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!
- Keiji Tomita (USA)
- Gu Guanming (China)
- (double) Thomas Leiter (Germany) AND Richart Bjerke (Norway)
- Yoshihisa Suzuki (USA)
- Peter Heine Nielsen (Denmark)
- (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