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Subject: 14-year-old pro shogi player beats oldest top player in debut match rss

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Manabu Terao
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http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/12/450847.html

Youngest shogi player beats oldest in debut match
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161225_03/
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Manabu Terao
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The Japan Times also covered his debut.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/25/national/japans-...
 
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Eric Nolan
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Just read an article in the UK's Guardian newspaper about this player breaking the record for largest number of consecutive wins in professional play.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/27/japans-love-of...
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Russ Williams
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Another recent article about him is interesting; it talks a bit about his unusual opening style, and his training with AI:

As many shogi players point out, recently 4th-dan Fujii’s game is characterized by “the speed of his attack.” Uninfluenced by traditional moves, he relentlessly moves knights and silvers out to the frontline and so on, taking action early to set the pace, and then continues on to win.

According to former House representative and current Doshisha University professor, Masatoshi Murakami, who informed on current shogi matters: “One of the major characteristics of AI is that it keeps the King’s protection to a minimum, and opens with an attack. Unlike human beings, since it does not harbor a fear of the king being captured, AI employs typically cool-headed tactics, and this is something that 4th-dan Fujii has managed to absorb into his own style.”

7th-Dan Master, Masataka Sugimoto, 48, says, “Originally, the opening and middle-game were his weaknesses, but (by using AI) I never thought he would be able to work on his weak points and become stronger, this quickly.”

Mr. Murakami says, “Born into the digital generation, 4th-Dan Fujii is part of a generation that thinks it’s only natural to combine shogi and AI, as such he is taking full advantage of AI for use in his own game.”
 
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Russ Williams
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An economic side effect of Fujii's popularity:

Shogi Boom Revitalizes Tendo, Major Piece Production Area

Tendo, Yamagata Pref., July 6 (Jiji Press)--The shogi boom in Japan sparked by a 14-year-old sensation is helping to revitalize the Yamagata Prefecture city of Tendo, known as the nation's largest supplier of shogi pieces.

Although his record-breaking winning streak was snapped at 29 games, Sota Fujii's impressive performance boosted the popularity of the chess-like traditional Japanese board game.

In addition, demand for shogi pieces surged as rewards for donors to the northeastern city under "furusato nozei," a hometown donation program for tax deductions.

After falls in the number of craftsmen who manufacture shogi pieces by hand, efforts to train successors are under way in Tendo.

"We were previously able to deliver products in two to three weeks (after receiving orders), but these days we sometimes have customers waiting for six weeks," said Masaharu Nakajima, 56-year-old owner of Nakajima Seikichi Shoten, the city's largest shogi piece manufacturer and seller, founded in 1877.
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