Yoshiharu Habu, one of Japan’s top-ranked exponents of the ancient chesslike game of “shogi,” has captured his 800th win, becoming the youngest ever person to reach this milestone.
Habu, 32, is only the 11th player to claim 800 victories.
Decked in a traditional robe, Habu, a “ryuo” ranked player, beat the lower-ranked Takeshi Fujii on Sunday.
The pair faced off over a wooden table board for a grueling two rounds lasting a combined 16 hours.
Although Habu’s 800 wins and 283 losses give him the best win-loss ratio of any professional player in Japan, he has his sights set higher.
“I want to reach 1,000 wins while I’m still in my 30s,” he told a news conference.
Since turning pro at 17, Habu’s rise has been meteoric.
He has a huge following and his championship rounds, which see players deliberate for an hour or more before moving a piece, are regularly televised and covered by major national newspapers.
Koji Tanigawa, another top-class pro, was six months older than Habu when he reached 800 wins.
Habu is also the first shogi player ever to have held all seven top titles: “meijin,” ryuo, “kio,” “oza,” “kisei,” “oi” and “osho.”
Shogi’s rules and strategies are similar to chess, with the objective to checkmate an opponent’s “osho,” or king.
Pieces won from an opponent can, however, be used again by their captor.
The game is believed to have been imported from China in the eighth century.
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