Satomi makes history

Satomi Kana Ladies 4-Crown surprised everyone with her amazing achievement.

As a first women she qualified to a Main Tournament of professional world. This made her eligible to take a professional examination.

2022, May 27th, in Kiou elimination match she beat Komori 5 dan and qualified to Kiou Main Tournament. Word of explanation might be needed for English readers, Kiou Tournament is a tournament that is organized for professionals (not ladies professionals) and only few that aren’t professionals are allowed to participate in it. One of them is top ladies professional player, Satomi. It never happened in the past that a woman would fight her way through the elimination round.

On top of that, she is now able to attempt to become professional 4 dan (again, not Ladies Professional) by taking an exam. It is possible because in the last official matches she got score of 10 wins and 4 losses, “more than 6:5 win to loss ratio”. In order to take the exam, Satomi would need to within one month apply for exam with recommendation of a professional, then pay the participation fee. If she applied, 5 matched would be played against the newest 4 dan professionals and she would need to get 3 wins to become 4 dan and start in free class of Meijin.

Previously Satomi was really close to get this chance in 2019, but she missed it by losing decisive game.

But so far, we don’t know if she will attempt the exam.

You can read in more details on Japanese news page:

https://hochi.news/articles/20220527-OHT1T51179.html?page=1

The chaos of choice

Thousand ideas.

Shogi Books reviews?
Writing shogi book in English about endgame?
Doing more penguin videos?
Making a shogi board that is readable for shogi players and easily buyable in Europe?
Writing blog posts with game analysis like before?

Too many ideas paralyses the choice.
Similar in shogi game where there are too many moves on the board and you end up choosing the wrong one under time pressure.

Today I played a game on 81dojo and tried to analyze it on playshogi.com and lishogi.org to compare how both websites AI’s will judge the moves.

Both computers showed the same drops in the evaluation (orange), but some smaller spikes were more or less forgiving (green).

The centipawn and mistake count showed like this:

Also not being far off from each other. Playshogi was harsher to categorize imprecision as mistakes for Black, at the same time finding more imprecisions for White.

Checking in more detail, what position they found as imprecision… Sometimes they agreed, sometimes not.

To study my own kifu, instead of concentrating on every detail, it is easier to concentrate on those bigger jumps in the graph (orange). If there is many of them, concentrate on the ones with biggest centipawn loss. In this case there was this huge mistake on the right side, dropping from 2000 points.

The move I played was to jump the knight, with the idea of “putting more pressure”. That would lead to my horse being blocked off by …S*44.

That move reviewed on playshogi.com first showed equal game, then showed Black being 500-1000 points better. Little confusing when trying to find the best variation. Lishogi.org was between 0.1-2.4 for Black. (As comparison the big spike of 2000 points = 26.9). The longer the AI thought, the more evaluation changed. A quite confusing study tool.

But one thing is clear perhaps, …S*44 was a good answer for White, so instead of jumping the knight, taking gold was more decisive. Sx62+ Gx, B*81 Kx, +Bx62 will lead to hisshi. After B*81 K61 with G*53 (lishogi) leads to many complex variation, but we are able to promote our second bishop while eyeing the 27 dragon. The king is more unsafe in the middle of the board. …K61 L*64! [Px is mate] (playshogi) is a move that lishogi also preferred, if let it analyze it. L*64 N*71 leads again to G*53 (+18.2 or 4843 for Black).

With this experiment I can say that no matter which website you use, they both seem to use reliable computer. At lishogi you have ability to change how many lines or how much memory the computer can use, and on playshogi you can force computer to reconsider move for next 5 seconds.

Personally I am more used the centipawn showed by playshogi, the chess originated +18.2 tells me nothing. Showing multiple moves options on lishogi is also interesting, but hard to see which move is the best (Yes, the size of the arrows is supposed to show it, but there are also drops with regular size or different piece on the same square…? Hard to see).

It is clear though that I made a horrible mistake by jumping the knight. A bad, but unpunished choice it was.

The first game of the year

Life is about the journey, not the destination. Life is a dance, made of steps. Many books say similar wisdom.

I wish I had read more books in my life. To know better, rather than learn by experience.

This year starts weird, where I am sitting in Switzerland and wondering what my life could be. What to do next.
As always, I might have many ideas, but none of them sound as good or exciting as in the past.
Maybe it is just winter, dulling my mind.

Today we had a not too complex Sunday Shogi stream, where we analyzed games of regular viewers.
Any viewer could send a game, but so it just happened that only regulars send them today. We enjoyed every one of them. Many people are getting stronger each week.

After that I played a game against iongrey, and I thought I can show some positions from that game, just to put something cool on the blog. Here it goes.

Maruyama’s Vaccine, a counter strategy for central rook that forces early bishop exchange, with my unusual counter that is supposed to be disadvantageous for Gote. Bishop drop that will take a free pawn, but will end up on wrong diagonal.

Iongrey did his best and made an engagement on P-24 and P-45 squares. I had to protect against his rook sabaki. Here Sente has chance for a good bishop drop. Making a horse that would pressure my bishop.

Iongrey missed the bishop drop, but I also missed a chance to make game equal. According to the computer P-25 would allow me to counter better. I was afraid about 53 square and moved S-62. (surprisingly computer considers B*66 as an answer to that.. is it because S-46 bad shape and good counter on big diagonal? )
The game equalized after this move. My bishop became little more active by targeting 38 square.
The final big mistake: knight jump allowed exchange of rooks and silver for lance. My horse ended up in a good position to attack non-castled king. Again, the computer suggested quite interesting move instead of knight jump: B’16 keeping the equal fight.

And the final position was this:

Thank you for the 10 second shogi game, Yellow!

Tourney To Shodan – first season finished

Today we had the TTS winners vs professional teaching games. Both of the players thellamalord (2 dan) and shymon (1 kyu) have challenged Katagami Daisuke 7 dan with 4 piece handicap. It was simultaneous match.

The games were very exciting and I hope to upload the whole games on youtube soon, so no spoilers!

The Tourney To Shodan feels like an amazing success with over 40 people joining and playing 8 rounds over 2 months span. It was a lot of effort from everyone, but a lot of fun as well.

I hope to continue the new way of shogi promotions online… while enjoying seeing everyone grow.

Long time no update

So I was reminded by one of my twitch viewers that I have a blog.

Yes, I am streaming every week on Twitch and sometimes uploading video on youtube. Each of those are called Shogi Harbour (or Shogi_Harbour). I called it Harbour because we often say in Polish “a safe harbour” so I imagine this is a safe place to learn about shogi. Anybody can join, any level of play, asking any “dumb” question. It has been over a year since I started streaming.

Recently we are starting a new activities, ladder tournament and tourney to shodan. Tourney to shodan is connected to Road To Shodan series on youtube. Having a lot of fun making them with Wojtek!

Anyways, what I was supposed to write about is my today win in Kurashiki tournament. Best 8. One more win and I will be 1 dan. It is probably one of my best tournament results so far. Well, my next opponents are strong, so I don’t want to be overconfident. But I need to share those news, nevertheless. Coming this far is very lucky.

That’s all for now. Hope that I will have more to write about in the future!

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.