Shogi Master Habu Goes Titleless for 1st Time in 27 Yrs

Society Culture

Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Pref., Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--Yoshiharu Habu, a 48-year-old Japanese shogi master, on Friday lost his Ryuo title to 31-year-old challenger Akihito Hirose, leaving him without a major shogi title for the first time in 27 years.

In the last game of the best-of-seven 31st Ryuo title competition held in the city of Shimonoseki in the western prefecture of Yamaguchi, Hirose defeated Habu with the 167th move. Habu also lost a chance of a 100th tournament victory.

The new Ryuo title holder is a native of the city of Sapporo, the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. After becoming a professional shogi player in 2005, Hirose won his first title, Oi, in 2010.

Habu gained his first title, Ryuo, in 1989 at the age of 19. Although he lost the title the next year, Habu won the Kio title in 1991. Since then, he had held at least one of the seven major titles--Ryuo, Meijin, Oi, Oza, Kio, Osho and Kisei.

In December 2017, Habu became the first shogi player to qualify for the "eisei" lifetime holder of all of the seven titles, excluding the newly created Eio title.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press