[The Epoch Times, July 7, 2022](Reported by Ye Chengyun, The Epoch Times) Looking back at the main theme of the domestic Go competitions in Japan in the past year, it is undoubtedly Yili Liao Jiuduan in the “three major title battles” (chess holy battle, celebrity battle) , the Honinbo battle) challenge Iyama Yuta nine dan.
Both of them are leaders in the Japanese Go world today. From the end of August 2021 to the present, Yili Liao, as a challenger, has played against Iyama Yuta 18 times in the “three major title battles”, leaving many wonderful games, which have also become a strong color in the history of Japanese Go.
Two Japanese “chess” talents
Yuta Jingshan, born in 1989, began to learn chess at the age of 5, under the tutelage of Kuni Ishii 9dan; at the age of 13, he was promoted to a professional chess player and belongs to the Kansai chess institute in Japan; at the age of 19, he won the title of the seven major chess battles in Japan One of (“Chess Saint”, “Celebrity”, “Ben Yinfang”, “Throne”, “Tianyuan”, “碁 Saint”, “Ten Dan”) – the right to challenge the title of “Celebrity”. Although he failed the first challenge, at the age of 20 next year, Iyama Yuta once again won the “celebrity” challenge and successfully defeated Zhang Xu’s nine-dan, becoming the youngest title holder and the youngest nine-dan player in the history of Japanese Go.
After that, Iyama Yuta created many “myths” in the Japanese Go world. He is the first “seven-time champion” to hold seven titles in one calendar year; the first player to hold four honorary titles; the player with the most titles in Japan, and so on. It can be said that he is the leader of the modern Japanese Go game.
Yili Liao, born in 1997, is 8 years younger than Jingshan Yutai. Influenced by his grandfather in his childhood, he also started learning chess at the age of 5. Yili Liao’s chess learning experience is quite similar to that of Iyama Yuta. At the age of 13, he was promoted to a professional chess player, and at the age of 19, he won the right to challenge one of the seven major titles in Japan. Together with Xu Jiayuan 9 dan, Shiba No Toramaru 9 dan, the three are collectively called “Linghe Sanyuwu”, all of which belong to the Tokyo Chess Institute of Japan, and are the main opponents of Iyama Yuta in recent years.
However, due to the suppression of Yuta Jingshan, Yili Liao’s performance was far inferior to that of Yuta Jingshan. It was not until August 2020 that at the age of 23, he defeated Naoki Hane Kudan at the age of 23 and won his first chess title.
The heyday of Yuta Iyama
In 2015, at the age of 26, Iyama Yuta gradually reached the peak of his chess career. At the end of the year, he won the other six titles except the “Ten Dan” title and achieved the “Six Crown King”; in April 2016, as a challenger for the “Ten Dan” title, Iyama Yuta competed in the Wufan chess duel , successfully defeated Atsushi Ita’s eight dan, and became the first “seven crown king” in the history of Japanese Go to hold seven titles at the same time. This record was maintained for 196 days. Until November of the same year, in the 41st “Celebrity” battle, he lost the title of “Celebrity” to the challenger Gaowei Shenlu 9th Duan.
However, in August 2017, Jingshan Yutai made a comeback with overwhelming momentum. After retaining the six titles in his hands, he became the challenger of the 42nd “Celebrity” battle, and successfully “revenge” Takao Shenlu, achieving the “Seven Crowns” for the second time. At the same time, he defended the title of “Throne” and “Tianyuan” at the end of the year, and achieved the feat of holding seven titles in the whole year of 2017.
Yili Liao is one of the challengers who achieved the prosperity of Jingshan Yutai, especially from October 2017 to February 2018, Yili Liao has successively performed in the “Throne”, “Tianyuan” and “Chess Saint”. In the title battle, stand out from many chess players to become the challenger. However, when he faced off against Iyama Yuta’s Fanqi, he even lost ten games in a row (“Throne” battles 0:3; “Tianyuan” battles 0:3; “Chess Saint” battles 0:4), without a victory.
In 2018, the Japanese TBS TV network “Love Continent” program conducted an exclusive interview with Yili Liao. Yili Liao said that some Chinese and Korean chess players have won world championships in their teens, but he has not yet won any titles in the seven major chess tournaments in Japan in his weak championship years. When talking about the experience of being defeated by Yuta Iyama many times while taking care of his busy studies, he couldn’t help weeping, showing his love for Go and his desire to win.
Yili Liao sounded the “Charge” again
In March 2020, after completing his studies at Waseda University, Yili Liao devoted himself to his beloved Go business. In August of the same year, after 5 failed challenges, he finally succeeded in the 45th “Qisheng” battle and won his first chess title.
In October 2020, Yili Liao even got the right to challenge the title of “Tianyuan”, and once again got the opportunity to fight against Jingshan Yutai. In this fight, Yili Liao narrowly won the first game by half an eye, while Jingshan Yuta pulled two games in the second and third games, and took the lead in getting the match point. However, Yili Liao has not been what it used to be. With the courage of the title of “Saint”, he won the fourth and fifth games in a row, and defeated Yuta Jingshan for the first time in the decisive battle of Fanqi with a score of 3:2, breaking the cocoon into a butterfly. . He was promoted to the ninth dan after winning the titles of “Sage of Qi” and “Tianyuan” that year.
In June 2021, he successfully won the right to challenge the 46th “Holy” battle. This time the offense and defense changed hands, Jingshan Yutai is the challenger, and Yili Liao is the title owner. The progress of the competition seems to be a replica of the “Tianyuan” battle in 2020, but it is Yuta Iyama who has the last laugh. Jingshan won the first game first, and Yili Liao pulled back the two cities to get the match point. After that, Jingshan played two consecutive games, and the challenge was successful. With the same score of 3:2, he took the “Qi” from Yili Liao. Holy”.
The comprehensive confrontation of the “three major title battles”
Among the seven major title battles in Japan, “chess master”, “celebrity” and “Honinbo” are called “three major title battles” because the championship bonus is higher than the other four titles. Among them, the “chess master” champion has the highest prize money, reaching 43 million yen (about 320,000 US dollars), which is also the highest title in Japanese Go. Therefore, the “three major title battles” are all won by seven games, while the other four title games are all won by five games.
As the eldest of the “Linghe Sanyuwu”, Yili Liao carried the banner of impacting Yuta Iyama’s dominance. From August 2021 to April 2022, he has successively won the right to challenge the “three major title battles”, which symbolize Japan’s highest honor of Go, and his opponents are Yuta Iyama. In other words, Yili Liao and Jingshan Yuta will have at most twenty-one chess finals within a year, which is really rare in the history of Japanese chess institutes.
(1) “Celebrity” battle
At the end of August 2021, the first seven-game chess battle for the title of “celebrity” will be held, and “celebrity” is the second largest title in Japan after “chess master”. In the first four rounds, the two sides fought a 2:2 draw. In the fifth round, Yili Liao won the battle of “Tianwang Mountain”, which was only one step away from the success of the challenge. However, Iyama Yuta’s psychological quality is very strong. Under adversity, he won two games in a row, with a narrow advantage of 4:3, defending the title of celebrity.
(2) “chess saint” battle
In January 2022, the two will fight against the highest title of Go in Japan – “chess saint”. In the first three rounds, Yili Liao led 2:1. In the fourth round, Yili Liao took advantage of Yuta Isayama’s official mistake, and luckily won by half an eye and pushed the opponent into a desperate situation. At this time, Yuta Jingshan had only to pull Three innings to successfully defend the title. Standing on the edge of the cliff, Iyama Yuta was fearless and performed well in the fifth and sixth innings, winning a complete victory over Yili Liao and tying the score to a 3:3 draw again.
In the seventh game, the place where the two decided to fight against the top of Japan’s Go was located at Renhe Temple. Ninwa-ji Temple was built by the 59th Emperor Uta in the 4th year of Ninwa, and it is recognized as one of the world cultural heritages. It is quite fitting to play the ancient cultural sport of Go in such a strong cultural atmosphere. In this game, Yili Liao put down the psychological burden of wanting to win and fearing to lose, and focused on playing his own chess. In the end, he defeated Yuta Jingshan in the 199 hand set with black, and ended Yuta Jingshan’s match against the title of “chess saint” with a score of 4:3. Lianba, ascended to the “highest point” of Japanese Go.
After the game, Yili Liao admitted in an interview that his chess skills have improved compared to when the “chess master” lost 0:4 to Iyama Yuta four years ago, but even so, every time he defeated Iyama Yuta The games are very difficult, and the games that are lost are often disastrous, which also shows that there is still a gap with the opponent.
(3) The “Beninfang” battle
In May 2022, the two will compete in the “Benyinfang” battle for seven games. Previously, Yuta Jingshan had achieved the ten consecutive tyranny of “Boninfang”. If he can defend the title again, he will surpass the legendary Japanese chess player Zhao Zhixun by 9 dan, and enjoy the record of 11 consecutive tyranny of “Boninfang”. In the opening game, the two played chess, and they made 357 hands, setting a new record for the most hands in a single game of “Ben Yinfang”. In the end, the big kills and the small wins and losses, Jingshan Yutai narrowly won with a half-eye advantage. It is worth mentioning that in the ten previous chess battles between the two, all the winners of the half-eyes were Yililiao. In this game, Yuta Iyama finally got the blessing of the goddess of luck.
Yili Liao may have been hit by the opening game, and in the second game, he was almost certain to win the game and conceded the victory. After that, Yili Liao was defeated like a mountain, and finally swept away with a score of 0:4, fulfilling the reputation of the opponent “Ben Yinfang” for eleven consecutive domination.
After the game, Iyama Yuta said in an interview that the lucky half-eye win in the first game seemed to strengthen his confidence to win, which also strengthened his willpower to fight tenaciously in the second game under the disadvantaged, thus turning the tide to win. In the next round, the title of “Beninfang” will be retained in the end.
To achieve your opponent is to achieve yourself
Yili Liao is still bravely attacking Yuta Iyama’s dominance. In April 2022, Yili Liao won the right to challenge the “Sacred” battle. In the last “碁 saint” battle, it was Yuta Jingshan who knocked him out of the ring. This time, the two change positions, and it will be another fierce battle. In the first game that just ended on June 24, Yili Liao still did not get out of the shadow of the defeat in the “Ben Yinfang” battle, and lost in the mid-table.
For Yili Liao, trying to shake Yuta Jingshan can be described as “a long way to go”; for Yutai Jingshan, it is not easy to unify the rivers and lakes as in 2017. Only with high-level opponents can you become more exquisite in chess skills, and high-level peak duels bring a feast of Go gluttonous to the majority of chess fans.
There are winners and losers in the game of chess, and life is not based on success or failure. The chess players have experienced countless successes and failures, and what has precipitated is a strong heart, indomitable willpower, and the understanding of the philosophy of life in the chess game, which is also the real charm of Go.
Editor in charge: Lian Shuhua