Sekiyama Riichi

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Sekiyama Riichi (関山利一)

Sekiyama Riichi (関山利一, Honinbo Risen 本因坊利仙, 23 Dec. 1909 - 31 Jan. 1970) was a professional, Japanese 9-dan. He was the winner of the 1st Honinbo tournament in 1941. After his victory, Sekiyama temporarily assumed the name of Honinbo Risen. He was a pupil of Suzuki Tamejiro.

Sekiyama tied 3-3 with Kato Shin during the 1st Honinbo title match. Rules stated that in such a case the title would be awarded to the player with the better record during the tournament. Sekiyama Riichi had gone 6-3 while Kato Shin performed 5-4, thus awarding Sekiyama the Honinbo title.

Sekiyama dropped out of the title defense in 1943 against Hashimoto Utaro because of bad health, which effectively ended his career. According to John Fairbairn in Kamakura, Sekiyama "was reckoned to have been capable of becoming a fearsome opponent for Go Seigen later had he not had health problems." Sekiyama won the Oteai tournament, the biggest tournament before WWII, more often than Go Seigen. In 1932 (Jiji Go Tournament, win and continue) , when Go Seigen was on an eighteen game winning streak, Sekiyama stopped him with a three point victory as white.

When the Kansai Kiin was formed in 1950, he changed affiliations to the new organization.

His son (Sekiyama Toshio) and grandson (Sekiyama Toshimichi) both became 9-dans at the Kansai kiin.


Miyamoto Naoki said of Sekiyama's style that:

"...with his intensely serious approach to the game he almost never made oversights. Professionals admired his restrained style of play. [...] Gote no sente was another phrase that typified his style. [...] He played solidly, with an inward strength acquired from his teacher Suzuki, and he quickly mastered the art of winning with black. Next he absorbed himself in studying the games of Meijin Shuei. He claimed this made him a stone stronger, and he became a master with white, too."[1]



  • Gote no Sente Kōgeki e no Junbi (後手の先手 攻擊への準備)
  • Igo Kingen no Hyōri (囲碁金言の表裏)
  • Kessaku Tsumego Jiten (傑作詰碁事典)[3] - Co-authored with his son and grandson. A high level problem collection.
  • Okigo Hisshū: Tenuki Jōseki (置碁必修: 手抜定石)
  • Shibori no Shujusō (しぼりの種々相)
  • Shikatsu Yōten iki Shini kō Semeai: Igo Jōtatsu no Shōkei (死活要点: 囲碁上達の捷径)


"Play every move as if it were the first in your life."[1]

"Five points in reverse sente is worth taking even early in the opening."[1]

English Commentaries

Date Opponent Resource
1941-07-15 Kato Shin Go World Iss. 3, Modern Master Games Vol. 1
1947-08-?? Miki Masa? 三木 正 Go World Iss. 11
1947-09-05 Miki Masa? Go World Iss. 12
1949-06-12 Miki Masa? Go World Iss. 13


[1] Source: Go World, Iss. 12 p. 50.
[2] Source: 1996 Kido Yearbook.
[3] ISBN: 978-4-416-51002-5

Sekiyama Riichi last edited by hnishy on February 26, 2023 - 00:00
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