least some clash between those three genius, may be granted this year in 17th Nongshim Cup.

    • Don’t get me wrong I love Iyama, however his rating on goratings.com is inflated, because he only rarely plays worldchampion-level pro’s.

      • Although there is no direct competition with the top players of China and Korea, Iyama has a winning percentage against his fellow Japanese that easily can indicate he is of about equal strength with these top players. It is a pity he cannot compete on a regular basis with them, it would be good for international go, and it would deliver exciting games for sure. But Iyama’s schedule is full enough, and the money in the Japanese tournaments makes it unattractive to let them go in favour of the international ones.

        Kind regards,

    • Younggil An says:

      I also want to see Iyama playing in the international matches more often although the situation looks hard.

      His rank on goratings.com would be inflated, but he’s still one of really top level players I believe.

  2. I really really want to see how Iyama Yuta take all of the seven crowns.

    Iyama Yuta is the strongest Japanese player theses day, without no argue. But then, what’s it for? While many of the strongest players from Korea and China is competing with each other every single day (and produce lots of nice games), Iyama Yuta keep on fighting with every Japan player just to be “the best”, it’s so sad.

    If I were him, I would gave up all of thesese (like Touya Kouyo) and reached out for much more exciting challenges. It’s the big deal.

  3. Igo_Shougi_Fan says:

    I think that Japanese players pay less importance to the international matches than domestic ones. It is because of that from decades the strongest players competed for the major titles which gives them prestige amongst other players. The case is now that Japan is not in the centre of go world anymore.

  4. The pressure!!!!!

    I’ve got my fingers crossed for Iyama Yuta. Good luck.

  5. Lawrence Gunnell says:

    I hope he grand slams so he can put it behind him (aside from honorary titles) and focus internationally.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, I agree to your idea, but I’m not sure if Iyama can focus on internationally after he grand slams.

      That’s because he needs to defend his titles.