Shogi legend Yoshiharu Habu collects record 1,434th victory

Kyodo, JIJI

Professional shogi player Yoshiharu Habu earned his 1,434th win at a tournament in Tokyo on Tuesday, setting a record for victories in the traditional Japanese board game.

The 48-year-old achieved the feat by beating Takuya Nagase, the 26-year-old Eio title holder, after last month matching the previous record set by the late Yasuharu Oyama in 1992.

“This has been one of my major objectives of the year. I’m happy I was able to achieve this goal today,” Habu said after the win.

A ninth-dan player, Habu set the record in his 2,027th match. He has a winning percentage of 70.8 percent, the highest rate among the top 10 professional shogi players in terms of career wins, according to the Japan Shogi Association. Oyama had previously set the record in his 2,216th match with a winning percentage of 64.7 percent.

The match started at 10 a.m. Tuesday and finished around 7:45 p.m. with Nagase admitting defeat.

A native of Saitama Prefecture, Habu became a professional shogi player when he was 15 and won his first title, the prestigious Ryuo, at age 19.

In 1996, he became the first-ever player to dominate all seven major titles, and also became the first-ever lifetime holder of the seven titles in 2017.

He received the People’s Honor Award last year, becoming the first recipient of the prize from the shogi-playing world.

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