Kanazawa Bunko Shogi Salon: Katou Hifumi Seminar

Last Sunday I went for the first time to the Kanagawa Bunko Shogi Salon. This Shogi dojo opened last year and it’s 1-minute walk from the station of Kanazawa Bunko of the Keikyu line.

This club opens every day from 13h to 21h and the entrance fee is 950 yen (≈8.5 USD), 700 yen (≈6 USD) for women and 600 (≈5.5 USD) yen for students. They organize many events and invite many players.

This day the Shogi Club had the visit of one of the most famous Shogi players, Katou Hifumi. I have talked before about Katou-sensei. He retired this year but before this, he established some marks hard to match.

Katou Hifumi had, until last year, the record of being the player who became a pro at the youngest age when he was 14 years and 7 months old. He has been playing in the A group of the Jun’i tournament for many decades and he got the Meijin title once in 1982. He was the oldest player before he retired and he also has the largest number of games played in history (2504) and the third largest number of victories (1324) only surpassed by Ooyama Yasuharu (1433) Habu Yoshiharu (1368). He also has the largest number of lost games (1179).

Besides his incredible Shogi marks, Katou Hifumi is also well known in Japan thanks to his multiples appearances on TV. Many people who don’t know about shogi knows about him.

From 13 o’clock Katou Hifumi started a simultaneous game against many assistants at once. I played with the handicap of 2 pieces (Bishop and Rook) but I was unable to beat him. Even with the great advantage that supposes this handicap, it is important to learn the moves at the opening.

Here I exchanged knights at 2e. After this, I had the idea of move P-1e, Px1e and P-1c. If he takes my pawn I can put my Knight on 2e from my hand and create an opening on his right side.

But after I changed knights Katou moved P-8e and put his Knight on 8d attacking my pawn at 7f. With the Knights, Katou created a big pressure on my left side and I didn’t have any chance of a counter-attack.

Katou finished all the simultaneous games after 5 hours! After this, he explained two games. The first one was the game with which he got his Meijin title. He talked about his experiences as shogi player. Katou said that he has been analyzing the games of Fujii Souta and his game style remembers him to the style of Masuda Kouzou.

You can see all the game here.

After the seminar finished I took a picture with Katou Hifumi in front of the board showing the position which he became Meijin.

There was a cameraman following Katou for a TV documental. I got interviewed a few times so maybe I will appear on the Japanese TV!