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Japanese Life & Culture

Rising Shogi Prodigy Fujii Trounced Grandmaster Habu

By April 25, 2017 at 9:58 pm

You recall an episode last year "14-Year-Old Shogi (chess) Prodigy Outplayed 62 Years Older Veteran" of the fast-rising Shogi (chess) prodigy who defeated an elderly master Hifumi Kato in a historic upset. His name is Sota Fujii, a 14-year-old rookie from Set, Aichi, who had just turned pro to play in the professional circuits.

Now, this rookie Fujii chanced to play with the biggest name in the history of modern Shogi, Yoshiharu Habu, via the internet TV, April 23 and defeated him in a virtually perfect game, as Habu put it. Fujii had a 13-game winning streak ongoing and stretched it farther on with his victory against Habu this time - though that was not an official contest.

The memorable game started off with Fujii leading in the opening and progressed with him accurately maintaining the lead all the way till the finish. Habu resigned at the 111th move.

After the match, Fujii commented:

"It was the rarest of opportunities for me to play with Grandmaster Habu for which I was very grateful. I was nervous to some extent but I believe I played in the best way I knew how. I'm truly delighted at the result."

Grandmaster Yoshiharu Habu remarked after the game:

"Fujii sure has a well-balanced sense of offense and defense and a very sturdy play style. He is already strong as he is, but there is no knowing how much stronger he will be from now on.

"What a formidable foe - that's my immediate impression."

In almost all areas of competition, the teens are doing surprising well in Japan lately. In table tennis, for instance, a 17-year-old wonder girl, Miu Hirano, ended China's decades-old supremacy in the game by defeating three of the top Chinese players to reign in the Asian Table Tennis Championships last month. In swimming, a 16-year-old Rikako Ikee is fast rewriting major Japan national records. (Nathan Shiga)

Source: NHK

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