The tournament started in 1974 and was promoted to a title tournament in 1975. The championship match is held from February to March. The challenger for the Kioh title is determined by the first and second preliminary rounds. In the second round, the losers in the semi-finals and final play consolation games, then the winners of the final and consolation-final advance to a two-game playoff. The winner of the consolation games has to win both games to become the challenger while the winner of the final has to win only one of the two games. The first player to win three games in the championship becomes the new Kioh titleholder.
Lifetime (Eisei) Kioh is the title given to a player who won the championship five times in a row. Active players may qualify for this title, but it is only officially awarded upon their retirement or death. In 1995 (the 20th Kioh Match), Yoshiharu Habu won his fifth Kioh title in a row, thus becoming the first professional to qualify for the title. To date, Habu is still the only professional to have accomplished this feat.
The following table shows a list of past winners. 
|2||1977||Hifumi Kato||3-0||Nobuyuki Ouchi|
|3||1978||Hifumi Kato||3-0||Makoto Nakahara|
|4||1979||Kunio Yonenaga||3-2||Hifumi Kato|
|5||1980||Makoto Nakahara||3-1||Kunio Yonenaga|
|6||1981||Kunio Yonenaga||3-1||Makoto Nakahara|
|7||1982||Kunio Yonenaga||3-2||Hidemitsu Moriyasu|
|8||1983||Kunio Yonenaga||3-0||Yasuharu Oyama|
|9||1984||Kunio Yonenaga||3-1||Hidemitsu Moriyasu|
|10||1985||Kiyozumi Kiriyama||3-1||Kunio Yonenaga|
|11||1986||Koji Tanigawa||3-0||Kiyozumi Kiriyama|
|12||1987||Michio Takahashi||3-1||Koji Tanigawa|
|13||1988||Koji Tanigawa||3-2||Michio Takahashi|
|14||1989||Yoshikazu Minami||3-2||Koji Tanigawa|
|15||1990||Yoshikazu Minami||3-0||Yasuharu Oyama|
|16||1991||Yoshiharu Habu||3-1||Yoshikazu Minami|
|17||1992||Yoshiharu Habu||3-1||Yoshikazu Minami|
|18||1993||Yoshiharu Habu||3-2||Koji Tanigawa|
|19||1994||Yoshiharu Habu||3-0||Yoshikazu Minami|
|20||1995||Yoshiharu Habu||3-0||Taku Morishita|
|21||1996||Yoshiharu Habu||3-0||Michio Takahashi|
|22||1997||Yoshiharu Habu||3-0||Taku Morishita|
|23||1998||Yoshiharu Habu||3-1||Masataka Goda|
|24||1999||Yoshiharu Habu||3-0||Yasumitsu Sato|
|25||2000||Yoshiharu Habu||3-1||Toshiyuki Moriuchi|
|26||2001||Yoshiharu Habu||3-1||Toshiaki Kubo|
|27||2002||Yoshiharu Habu||3-1||Yasumitsu Sato|
|28||2003||Tadahisa Maruyama||3-2||Yoshiharu Habu|
|29||2004||Koji Tanigawa||3-1||Tadahisa Maruyama|
|30||2005||Yoshiharu Habu||3-0||Koji Tanigawa|
|31||2006||Toshiyuki Moriuchi||3-1||Yoshiharu Habu|
|32||2007||Yasumitsu Sato||3-2||Toshiyuki Moriuchi|
|33||2008||Yasumitsu Sato||3-2||Yoshiharu Habu|
|34||2009||Toshiaki Kubo||3-2||Yasumitsu Sato|
|35||2010||Toshiaki Kubo||3-2||Yasumitsu Sato|
|36||2011||Toshiaki Kubo||3-1||Akira Watanabe|
|37||2012||Masataka Goda||3-1||Toshiaki Kubo|
|38||2013||Akira Watanabe||3-1||Masataka Goda|
|39||2014||Akira Watanabe||3-0||Hiroyuki Miura|
|40||2015||Akira Watanabe||3-0||Yoshiharu Habu|
- "Kiōsen Gaiyō" 棋王戦概要 [Kiō Match Overview] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟 [Japan Shogi Association]. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- "Yoku Aru Goshitsumon: Eisei Shōgō no Kitei wa Dō Natteiru no Deshōka." よくあるご質問：永世称号の規定はどうなっているのでしょうか。 [FAQ: What are the requirements for Lifetime Titles?] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟 [Japan Shogi Association]. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- "Eisei Shōgō･ Meiyo Shōgō Kakutokusha Ichiran" 永世称号･名誉称号 獲得者一覧 [List of Lifetime Title Holders] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟 [Japan Shogi Association]. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "Kiōsen Kako no Kekka" 棋王戦過去の結果 [Kiō Match Past Results] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟 [Japan Shogi Association]. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- "Kubo Kiō ga Bōei, Nikan Kenji, Satō Kudan ni Sansho Nihai" 久保棋王が防衛, 2冠堅持 佐藤九段に3勝2敗 [Kubo Kiō defends title and remains a 2 crown by defeating Satō 9 dan 3 games to 2]. Japan Press Network 47 News (in Japanese). Kyodo News. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Kubo Kiō ga Sanrenpa, Watanabe Ryūō Kudasu, Shōgi･Dai Sanjūroku Kiōsen" 久保棋王が3連覇, 渡辺竜王下す 将棋･第36期棋王戦 [36th Kiō Match: Kubo Kiō defeats Watanabe Ryūō to holds title for 3rd consecutive year.]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). 18 March 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Shōgi･Gōda Kudan ga Kiō Dasshu, Jūnenburi Taitoru" 将棋･郷田九段が棋王奪取 10年ぶりタイトル [Shogi's Goda 9 dan captures Kiō title to win first major title in 10 years.]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). 17 March 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Watanabe ōshō ga Shijō Hachininme Sankan! Kiōi Dasshu, Sangatsu dake de Nikan" 渡辺王将が史上8人目3冠! 棋王位奪取, 3月だけで2冠 [Watanabe ōshō captures the Kiō title to become only the 8th professional ever to simultaneously hold 3 or more major titles! Captures two major title in March alone.]. Sports Nippon (in Japanese). 25 March 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Watanabe Kiō ga Hatsubōei, Sanrenshō de Miura Kudan Kudasu: Kiōsen" 渡辺棋王が初防衛, 3連勝で三浦九段下す 棋王戦 [Watanabe Kiō successfully defends title for the first time. Defeats Miura 9-dan by winning 3 straight games.]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). 16 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Kiōsen, Watanabe ga Sanrenshō de Sanrenpa, Habu Yonkan o Attō" 棋王戦, 渡辺が3連勝で3連覇 羽生４冠を圧倒 [Watanabe crushes Habu 4-crown by winning three games in a row to hold Kiō title for the third consecutive year.]. Hokkaido Shimbun (in Japanese). 8 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.