Fujii Becomes Youngest Major Shogi Title Defender

Society Culture

Numazu, Shizuoka Pref., July 3 (Jiji Press)--Sota Fujii swept the best-of-five Kisei shogi title series with Akira Watanabe on Saturday, becoming the youngest player to defend any of the eight major professional titles for the board game.

Fujii achieved this at the age of 18 years and 11 months, beating the previous record of 19 years set in 1991 by ninth-dan Nobuyuki Yashiki, now 49, who defended the Kisei title at the time, according to the Japan Shogi Association.

Fujii was also promoted to ninth-dan, becoming the first teenage player to get the rank. Previously, the youngest player to reach ninth-dan was Watanabe, who rose to the rank in 2005 at 21 years and seven months.

In Saturday's third match of the Kisei title series, held in the city of Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, Fujii, who also has the Oi major title, defeated Watanabe with 100 moves. Watanabe has three of the eight major titles--Meijin, Kio and Osho.

"The result was good because a shogi player can be regarded as being fully competitive only after defending a title," Fujii said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press