YAMASHITA HOPING TO JOIN RANKS OF THE COMEBACK KINGS: Again defying all odds, Yamashita Keigo 9d, played Black and forced challenger Hane Naoki 9p to resign in Game Six of the 28th Kisei title match after 177 moves. At one point, Yamashita was down 0:3 and looked like he was about to lose his title to Hane, who had beat him late last year in the 29th Tengen. If Yamashita wins the seventh and deciding game, this will be only the sixth time in 50 years of major Japanese go tournament history that a comeback of this kind has occurred. Yamashita will then join the ranks of go greats Cho Chikun 9p and Rin Kaiho 9p who are the only other players to win a major best-of-seven tournament after being behind 0:3. Cho, who could be called the John Elway of Go (for you football fans out there) did it three times!
In the end, Hane did win, and defended the title against Yuki Satoshi the following year.
However, Yamashita was eventually able to regain it and won four consecutive editions from 2006 to 2009, eventually being defeated by Cho U.
On March 18th, challenger Hane Naoki 9p forced title holder, Yamashita Keigo 9p, to resign game seven of the best-of-seven 28th Kisei to win the title and a respectable $390,000 (42 million yen). Hane, who played Black and won after only 155 moves, now holds arguably the most prestigious professional go title in Japan (his first major title), and brings to a close one of the most exciting and hard fought title matches in recent years. The match began in Seattle in January after Hane defeated Cho Chikun 9p to win the right to challenge Yamashita. Hane and Yamashita had just finished battling it out for the Tengen late last year–a match Hane finally won.
March 22, 2004
According to SL, the current Kisei prize is ¥45,000,000, so it hasn’t really increased since then.