Shogi Professional Miura 9-dan Lost First Comeback Game
Shogi is an Asian version of chess just as popular in Japan as the game of Go. A while back an episode surfaced of a professional player allegedly consulting his computer shogi game app frequently leaving the board during the game - resulting in that player being stripped off by the Japan Shogi Federation of his right to play official games within the year.
That was in October last year and the shogi player in the controversy happened to be Hiroyuki Miura 9-dan. Miura appealed for scrutiny on the allegation and the federation conducted a series of investigation to eventually unhook Miura of such an allegation.
In the meantime, the federation had its share of repercussion leading to the resignation of its chairman.
Then on February 13, Miura 9-dan was pitted against the tripple-crown master Yoshiharu Habu 9-dan in his first official game in four months. An ad hoc arrangement was made to store smartphones and other electrical devices in the lockers. Both players consented to a security check via metal detector.
Miura played a brilliant opening game seemingly unaffected by the four-month interlude, and the game shifted in Miura's favor in minute and the next minute leaned to Habu. At 10:45 pm, Miura resigned at 131 move, failing to snatch the first return game.
Miura 9-dan recalled of the game:
"I was relieved to have played a rather tight game. It's been some time I played the last official game, and I was not sure I had made misjudgments.
"I could have done better - I don't know. Anyway, I'm relieved that the game turned out to be quite a tough game."
Commenting on Miura's performance, Habu 9-dan said:
"Well, I must say he played a fresh shogi rather tough to counter. I never was sure what the ending would be. It was a close game."
The federation's new chairman Yasumitsu Sato said he was impressed with the crucial game. (Nathan Shiga)