National

Japan’s youngest pro shogi player beats its oldest top player in debut match

Kyodo

The nation’s oldest top-ranked player of shogi has been defeated by a 14-year-old prodigy who was making his professional debut.

Sota Fujii, a second-year junior high school student, defeated 76-year-old Hifumi Kato on Saturday in Tokyo. Kato holds ninth dan, the highest ranking in the Japanese chess-like board game.

“I was honored” to face Kato in the debut match, Fujii said. “I want to do better.”

Fujii went pro when he was awarded fourth dan in October at the age of 14 years and 2 months, breaking the previous record set by Kato 62 years ago at 14 years and 7 months old.

The age gap between the two players was the widest in an official match, according to the Japan Shogi Association.