The most special kiroku

Last week I went to take kiroku of the 3rd Joryu Oza title match. I expected unforgettable experience and I got what I wanted.

The title match kiroku is different from the usual one. First day we came to Shizuoka, the second was the game and third coming back home.

The first day was a day of finals checks of the game. The pieces I brought from Shogi Renmei were tested by both players (Satomi Joryu Oza and Challenger Shimizu Ladies 6 dan). They checked the visibility of the pieces, room setting and shared all their worries (like the kiroku table being too close to them). The biggest things that the players are worried about is the room temperature or air conditioning sounds, is what I heard. Indeed I was asked in middle of kiroku to turn off the air conditioning at some point.

In the evening there was a usual event preceding any title match, called Zen-Ya-Sai (party the evening before). There were around 100 people waiting to see and heard a speech from both of the players. Shizuoka is close to Yamanashi so I met some of my friends there. There was also some games for participants like “answer the question right, get your name drawn and you will get a special prize”. One of the best prizes was a photo of a title holder or challenger, signed by hand. After some time both players leave the party which gives us, the other professionals attending tomorrow event, big board explanation or kiroku, to share some thoughts about the title match. I shared my thought about kiroku: It was my first time taking kiroku of title match, Satomi’s face looked scary (it was very determined), but I was happy to see the most important game from this close. I felt the pressure – I needed do my job properly.

The next day the game started at 10 o’clock. Different from usual kiroku, the start of the game is announced by Tachi-Ai-Nin (tran. observer, witness), in this case Fujii 9 dan. His job was to make sure the game is played in proper atmosphere and there are no problems; or so I understood. He used very formal Japanese to start the game (my jaw dropped). After few moves I was left alone with two players and the title match was no different from normal game procedures.

The lunch time was longer: from 12 to 13. Around 14:30 Oyatsu (kinda sweet snacks) were brought, but to my sadness, the players barely touched it.

I have taken kiroku of Shimizu’s games few times, so I usually know how she behaves. I know that she uses all of her time for the game, starting from the opening. On the other hand Satomi used around half of her time only. I could see the change in Satomi’s face expression in the middle of the game – it seems she was not as stressed. Maybe she was confident in her position already before lunch time? I thought.

And the pace didn’t change until end. Shimizu was lost in the position, showing her desperation by using all the pieces from her hand in the last battle cry. Byo yomi started, at 9 minutes left she was answering with “Hai” (yes), but as each minute passed the “hai” changed into smaller one and then into nothing. After 3 minutes she resigned in the ringing silence. I didn’t see her face, but I could feel her sadness. Losing three games in a row. It was painful.

But there I gained a lot of respect for her. I realized that strong players take responsibility for their actions: they jump into the game will full vulnerability and then allow themselves to be hurt. They don’t blame anyone else other then themselves. No excuses. Shimizu said in kansosen “even with my full power I wouldn’t be able to win against Satomi even once”. Everyone felt she was exaggeration, but yet the responsibility she showed as a professional – the total responsibility for each move she played – was amazing.

The determination of the title holder, the unstained behavior of legend in face of defeat, it all made a mark on my heart, and therefore I shared it on my blog. I hope you enjoyed this peek in the room of the title match between two giants.

Tokyo!

Many things happened and I did not have time to write a lot.

I have lost the next round of Ladies Meijin against Aikawa ladies 1 dan. It was a big blow and made me reserved for the next week.

But let’s talk about the good things!

I have finished my master thesis and graduated successfully!

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Photo with my seminar group and our teacher

Since research about shogi gave me many ideas for the promotion, I have bought shogi.pl and created English and Polish version of the website. There will be a three step shogi course, collection of kifu and in April I hope we will launch online shogi magazine in English. But until now the biggest project was sending shogi sets abroad. Here is a photo of a special one:

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Special shogi board with autograph

The biggest news is that now I have moved to Tokyo. As a parting-gift from Yamanashi friends I have received the most special tsumeshogi. They are created by Kitta san to resemble katakana of my name カロリーナ.

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Tsume shogi in shape of Karori-na

It was indeed a very special present. The tsume shogi themselves are a real problems to solve, no cheating!

In March I have moved to Tokyo. I live much closer to my workplace and I hopefully will have more opportunities to get a job or to find an opponent to play. This would mean that all of the time I spent on transiting between Yamanashi and Tokyo, I can use for something else. The minus is, NOW I really live ON MY OWN. I have to pay rent. But I should be fine! Of course I hope to visit Yamanashi to teach shogi there at any occasion. Indeed, Kofu city and my friends living in Yamanashi are dear for me.

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Time for cherry blossom!

The new adventure starts in Tokyo!

Recent games of Joryu Meijin

It is already New Year. I have officially submitted my thesis, though I am still working on technical corrections. I hope to publish it after my final exams.

January means that there is Joryu Meijin eliminations and I have to write an update about my games.

I have played two games, the first one was last week, against LPSA Ooba Ladies 1dan. It was a central rook vs ibisha game. In later middle I took the lead and did not let it go until end.

Winning this game meant, that my next opponent would be Shimizu Ladies 6dan. So I have been preparing the whole week. Yesterday, I had honor of facing Shimizu sensei in a battle.

I went to the game with this mind set “either I win, or lose and learn something valuable”. This let me relax and concentrate on the game. As predicted, the game was Nakabisha vs ibisha with closed Bishop line. I have gained small material advantage in the beginning, but later was left without the rook (which I gave up for a gold). I have managed to get the knight and the lance with a tokin, but Shimizu sensei put one horse to defense and two rooks to attack. However, the difference in the defense structure was big. I had full castle defending with bottom pawn and then counterattacked using lance. In the end I have surrounded her king and won.

I have not realized the excitement until I left the game room. I remember the result surprised many people, including my shisho. I had to go for a long walk around the city to calm myself down.

I am not satisfied. I feel that I still can still improve a lot. I remember the scary feeling of Shimizu sensei reading all the endgame variations with amazing speed. Maybe that I can improve before the next game. And I have a huge respect for Shimizu sensei after the game.

And I cannot let it go into my head. My opponent will prepare double carefully for the next game for sure. I shall as well. Wish me luck.

Busy week and the future

My last week was quite busy.

Last Friday I had an official match of Joryu Osho against Watanabe Mana ladies 1 dan (LPSA). Even thought thinking time was only 25 mins, the game lasted 2 hours and 187 moves. The tables turned few times in the game, but considering the fact that I had low confidence in quick paced games, that was quite good result. Of course, as a professional, losing is not acceptable! Next game will be in January, so training again.

On Saturday I had my second classroom in Shiroi city in Chiba prefecture. This time there was a tournament, shido and additional tsume shogi challenge. I had so much fun! Next lesson in March next year.

On Sunday there was a celebration party for me becoming 1kyu. Since it is a professional celebration, I have played two exhibition games. As a present, I have got a new set of stamps – here is the photo. Under my name you have stamps with my name in katakana, my nickname and in top right corner my favourite motto (Shoshin – maybe I will write the reason why in other post).

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On Monday I had to get into role of a guide around my univeristy – hope to share more details with you next year. It is a very cool project.

On Tuesday evening there was my last shido in Nekomado this year. 6 participats joined, I am happy to see same faces each time, seeing that their shogi improve as well. I had a chance to use my new stamps, which was cool. But the same night I had to go back to Yamanashi.


Recently I started to think a lot about future. In next year I will graduate from the university and will most likely move to Tokyo. Question is: what would I like to do from now on? Of course, continuing the job of professional and spreading shogi, but more like “how exactly, oneye?”. Well, I will think of it on christmas break (I come back to Poland). Even though I am still thinking about general direction, I have one idea that I want to realize in christmas time, so soon you will be able to read about it here. Wish me good luck.

December and thesis

Making a research about shogi internationalization for my master thesis might have been a good idea. I am exploding with ideas. The thesis itself should be ready until January, then I will make it public.

Right after I finish that, I plan to think of more active ways to promote shogi and make them happen. Wish me luck.

I have a game upcoming soon, so should concentrate on training until then!

Quick report from ISF 2017

Every three years International Shogi Forum is being held and all the representatives around the world are being invited to fight in the tournament.

This year in October 27-29 The 7th International Shogi Forum in Kita Kyushu was held. Kita Kyushu is the part of Japan that is 2-3 hours flight from Tokyo, just to give you sense of distance.

There was record number of 48 representatives from 42 countries. The countries were: Norway, Sweden, Finland, United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Czech, Austria, Poland Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Mongolia, China (2 people), Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan (2 people), Tunisia, Egypt, Cote d`ivoire, New Zealand, USA (2 people), Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil (2 people). Additionally European Champion and Vice Champion participated (both Belarusians).

I have attended the event as a professional. There were 19 other professionals, including the Shogi Association Chairman Sato Yasumitu.

The first day there was a reception party, in Japanese called `evening before event` Zenyasai. There were introductions of players and professionals. Apart from this it was a normal party. I was happy to be able to talk with many people from different countries. It makes me smile to see that shogi family is growing each time. I could also meet my old friends and wish everybody good luck for the tournament. Later that evening elimination groups were decided by drawing.

The second day elimination rounds and first round of tournament A and B started. The system is little confusing, but in simple words, if in the elimination round you won 2 games, you go to tournament A. If you lost 2 games, you go to tournament B. Therefore in the elimination round some people played 2, others 3 games. Main tournament is knockout. People who lost the first game could join the open tournament the next day. Meantime my job was to play one game on stage and then help people with kansosen (post-game discussion). Worth mentioning, there were amazing side events and stands like charity shido games with professionals or wooden piece making stand.

The third day was the last tournament day. Number of tables was decreasing, final game of tournament A was played on stage. In the morning I played unusual version of pair shogi in pair with Nozuki sensei. Each the players had to play 5 moves in a row. It was very entertaining. After that I have joined Horiguchi sensei, Itodani sensei and Kitao sensei in special live commentary of final game in both English and Japanese. It was quite challenging, but I heard people listening to commentary were satisfied (though some things had to be lost in translation unfortunately).

The last day was a traditional sight-seeing tour. We saw local castle and soccer stadium. I had nice talks about shogi.

I have to say that compared to 3 years ago this year`s festival was very well organized. I was very impressed. Players also seemed to be satisfied, no big problems occurred.

The only problem that I can see now is that we have to wait another three years for the next festival!

Final results:

Tournament A:

  1. Keiji Tomita (USA)
  2. Gu Guanming (China)
  3. (double) Thomas Leiter (Germany) AND Richart Bjerke (Norway)

Tournament B:

  1. Yoshihisa Suzuki (USA)
  2. Peter Heine Nielsen (Denmark)
  3. (double) Veerayut Sreshthasit (Thailand) AND Dante Acuna (Peru)

 

*some of the kifu will be available later on

*you can see more photos on my facebook album called ISF 2017 in Kita Kyushu

 

Quick update about August

August was full of events, let me summarize what had happened:

Tomas Cup – huge tournament with many serious children. I have played shido games, but I was obligated to try to teach in English! It was fun!

Keikyu Shogi Matsuri – festival inside a department store, many guests attended. I have played an exhibit game against Hori Ayano Ladies Professional  2kyu (she belongs to LPSA). Normally sitting in seiza woukd be fine, but public games like this makes me nervous and I cannot immediately stand after. Later I have written many shikishi (autographs) and talked with fans. Finally I have played 3-board shido games (teaching games).  Since it was a festival, atmosphere was great!

Article in Shogi Sekai – this year shogi lesson for French students have ended, but I have a pleasure to inform you that there is an article with photos about it in the newest Shogi Sekai. Please read if you are interested!

Kumon interview – back in Yamanashi, I had an interview for Kumon, which is a famous learning center (check it out, it is really cool and maybe they are in your country). I used to learn Japanese with Kumon. In the interview I could talk about my experiences at Kumon, shogi and difficulties of living in Japan. I am grateful for the opportunity!

September is going to be interesting, but I do not wait to spoil too much. Maybe… Just a little. Here is a leaflet of event in Yamanashi. Please join if you are around:

 

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At the end I give you tsumeshogi from Takamine san who works at Shogi Renmei. Funny story, when I came to Japan first time six years ago, he had showed me the same  problem. Enjoy!

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(The cat is just there to bring your attention. Yes, it is my cat in Poland)

August

It is very hot. There is typhoon with heavy rainfalls as well. Nothing unusual for August in Japan. But let me talk about my recent adventures.

Kiroku gakari (game record/game time managing) – my favourite job for now. First time I managed to make a simple mistake of deleting wrong player`s time and making everybody confused. But hey, failures are needed to improve! And I corrected the mistake quickly. I have to admit my ability to sit in seiza is raising thanks to this job. Interesting.

French shogi lesson – I participated few times already. Every year there are three different groups of French students. Together with Toyama 6 dan and Japanese volunteers we show them the world of shogi and teach basic rules. All in English. I enjoy those workshops a lot. If you can see some photos and read more in Japanese on Toyama sensei`s post.

But there is no end here. There was also another event in Shiroi City. Every year they make Poland vs Japan match, this time Yorimoto Ladies Professional 1 kyu was the special guest. (I won *coughs*) We also could eat a lot of local Nashi (Japanese pear). They are so tasty. I got courage to write Shiroi in kanji on my shikishi as a special prize. Next month I will have lessons in Shiroi City, exciting.

Meantime in Kiev, Ukraine, European Shogi Championship and World Open Shogi Championship were held. I want to share the results:

ESC TOP 4

  1. Vinсent Tanian <- new European Champion
  2. Sergey Korchitsky
  3. Thomas Leiter
  4. Marco Dietmayer

WOSC TOP 4

  1. Shun Tokuni
  2. Sergey Korchitsky
  3. Thomas Leiter
  4. Ikuo Teraoka

Next week is still full of work. I noticed that professionals have more works in holidays, since this is when people organize tournaments and shogi events. Oh well!

At the end I would like to share tsumeshogi made by my friend from Yamanashi, Kitta san. Enjoy. (and be careful, both have some trick in them!)

Note: Diagrams were made on this great website .

Three games and a few thoughts

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This time I have to write about my recent games of Mynavi tournament and Joryu Oza Main Tournament round.

Links for the kifu:

Let’s start with Mynavi. It is usually played in chairs, in Mynavi building. Differently from other tournaments, fans and sponsors of the game can see games live inside the room (though there are tables limiting their distance to the board). I do not remember being bothered by the viewers – I totally forgot about my surroundings when playing.

My first game was against Yamane Kotomi Joryu 1 dan. She is famous for being strong in the endgame – she solves very long tsume problems. Actually I was scared of that. Which is good – I was more concentrated.

The game was ai furibisha (double swinging rook), but my opponent mistook number of pawns in hand and overattacked. After defending her attack, my counterattack was devastating and I have won. (I have to say it was a pleasure to beat my fear of her strong endgame skills by setting up simple hisshi to win).

The next game was played after a lunch break. My opponent was Yamaguchi Eriko Joryu 2 dan. If you remember, she was my first opponent in professional debut match. Therefore I thought ‘this is a good chance to test whenever I have improved’. But the game went totally one sided – Yamaguchi attacked as she wanted and in my feeling had won too easily. Oh well. I need to train this opening: ai furibisha (double swining rook) with anaguma vs kin muso… Aparently when you are gote in this opening, going for sennichite is one option. It is also important to leave attacking options, especially on the edge.

Next week after Mynavi I had my match of Joryu Oza Main Tournament against Muroya Yuki Joryu 2 dan (fun fact – her teacher is the teacher of my teacher). I knew she is strong, so I have prepared opening well. Though, I could throw it all through the window, because she went for unusual joseki of ai furibisha with early bishop to 97. I have played a shape that I have never played in my life. Until endgame I had little advantage, almost winning, but I have made a mistake in the endgame by escaping the king instead of taking the promoted knight. Together with other miscalculation the tables turned around and I have lost the game. It was quite painful. I still had more than 30 mins left to think, surely I should have used it better to not make mistakes. Other reason could be lack of stamina.

Going so far in the tournament and then losing is painful. Unlike tournaments in Europe, swiss system, you can still play next game and somehow recover, here you have to wait whole year for the new tournament and start from the bottom again. Therefore missing a change to qualify to the next stage is very sad.

But don’t get me wrong, I don’t give up. Still a lot of training and work before me.

As for the few thoughts, I still cannot find time to improve the blog. I wish I could write more often and organize menus better. Please, give me some time to think about it.

Next month, even though it is summer vacation for the university, is full of work! I hope I can tell you all about it in the next post.