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.

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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.

Talking about my last game

After reading many propositions on social media, it turns out that many people would like to read about thoughts or feelings regarding my games. Everybody can see the kifu on the internet, but it is interesting to know, what happens behind the curtains.

I would like to talk about my game in technical matters as well, so people interested in learning shogi can understand little more about techniques used in the game.

This post is my first attempt to comment my game on this blog.

Usually kifu are not public, but this one can be seen on the Joryu Oza tournament page. Therefore I will be only commenting the moves without putting diagrams in the post.

Joryu Oza is a tournament with a longer thinking time, it was 3 hours per player plus 60 seconds byo yomi. I am overthinking type, so I like longer timed games better. I hope that thinking speed / intuition will come with experience.

You may think “wow, three hours is a lot of time!”, but actually time flies pretty quick when you try to count all the variations. Therefore it is better to not spend too much time about each move, and rather spread time between game phases, leaving some for the endgame. This was my strategy for this game as well.

What you don`t know is that I just came back from Europe and had jet-lag. I spend previous day resting a lot, eating food at proper Japanese time (because I think food habits influence your biological clock the most).

My opponent is regarded as a strong ladies professional, so I was concerned. But there is something that I have learned in the past months: that only I can believe in myself. If I do not there is no point in even trying. My shogi is hugely influenced by my mental state, so I had to concentrate and find strong reason to play. That will be my secret here.

There were only two games at the Renmei that day, we had the whole room for us. Felt very nice. I could concentrate.

The opening was bad – it did not feel bad – but it was little good for gote. The battle became harsh near the lunch time.

Move 51. was a good one, but 53. it was probably better to run away with the rook. Move 58. was painful, my bishop drop defense was clumsy. A bad style, but it was the only way that seemed proper for me.

Then P*89 I found cool, distracting the dragon and getting a chance to make some counter. I am pretty sure my way to attack was not good (L*47), because my position was distorted, but felt confident.

Move 87. N65 looked like an overplay. Taking two pieces for a bishop and getting promoted dragon gave sente little lead. The problem was, how to get to the opponent’s king? There was no obvious move. Everything looked bad or heavy.

Exchange on move 103. felt assuring, bishop position was decided, pieces in opponent’s hand was limited to pawns and silver. Move 110. was a good one, activating the dragon.

There was a frustration in time running out, when you have a better position, but no way to get the king. Move 117. was a mistake. Looks good – but actually does not work. Gave gote the initiative and chances to turn the game around.

Move 120. was like a needle to heart. If I show weak spirit here, the table would have turned. I used a lot of time here struggling with myself. I have dropped the pawn.

Move 129. N takes. That was a good feeling. I was seeing the line with S*33 already. I was expecting Dx66 and reading what I could do with it. Move 130. the dragon took the pawn. I fell into byoyomi, but that did not bother me. I saw the line already, checking if I did not make mistakes. All the lines lead either to tsume or to dragon – check bishop drop. I was confident.

Then I started to wonder. At move 138. what if she drops B*73? Very strange move, my brain likes to surprise me with those at panic situations, wasting my time in byoyomi. But I read Nx=, which was tsumero and it was fine.

Then there was simply looking exchange of move 140. B*64, L*55. What is important, lance at 55 was threatening the gote’s king, not losing the tempo in endgame.

And there is some point I would like to show. Why not Bx move 147.? R*31 was actually asking for aigoma (piece drop to block the check), so that opponent would not have tsume. Let’s call it your homework. Find tsume sequence after move 147. with the mistake Bx.

The game has finished at 16:53, after 149 moves. For the first time I have advanced to Joryu Oza main tournament. I was excited for days afterwards. It is not good for a shogi player to dwell on lost games, but there is also a trap in being overexcited about won games as well.

Next game soon.

Ricoh cup main tournament and other / Turniej główny Ricoh cup i inne

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I have been pretty busy last month. As I have promised, I put my whole energy into it and when I was done, I realized that June has almost ended (laughs)

In May I went to Osaka as a member of Mori Ichimon – shogi family of Mori sensei (who is shisho of my shisho, Katagami sensei). I had various jobs like speeches, shido and kiroku. I have won elimination round for Ricoh cup 5/20 against Takebe Joryu 3dan.

June started with job everyday of first week, then flying to France on vacations. Two days after arriving back, I fought against Wada Joryu 1dan. After a big fight I have won and for the first time I have been qualified for the main tournament of Ricoh cup! I was very happy.

I did not have enough time to share all the news, since this week is Yamada cup, for which I have to prepare!

I had my 26th birthday this month. It is really great to be Joryu 1kyu on such a day. I will keep doing my best.

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Byłam bardzo zajęta w maju. Jak zapowiedziałam, włożyłam w niego całą energię i niestety obudziłam się pod koniec czerwca (śmiech).

W maju pojechałam do Osaki jako część Mori Ichimon – shogistyczna rodzina Mori sensei (który jest shisho mojego shisho – Katagami sensei). Miałam też dużo pracy z przemówieniami, shido i kiroku, a 20 maja wygrałam grę eliminacyjną Ricoh cup z Takebe Joryu 3dan.

Czerwiec rozpoczął się pracą przez cały pierwszy tydzień, a następnie pojechałam na wakacje do Francji. Dwa dni po powrocie rozegrałam grę z Wada Joryu 1dan. Po wielkiej walce wygrałam i po raz pierwszy dostałam się do głównego turnieju Ricoh cup! Byłam bardzo szczęśliwa.

Nie miałam czasu się tym podzielić, ponieważ w następnym tygodniu czeka mnie Yamada cup i muszę się przygotowywać.

W tym miesiącu skończyłam też 26 lat. Wspaniale być w tym dniu Joryu 1kyu. Będę niezmiennie dawać z siebie wszystko.

April is over / Już po kwietniu

Sakura bloomed and finished. April passed by very quickly.

I will summarize what happened in April.

First, there was the annual festival in Shiroi city. Usually it is held twice a year. Shiroi city is in Chiba prefecture (on the right side of Tokyo). My image is, there are tasty fruits, like pears. But you should remember that there is a soroban museum! Soroban is a Japanese abakus. Therefore, the festival is actually soroban mixed with shogi event! They even invented soroban shogi game, where either you win normally or after ten minutes you count, who has more pieces. I took part in the festival for few years already. First time as official ladies professional! This time I wore a kimono and played shido games. I have many fans in Shiroi city, so I had to write some autographs. I recommend to you to visit the festival, it is so much fun. Next one is in August.

Second, another shido in Nekomado and Renmei. Too bad I caught a cold one week before Nekomado one and my throat was not fully cured then. But neverthless it was fun to teach. Also, I met Yosuke Sunamura, who works at Nekomado, and I have heard that he have plans to start an English Shogi Meeting in Tokyo. I recommend you to join – https://www.facebook.com/events/449224192085588/ . Hope I will find time to join it too. It would be great!

And note to myself – learn handicap joseki better.

Third, I was training for kirokugakari job and made my debut! Kirokugakari is the person that takes gake record and managed time of the players, including byoyomi reading. He or she has to sit in seiza, be present all the time when game is ongoing. The good point is, we can watch games of the strong players, observe how they behave, it is part of training. It is said that it’s a hard job, but for now I enjoy it. Next kirokugakari job is in this month. Last time I was using stopwatch, this time I will be using chessclock. I hope to explain the difference in the future posts.

Fourth, my last graduate school year started and I was busy with master thesis. The title is “Shogi Internationalization”. I have been sending questionnaires to shogi players around the world. The topic is wast, so I want to concentrate on European Region. One of the questions I want to aswer is general though, how is shogi viewed by people outside Japan. If you want to share some information, do not hesistate to contact me!

April was the first calmer month after the ‘becoming ladies pro’ hurricane, yet it was still busy, because of new job responsibilities mixing with university life and other private stuff. I hope I can come back to full energy in May. Next objective became clear for me, I need to become even stronger in shogi!

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Sakura zakwitła i zniknęła. Już po kwietniu.

A co wydarzyło się w kwietniu…

Po pierwsze, festiwal w mieście Shiroi. Zwykle odbywa się on dwa razy w roku. Miasto Shiroi jest w prefekturze Chiba (na prawo od Tokyo). Osobiście Chiba kojarzy mi się w owocami, np. brzoskwinią. Ale powinniście zapamiętać, że w Shiroi jest muzeum sorobanu! Soroban to japońskie liczydło. Dlatego też festiwal ten ma w sobie mieszankę shogi i sorobanu! Wymyślono nawet grę o nazwie soroban shogi, gdzie albo wygrasz w shogi normalnie, albo po dziesięciu minutach wygrywa ten gracz, który ma więcej punktów za figury. Biorę udział w tym festiwalu co roku już od kilku lat. Tym razem po raz pierwszy jako oficjalna profesjonalistka shogi! Wyjątkowo założyłam kimono i rozegrałam gry shido. Wygląda na to, że mam wiele fanów w mieście Shiroi, bo musiałam rozdać wiele autografów. Polecam festiwal wszystkim, następne w sierpniu.

Po drugie, kolejne shido w Nekomado oraz Renmei. Na moje nieszczęście złapałam przeziębienie przed shido w Nekomado i moje gardło nie było wyleczone. Ale uczenie to frajda. Przy okazji, spotkałam Pana Yusuke Sugamura, który pracuje w Nekomado, i planuje on rozpocząć spotkanie shogi po angielsku w Tokyo. Polecam: https://www.facebook.com/events/449224192085588/ . Mam nadzieję, że ja też znajdę czas i uda mi się przyjść. Świetna inicjatywa.

Memo do siebie, nauczyć się lepiej joseki od handikapów.

Po trzecie, ćwiczyłam do pracy kirokugakari i miałam swój debiut! Kirokugakari jest to osoba, która zapisuje partię oraz pilnuje czasu, włączając w to czytanie byoyomi. On lub ona musi siedzieć w seiza oraz być  obecny/ą podczas gry. Dobrą stroną jest to, że możemy oglądać gry silniejszych graczy, to jak się zachowują. Jest to częścią treningu. Mówi się, że jest to ciężka praca, ale na razie mi się podoba. Następna praca kirokugakari w tym miesiącu. Ostatnim razem używałam stopera, tym razem będzie to zegar szachowy. Mam nadzieję wyjaśnić różnicę w przyszłych postach.

Po czwarte, rozpoczął się ostatni rok magisterski i jestem zajęta pisaniem pracy. Tytuł to “Shogi Internationalization”. Na razie wysyłam ankiety do graczy shogi na świecie. Temat jest rozległy, więc skupię się na Europie. Jednym z pytań, na które chę znaleźć odpowiedź to, jak ludzie z poza Japonii widzą shogi. Jeśli masz jakieś cenne infomacje, nie bój się wysłać mi wiadomości!

Kwiecień był pierwszym spokojniejszym miesiącem po tornado związanym z zostaniem profesjonalistką, ale wciąż był pełen obowiązków związanych z nowymi zadaniami w pracy, rozpoczęciem uniwersytetu oraz innymi prywatnymi sprawami. Mam nadzieję, że maj będzie miał więcej pozytywnej energi. Mój następny cel jest już widoczny, stanie się jeszcze silniejszą w shogi!

Kurashikitoka loss but 1kyu / Przegrana w Kurashikitoka ale 1kyu

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Today I have played Kurashikitoka match against Sanada, Joryu 2dan. I have lost. Apart from being caught in byoyomi in the endgame, there were few moves that made me disappointed. Oh well. Back to training.

…is what I wanted to write in sad tone, but according to Renmei rules, from 1st April I will be promoted to 1kyu (at least 7 wins in last year). It is quite surprising. I need to train more to prove I deserve it. Next step, Shodan!

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Dzisiaj rozegrałam mecz przeciwko Sanada, Joryu 2dan. Przegrałam. W końcówce złapało mnie byoyomi, ale oprócz tego nie jestem zadowolona z kilku moich ruchów. Ah, wracamy do treningów.

…tak w smutnym tonie chciałam napisać, ale według zasad Renmei, od pierwszego kwietnia będę 1kyu (co najmniej 7 zwycięstw w ostatnim roku). Niespodziewane. Muszę trenować, aby udowodnić, że na awans zasługiwałam. Kolejny cel? Shodan!