Shibano wins Meijin title
The sixth game of the 47th Meijin title match was held at the Atami Sekitei Inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on October 24 and 25. Taking black, Iyama Yuta Meijin, who was facing his second successive kadoban, played solidly in the opening. The challenger, Shibano Toramaru 9-dan, played aggressively, making attack after attack. In the middle game, a black group suddenly got cut off. It looked as if the fate of this group would decide the game: Iyama’s response was to play a tenuki, that is, to switch elsewhere.
There was an incident in this game that won’t appear in the game record. After Black 31, Shibano suffered a nosebleed. Usually it’s a breach of etiquette for the player whose turn it is to leave the go board, but, after seeking Iyama’s approval, Shibano returned to his room and somehow stopped the bleeding. He also changed his mask, as the previous one was spotted with blood. Of course, all this happened on his time, though Go Weekly doesn’t say how long Shibano was absent.
Iyama’s tenuki strategy worked well for him. Gradually he seized the initiative. Shibano was unable to find a good way of attacking the group Iyama had left to fend for itself. He resigned after 215 moves. The title match was now even. Iyama was displaying great tenacity, just as he did in last year’s Honinbo title match with Shibano.
The final game was played at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on November 2 and 3. Iyama drew black. From the opening, Shibano launched fierce attacks on black, but Iyama displayed his customary skill at looking after his groups and took the lead. However, Shibano made a relentless attack on a large black group and was able to kill it. Iyama resigned after 202 moves.