55th Meijin Match, Game 2

  Sente: Meijin Yoshiharu Habu
   Gote: Challenger Koji Tanigawa
  Event: 55th Meijin Match, Game 2
   Date: 1997 April 26th & 27th
   Site: Tokyo
Opening: Kakugawari Koshikakegin

[Notes based on Shukan Shogi, 97-May-7.]

1. P7f P8d 2. G7h

From here the opening proceeds at an extremely slow pace, even by Meijin Match standards.

2... P8e 3. B7g P3d 4. S6h G3b 5. S3h

Habu took 40 minutes to decide on this move.

5... S7b 6. P2f B7g+ 7. S7g S4b 8. P1f P1d 9. P9f S3c 10. P4f K4b 11. S4g P9d 12. G5h P6d

Tanigawa in turn used 43 minutes here.

13. K6h S6c 14. P6f!?

Habu spent almost 2 hours on this unassuming sealed move. 14. S5f or 14. P3f would be normal.

14... S5d 15. S5f S4d

This move decides the character of the game. Although the position is slightly different, Tanigawa repeats the plan used successfully against him about a week earlier by Taku Morishita (8-dan) in the 2nd game of the All-Japan Pro Tournament Final. The normal 15... P4d allows Sente a slight but lasting pull.

16. P2e S45e 17. S5e S5e 18. B4e!?

After 18. B4e!?

A striking move and a new idea. Habu takes back the psychological initiative. Tanigawa spent over 2 hours on his reply.

18... S4f?!

Tanigawa allows the Bishop to promote. Apparently he did not like the looks of 18... G5b 19. S7a R8d 20. B7b+ B5d 21 +B8b. In that position however, after Gote brings the Lance to safety with 21... L9c, it is not clear how Sente is to proceed.

19. P2d

An important interpolation. If simply 19. B6c+, then 19... S*4g 20. G56g B3i 21. R1h B4h+ is annoying.

19... P2d 20. B6c+ N3c

Sente would have a clear advantage after 20... S*4g 21. G56g B3i 22. R2d. Tanigawa brings the reserves into the attack. Habu's promoted Bishop will make it's presence felt.

21. +B6d P8f 22. P8f S*5e 23. +B6e N4e 24. S4h

After 24. S4h

Solid defence. If the position settles down, Sente will be better due to the overcommitted Knight on 4e.

24... B9b?!

24... R6b would have been somewhat better. If then 25. P4g N5g+ 26. S5g S5g+ 27. G5g R6e 26. P6e B3i, Sente is less than completely comfortable. 25. +B3h or 26. R2d are also possible, but in any case 24... R6b looks like the right move.

25. +B9b L9b 26. R2d P2c 27. R2e! S3e 28. P3f!

Habu quickly builds an "unlosable" position.

28... S34d 29. S4g P8e 30. P4f P8f 31. P8h B3g 32. P4e B1i+ 33. P4d L2d 34. P4c+ G4c 35. P4d!

Decisive. Suddenly the game is almost over.

35... G4d 36. R5e +B5e 37. B2b G5d 38. B5e+ G5e 39. S4d P4f 40. S*4c 1-0

The final position is hopeless. 40... K5a or 40... K3a are answered symmetrically by 41. S5c+ and 41. S3c+. A fine finish and perhaps a very important victory for Habu.

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97 July 20

Patrick Davin
davin [at] shogi [dot] net