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Japanese Life & Culture

AI Shogi PONANZA Trounced Top Professional Titleholder in 71 Moves

By April 5, 2017 at 12:12 am
Denou Sen Official Website
Denou Sen Official Website(Photo : Denou Sen)

After Go comes Shogi, Japanese chess, as Grandmaster Amahiko Sato suffered a humiliating loss in 71 moves to AI Shogi PONANZA in the first of the scheduled two games in the Denou Sen - a PC vs. human shogi head-on match.

The game started with PONANZA first to move and developed as PONANZA compelled Sato to make offensive moves and countered each with tactful moves to gradually force Sato into helpless defense. The game ended in a lopsided victory for PONANZA.

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Like Us on Facebook Akira Watanabe, holder of the Ryuo Title, first played a pc program and won in 2007 and never since have Shogi titleholders lost to PC programs. The Denou Title Match, an AI(PONANZA) vs. human match, was set in 2012 and the score stood at 12 wins, 5 losses, and a draw in the eve of the PONANZA-Sato face-off.

Grandmaster Sato is no minor shogi player as he had ousted the legendary triple-crown master Yoshiharu Habu to qualify for the memorable face-off with PONANZA.
You recall that Google's AlphaGo swept aside the then world champion in the game of Go and that a Japanese AI Go DeepZenGo defeated the top Go professional Yuta Iyama in March this year.

Commenting on the game he lost to PONANZA, Sato said:

"Sorry I could not do as well as I should. PONANZA reads moves so accurately - I was left with no way out. It was a complete defeat.

"I know the second game is also going to be tough, but I believe I have a good chance of beating 'him'!"

Issei Yamamoto, the developer of PONANZA, commented:

"It's been a longtime dream of AI shogi software developers to play and win against a titleholder. I am very happy to have realized just that dream."
Go then and Shogi now - artificial intelligence seems no longer artificial. (Nathan Shiga) 

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