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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #441 Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:05 am 
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Iyama won his last Meijin league game with an empty triangle and so becomes the challenger to Shibano Toramaru. First game of the 45th Meijin final will be on 25 August in Tokyo.

Murakawa Daisuke, Rin Kanketsu and Cho U were all demoted from the league.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #442 Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:16 pm 
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Iyama won first game of Meijin final, W+1,5. Got early lead 70% (according to FA), and iirc he was never in danger of losing, good game for Iyama. 2nd game starts 15th of september (why so big gap?).


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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #443 Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:34 am 
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AloneAgainstAll wrote:
Iyama won first game of Meijin final, W+1,5. Got early lead 70% (according to FA), and iirc he was never in danger of losing, good game for Iyama. 2nd game starts 15th of september (why so big gap?).

Because I can watch the game during my vacation of course! ;-P

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #444 Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:44 pm 
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Iyama lost to Cho U in the semifinal of the Oza tournament, so it'll be Cho or Kyo Kagen challenging Shibano.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #445 Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:28 pm 
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Ichiriki beat Kono Rin in the Tengen challenger decision game and will face Iyama. It will be Ichiriki's third attempt in this title. Iyama won 3-1 in 2016 and 3-0 in 2017.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #446 Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:06 am 
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Ichiriki Ryo beat Iyama Yuta in first game of Tengen final B+0,5. It was very close game, Iyama had solid lead in early phase (all eastimations according to FA) when Ichiriki didnt countered white keshi severe enough, however after some complicated middle game though FA said Iyama have more than 99% lead, it was Ichiriki who won it - i guess its beacuese FA thinks that game was played under chn rules with 7,5 komi.

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Post #447 Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:22 am 
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The game (downloaded from Fox):



Attachments:
ichiriki-iyama.sgf [28.59 KiB]
Downloaded 157 times

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Post #448 Posted: Sat May 08, 2021 8:28 am 
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Iyama just became the challenger to #46 Gosei.

I have read a comment in twitter (sorry, I can't find it now). According to it, he won thanks to a brilliant move (I assume tesuji in the original). I think it must be move 139 or so. This makes J11 an eye. Black can make another eye in gote in E6, so I guess that #139 is more forcing than I think. But I can't see what's going on.

The game:


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Post #449 Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2021 1:13 am 
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It seems worth noting that, having just retained the Gosei title at the end of August 2021, Iyama Yuta has now passed Sakata Eio in the list of all-time official titles won in Japan.

Cho Chikun still heads the list with 75 (81 if you count unofficial titles) and Iyama now has 65 (75 including unofficials) to Sakata's 64. Iyama is still only 32. Of course, in Sakata's day, there were far fewer titles to win. It might also be added that Cho also achieved more than double the number of runner-up places than Iyama did. So all three have been quite remarkable (and rich!).

Xie Yimin is 10th in the list at 27, and so is the highest woman.

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Post #450 Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 4:54 am 
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Comparing performances in different times is tricky.

You win a title if you are better than your opponents. But when you win a lot, I often wonder... are you that strong? Are your opponents too weak? I don't know about Sakata's era, but Cho had to fight his fellow Kitani Minoru pupils. When Iyama rised, the four at the top were Yamashita, Cho U, Hane and Takao, fighting on equal ground. Now, Iyama's rivals are Ichiriki, Shibano... but I feel that there is still a gap.

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Post #451 Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:35 pm 
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My impression is that Iyama is a "known constant" and that people here are over him. Is that true? Would fans like to see other players come up? Or is it something else?

Anyway, Iyama had his 10th Honinbo title win back in June and Go World is just now getting around to celebrating it. At least this delay is consistent with their delay in only now reporting game results from July.

There is an article with a nice collage of photos. 2012 was a long time ago. Even 2020 seems like a long time ago.
Image
Triangles near the game records show Iyama taking black.

The "commuter pamphlet" also features Iyama. Iyama gives his commentary on 2 of his Honinbo title match games. I think both matches were worth highlighting so I'm sharing.

The first is Game 7 of his first Honinbo title match [[Game Record]], the 67th, against "Honinbo Dowa" (Yamashita Keigo). Side note, I just realized that these game records have a built in "guess the next move" feature. Yamashita didn't hold on to the title long enough to keep his Honinbo name. Iyama got to be named Honinbo Monyu. Apparently a priest of the temple picked out the first character (Mon) and the second is from Yuta's own name. Searching the internet it seems that the temple was associated with the Honinbos. Honinbo Sansa was a priest before he was Honinbo. I could be getting bits of this wrong but I think tradition is interesting. Iyama has held it long enough (5 titles I believe) so that he can keep his Honinbo name. Luckily the other titles don't also give names (or do they?) or that might be even worse than the constant renaming in the Edo-period.

The second game in the commuter pamphlet is game 1 of the 75th Honinbo title match against Shibano Toramaru in 2020. Apparently Go World decided to copy-paste the QR code from the first game (vs Yamashita) and so I cannot provide the game record. I tried to reverse engineer it but no luck. I'm trying to look for the game recording on YouTube but I have to sift through dozens of Iyama videos including a picture of his curry lunch that he's eating right now... Ah, here is the video.

I'm still looking at that curry (3H 48M into the stream). I actually picked up some Golden Curry yesterday and so now I know what's for dinner tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #452 Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:04 am 
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CDavis7M wrote:
My impression is that Iyama is a "known constant" and that people here are over him. Is that true? Would fans like to see other players come up? Or is it something else?


I think the title of this topic gives much of it away. Sorry for this topic violation :bow:

Another factor may be that nowadays when super strong players are so many, we just don´t have time to follow everyone. Considering the lingering enthusiasm around older players, say Cho Chikun and Cho Hun-hyun, nostalgia may play a bigger role in who is the most favorite than anything else.

I´ll add a third factor to be on topic, Iyama didn´t have to overcome an undisputed champion of the Japanese Go world so his achievements may gather less fame than those of his rivals who will eventually overcome him. Likely there will be renewed interests in Iyama when this happens. He surely is facing his strongest opposition in the latest round of title matches and is still likely keep must of his titles so he is not really out yet and may well be the favorite of fans for years to come.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #453 Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:18 am 
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There may be something in the argument that Iyama's rivals were not of the stature of, say, Kobayashi Koichi, Cho Chikun, Fujisawa Hideyuki, Sakata, Takemiya etc, though the likes of his rivals Takao and Yamashita did clock up over 20 titles (just like Takemiya, in fact :)). But it's a bit hard to argue with 75 titles and counting. Iyama has thus surpassed, say, Kobayashi (63) by a long way.

Yet, evidently like many others, I find him, and other current top players, boring. I haven't met him, but I've met Yi Ch'ang-ho, Yi Se-tol and Ke Jie, and what's struck me is that they have no obvious personality. I don't mean they have no personality (I know they can each sparkle in private), but it seems suppressed. My first thought is that this is the fault of social media and the need to be cautious. Also, the older players met proper journalists who wrote about then in print. Nowadays too many so-called journalists work from a desk in front of a computer, recycling whatever they find on the internet.

But just because we may find him boring here, that doesn't mean the Japanese find him boring. I haven't been able to get to Japan for the past two years, but, before that, just about the only go book you'd find in Japanese airport stalls was about Iyama. Even today, a book of commentaries on his early games is 32nd in Amazon's ranking of Japanese go books. That's very high. If you strip out the dross, such as "Hikaru's introduction to go," which is No. 1, and various tsumego books, he would be in the top ten. Of some 30 books by (or "by") him or about him, I think all score 4 stars or higher. So he is obviously popular there.

I suppose the elephant in the room is his performance on the international stage. It's not a total write-off, but I think people who want to be his fans would hope for more. (He did win his last international outing, against Ding Hao in the China Weiqi league a bit over a week ago.) The usual explanation put forward is that Japanese titles are more lucrative than most international ones, and as a Kansai lad Iyama knows which side his bread is buttered on. But I think that argument makes more sense if you are actually a Japanese fan of his.

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Post #454 Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:23 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I suppose the elephant in the room is his performance on the international stage. It's not a total write-off, but I think people who want to be his fans would hope for more. (He did win his last international outing, against Ding Hao in the China Weiqi league a bit over a week ago.) The usual explanation put forward is that Japanese titles are more lucrative than most international ones, and as a Kansai lad Iyama knows which side his bread is buttered on. But I think that argument makes more sense if you are actually a Japanese fan of his.


It is hard to say much about individual players. Iyama is sometimes in the contention for the world cups, making the semi-finals in the Ing cup this years is an example, but often he is not even in the field. If this is because he doesn't play in the preliminaries, has schedule conflicts or for some other reason I just don't know.

For Japan in general it used to be that the top players showed up and then were just knocked out early, but this has changed because these days you don't see that many Japanese players in the preliminaries at all. In the end it is a game of numbers: not going to the preliminaries, the preliminaries sometimes awarding less seats for Japan, and the fact that Japan doesn't produce top players at the same rate as China and Korea. Obviously, the first step to winning world cups is to participate. The same applies here as with Iyama because I have no idea why so few Japanese players join the preliminaries for some tournaments when there are hundreds of players joining these preliminaries from say China.

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Post #455 Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:00 pm 
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Poor Iyama. Guess he'll just stay a small town hero.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #456 Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:08 am 
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Just for the record, Iyama has reached the top of the international mountain once (winning the TV Asia Championship) and he has reached finals (e.g. LG Cup).

And as for actually taking part in international events, it's not just a question (even for junior players) of earning more money at home than abroad, but - related to that - it is a matter of giving priority to Japanese sponsors. Very long term sponsorship by a single sponsor is a major characteristic of Japanese go. The Honinbo is now in term 76 and several other big events are well beyond 50 terms. Korea and China come nowhere near matching that - even longish-running events there may have already had several different sponsors, with prize funds going up and down.

Iyama has said several times he'd like to test himself more abroad, "but...". Clearly something is restraining him. As a title holder and thus automatically having a place in the following year's title match, he knows at least a year in advance where he has to be on a certain date for a sponsor who makes block bookings years ahead for title games. In that respect Iyama is more like an opera singer than a games player.

That said, a possible handicap to his success in international events when he does take part may be his style of play. He relies on shinogi, which appears to work well against weaker domestic players, but is problematical against tactical players from Korea and China. That in turn may be influenced by the fact that in Japanese title games he can spend up to 8 hours dancing the shinogi strathspey, but in international games he has a maximum of 3 hours, and often less, and so has to dance jigs and reels all the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Iyama Yuta (no world ranking discussions)
Post #457 Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:34 pm 
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I realize now it was Ichiriki Ryo that had good results in the Ing cup this year not Iyama, my bad. Iyama record in international competition is not bad at all, I am pretty sure if had spent the last 10 years playing every international tournament instead of the Japanese tournament scene he would have had a number of world cups, it is just how it is that he did not. There would probably be a lot larger international fan base if he had, but he is no bad "small town hero".

Maybe it could be said that Cho U (or Zhang Xu as Pandanet is now styling his name) should be considered the champion in Japan before Iyama and he sure did take 4 titles from him, so maybe it was mistaken to say Iyama didn't have to overcome a champion.

Iyama sure was impressive in the Asian TV cup...back in 2013...but this is a 10s competition between the winners and runner ups of 10s TV cups (recently it is NHK, CCTV and KBS). Wouldn't really view it the same as the other world cups, though it is one of few that has a long history.

The numbers game is extrema in some cases. In the 3rd Mlily cup there were 8 Japanese players in the preliminary and 275 Chinese. That said I have no idea about the rules and conditions of the preliminary, every tournament is different in that regard. Somehow the recent "world" championships often have the characteristics that most of the players are from the country of the host organization.

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