55th Meijin Match, Game 4

  Sente: Meijin Yoshiharu Habu
   Gote: Challenger Koji Tanigawa
  Event: 55th Meijin Match, Game 4
   Date: 1997 May 19th & 20th
   Site: Nagasaki
Opening: Yagura

[Notes based on Shukan Shogi, 97-May-28.]

1. P7f P8d 2. S6h

Varying from 2. G7h as in Game 2. Habu invites the Yagura.

2... P3d 3. S7g S6b 4. P5f P5d 5. S4h S4b 6. G45h G3b 7. P6f K4a 8. G6g P7d 9. G7h S65c

This move usually signals a quick attack.

10. K6i P5e

As in all 3 previous games in this match, gote plays for an early initiative.

11. P5e B5e 12. B7i B2b 13. B4f

Habu later regretted this move. However, the position is still unclear.

13... S6d 14. P5f N7c 15. P3f R5b 16. S5g P5e 17. R5h P5f 18. S5f P5e 19. S4e S3c

Appearances can be deceptive. Habu's silver is not quite trapped.

20. P3e P3e 21. B3e S4d 22. S4d P4d

Tanigawa later said he had "no confidence" in this position.

23. P7e!?

After 23. P7e!?

A creative move, but opinions are divided on its correctness. The text may be the best way to actively play for a win. Or it may be just playing into Tanigawa's hands. Instead, the calm retreat 23. K7i would force gote to come up with something active.

23... S7e 24. S8c R5d 25. P7f S6d 26. S7d= G6b 27. P6e N6e 28. S6f S5f 29. R3h?!

Lukewarm. Here Habu should have continued the hand-to-hand fighting with 29. S76e S66e 30. S6e S6e 31. N5f, planning to meet 31... R7d with 32. S7e R7b 33. N7g, or 31... R5b with 32. P5d

29... P3d 30. B2f?!

Again inaccurate. The correct choice was 30. B6h and then if 30... P4e, 31. G5f with a difficult game.

30... B3c!

After 30... B3c!

Activating the sleeping bishop.

31. P5h

Or 31. G5f P5f 32. S76e S6e 33. S6e R5e 34. S6f R6e 35. S6e P5g+ when 36. R8a is nicely met by 36... P5a.

31... B2d 32. S76e S66e 33. S6e S6e 34. S2e S5f 35. S2d P2d 36. N6f

Habu plays for counterattacking chances, but it's too little too late. In the end, Tanigawa makes nice use of this knight.

36... R5b 37. N7d G5c 38. B7a S4i 39. R4h S6g+ 40. G6g S5f 41. S6h S6g+

Tanigawa artfully trades his silvers for golds before continuing the attack. Gote has a clear advantage.

42. S6g S5f 43. S6h G3h 44. R3h?!

Instead 44. R4i was more stubborn. Gote's own gold will block his use of the back rank.

44... S6g+ 45. S6g S3h+ 46. N6b+ R3i 47. K7h P7g 48. K7g R7i+ 49. G7h S6h 50. K6f R6b!

This "little combination" settles the matter.

51. B6b+ G6e

The final position.

It's mate by force.


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97 July 20

Patrick Davin
davin [at] shogi [dot] net