Honinbo Doetsu (本因坊道悦 Hon'inbō Dōetsu, 1636-1727) was the third head of the Honinbo house.
Between 1645-1653, a six-game match between Honinbo Sanetsu and Yasui Sanchi to determine who would become Meijin had ended in a 3-3 tie.
However, Honinbo Sanetsu died in 1658 and in 1668 Yasui Sanchi saw his chance and gained appointment as Meijin Godokoro. It was widely believed that his appointment was contrived by powerful patrons of Sanchi who brought political pressure to bear behind the scenes.
The honour of the Honinbo house, not to mention loyalty to his dead mentor Sanetsu, prevented Doetsu from acquiescing in this arrangement. He lodged an immediate objection with the jisha-bugyo? and requested permission for a challenge match with Sanchi. The grounds for his objection were simple: how could Sanchi be accepted as the strongest player of the day, that is, as Meijin, when Doetsu and Sanchi had never played a game? The jisha-bugyo granted Doetsu's request, but, legend has it, not before trying to scare Doetsu. In theory the appointnent of Sanchi emanated from the shogun, so that in making his objection Doetsu was in effect criticising his superiors. If he lost the match, Doetsu might therefor have to face the possibility of exile. Doetsu's response to this threat is supposed to have been that not even death would deter him from his challenge.
The jisha-bugyo ordered that a sixty-game series be played, at the rate of twenty games a year. Doetsu had hoped to play on even, but as he was then only 7-dan and Sanchi was Meijin or 9-dan, he was ordered to play on josen. Actually, this put quite a burden on Sanchi, who also suffered from a disadvantage in age, being already past his peak as a player.
By 1675 twenty games had been played, the first game was a prearranged jigo. After sixteen games the score was 9 wins to Doetsu, three wins to Sanchi and four jigos. Since this gave Doetsu a clear lead of six games, the handicap was changed to sen-ai-sen. After that only four games were played, of which Doetsu won three (only losing his game on white). The series was suspended, for Doetsu had proven his point. In 1676 Sanchi resigned from the office of Godokoro.
For his part, Doetsu did not aspire to the office but instead recommended his heir Dosaku when he retired as Honinbo in 1677.
Go World Iss. 10