Iyama Yuta

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Iyama Yuta (井山 裕太)

Iyama Yuta (井山 裕太, Iyama Yūta, b. 24 May 1989) is a Japanese, professional 9-dan of the Nihon Kiin Kansai branch. He began as a renowned child prodigy and has became one of the most dominant players in contemporary Japanese go. In 2013 he held six of the seven major Japanese titles.[1] He is married to professional shogi player Io Murota.[2]

Iyama was born on May 24th, 1989. At the age of five he learned Go after watching his dad play on the computer. In about a year he became a Japanese 3-dan and soon after become a pupil of Ishii Kunio 9-dan. Together they would play over 1,000 online games. During this period he began to be known as a child prodigy due to his quick improvement and number of wins in youth tournaments.[3]

In October 1998, Iyama became an insei. He challenged for a professional spot in 2001, but lost to Kohei Kawada?. The following year (2002) he tried again and this time earned his professional status -- becoming the fifth youngest professional.[4] At the age of 16, he established the current records for youngest professional to hold a Japanese professional open title (the Agon Cup), and the youngest to reach the rank of 7-dan.[5] In 2008, he was promoted to 8-dan for becoming the challenger for the 33rd Meijin title; and in 2009 to 9-dan for winning the 34th Meijin title.[6][7] At this point he became the youngest Japanese professional to hold one of seven big Japanese titles and the youngest Japanese 9-dan.[8]

In May of 2012, Iyama married professional shogi player Io Murota, who happens to share his same birth date.[9]

In November 2012, after winning the 60th Oza from Cho U, Iyama simultaneously held five of the major seven domestic titles (the Gosei, Honinbo, Judan, Oza and Tengen).

In March 2013, Iyama won the 37th Kisei, making him the youngest person to have held all seven titles, the youngest to simultaneously hold six of the seven major titles at once, the youngest Kisei winner at 23-years and 9-months (the previous record was Cho Chikun at 26-year and 5-months), and third person have held all seven titles (after Cho Chikun and Cho U respectively).[1] Recapturing the Meijin title in October 2013 meant that Iyama held every one of the seven major titles during the same year, though not simulaneously.


In 2008, John Power said, "Iyama plays thickly, waits for the opponent to attack, then tries to take the initiative with his counterattack."[10]

An Younggil has said several things of Iyama:

"Iyama is also very good at local fighting. His play isn't typical Japanese style. He plays rather severely and sharply."[14]

"...he doesn't generally start fighting, but rather waits for the right time to fight." & "Iyama is also a genuine fighter."[15]

"Iyama’s style of play is thick and solid."[16]

"Iyama prefers a fighting game, as he's confident at fighting and still quite young. In general, younger players tend to be keener on fighting."[17]

"Iyama's not worried about a fighting game, but it looks like he still prefers this sort of territorial game compared to other top players from China and Korea."[18]

"He seems to like to play solidly, and doesn't mind a large moyo game."[19]

Promotion Record

  • 1-dan 2002
  • 2-dan 2002[11]
  • 3-dan 2003
  • 4-dan 2004 - Promoted from 3- to 4-dan for leading the prize-money list among 3 dan professionals.[12]
  • 7-dan 2005 - Promoted from 4- to 7-dan for winning the 12th Agon Cup.[5]
  • 8-dan 2008 - Promoted from 7- to 8-dan for challenging for the 33rd Meijin.[6]
  • 9-dan 2009 - Promoted from 8- to 9-dan for defeating Cho U to win the 34th Meijin.[7]

Tournament Results

  • Winner of the 19th (1998) All Japan Children's Tournament (Junior school section)
  • Runner-up of the 2005 Shinjin O
  • Winner of the 2005 Agon Cup
  • Winner of the 2005 Nakano Cup
  • Winner of the 2006 Nakano Cup
  • Winner of the 2007 Nakano Cup
  • Winner of the 2007 Shinjin O
  • Challenger for the 33rd Meijin 2008
  • Winner of the 1st Daiwa Grand Champion Cup 2008
  • Winner of the 2nd Daiwa Grand Champion Cup 2009
  • Winner of the 2nd Yugen Cup 2009
  • Winner of the 18th Ryusei 2009
  • Winner of the 34th Meijin 2009
  • Defended title at 35th Meijin 2010
  • Winner of the 6th Daiwa Shoken Cup 2010
  • Winner of the 49th Judan 2011
  • Winner of the 1st Bosai Cup 2011
  • Third place in the 24th Fujitsu Cup 2011
  • Winner of the 20th Ryusei 2011
  • Winner of the 18th Agon Cup 2011
  • Winner of the 37th Tengen in 2011
  • Winner of the 7th Daiwa Shoken Cup 2012
  • Defended title at 50th Judan 2012
  • Winner of the 67th Honinbo 2012
  • Winner of the 37th Gosei 2012
  • Winner of the 21th Ryusei 2012
  • Winner of the 60th Oza 2012
  • Defended title at 38th Tengen in 2012
  • Winner of the 37th Kisei in 2013
  • Winner of the 25th Asian TV Cup in 2013
  • Defended title at 68th Honinbo 2013
  • Defended title at 38th Gosei 2013
  • Winner of the 38th Meijin 2013
  • Defended title at 39th Tengen in 2013
  • Defended title at 61th Oza 2013
  • Defended title at 38th Kisei in 2014
  • Defended title at 69th Honinbo 2014

Career Record[13]

  • 2002: 21-4
  • 2003: 32-13
  • 2004: 25-7
  • 2005: 40-13
  • 2006: 34–14
  • 2007: 44–11
  • 2008: 48–21
  • 2009: 43–14
  • 2010: 34–20
  • 2011: 48–19
  • 2012: 51-12
  • 2013: 43-18

Record as of 2012-12-31: 420 wins, 148 losses.


[1] Daily Yomiuri article (English): [ext] http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T130315004814.htm

[2] Wedding: [ext] http://www.shunde.gd.cn/news_show.aspx?newid=48650

[3] For example, winner of the 1997 & '98 National Elementary School Championship.

[4] Behind Fujisawa Rina, Cho Chikun, Hashimoto Utaro and Yuki Satoshi.

[5] "Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama Cup": [ext] http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/english/topics/05/topics2005_10.htm.

[6] "Iyama to challenge for Meijin title": [ext] http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/english/topics/08/topics2008_07.htm.

[7] "Iyama Yuta becomes youngest Meijin, sets new records" & "Promotions": [ext] http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/english/topics/09/topics2009_10.htm.

[8] He succeeded the Nihon Kiin's previous record for fastest promotion to 9-dan by 7-years, 6-months.

[9] Professional profile: [ext] http://www.shogi.or.jp/player/joryu/murota.html.

[10] "Cho U defends Meijin title in 7th game": [ext] http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/topics2008/topics11.html.

[11] "Promotions": [ext] http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/english/topics/02/topics2002_09.htm.

[12] "2004 promotions": [ext] http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/english/topics/05/topics2005_03.htm.

[13] Based upon [ext] http://igokisen.web.fc2.com/index.html results (from 2006).

[14] Go Commentary: Gu Li vs Iyama Yuta – 1st Bosai Cup: [ext] http://gogameguru.com/commentary-gu-li-iyama-yuta-1st-bosai-cup/

[15] Go Commentary: Gu Li vs Iyama Yuta – 24th Fujitsu Cup: [ext] http://gogameguru.com/commentary-gu-li-iyama-yuta-24th-fujitsu-cup/

[16] Go Commentary: Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – 67th Honinbo – Game 5: [ext] http://gogameguru.com/go-commentary-yamashita-keigo-iyama-yuta-67th-honinbo-game-5/

[17] Go Commentary: Iyama Yuta vs. Hane Naoki, 37th Gosei, Game 3: [ext] http://gogameguru.com/go-commentary-iyama-yuta-hane-naoki-37th-gosei-game-3/

[18] Go Commentary: Lee Younggu vs Iyama Yuta – 18th LG Cup: [ext] http://gogameguru.com/go-commentary-lee-younggu-vs-iyama-yuta-18th-lg-cup/

[19] Go Commentary: Park Junghwan vs Iyama Yuta – 25th Asian TV Cup: [ext] http://gogameguru.com/go-commentary-park-junghwan-vs-iyama-yuta-25th-asian-tv-cup/


  • Anonymous: Not to take anything away from Iyama's performance but it was harder to reach 9-dan under the old oteai ranking system. Promotions to 9-dan by recommendation did occur, e.g. Go Seigen in 1950 after his successes in 10 game matches and Ishida Yoshio in 1974 after becoming Meijin Honinbo, but such promotions were very rare.
    • Hyperpape: It was actually easier to make 9 dan, but harder to do so quickly (it took at least 8 years). The new promotion system is more stringent, but allows an exceptionally talented player like Iyama to reach 9 dan more quickly, if he can prove himself in the major tournaments.

Iyama Yuta last edited by on July 2, 2014 - 14:06
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