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The dragon king

Ryu-oh or Ryūō (竜王, lit. "Dragon King") is the name of a promoted piece in shogi, a Japanese professional shogi tournament, and the title of its winner.

The basic meaning of "Ryu-oh" is a "promoted rook". It can move as either a rook (hisha 飛車, lit. flying chariot") or a king (gyokushō 玉将, lit. "jade general") during a turn, and is one of the two most powerful pieces in shogi.

"Ryu-oh" also refers to the annual Ryu-oh Tournament (Ryūō-sen 竜王戦) organized by Yomiuri Shimbun as well as the title awarded to its winner. The Ryu-oh Tournament, which is one of seven Japanese shogi title matches, was first held in 1988. It comprises preliminary tournaments in six classes and one final. The final tournament, which determines the challenger, involves competitions among eleven players (the top five players from 1st class, top two from 2nd class, and the top four from 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes). The first player to win four out of seven championship games becomes the new titleholder. This title should not be confused with that of "Amateur Ryu-oh" which is awarded each year to the winner of the Amateur Ryu-oh Tournament.

Cash prizes are ¥32,000,000 for the winner of championship and new Ryu-oh titleholder, and ¥8,000,000 for the loser (approximately US$320,000 and $80,000 respectively). Additional compensation includes ¥14,500,000 for the previous titleholder and ¥7,000,000 for the challenger (approximately US$145,000 and $70,000).

Among the seven rankings in the professional shogi titleholder system, Ryu-oh and Meijin are the most prestigious designations.

Lifetime Ryu-oh[edit]

Lifetime Ryu-oh ("Eisei Ryu-oh" = Lifetime Ryu-oh) is the title awarded to a player who wins the championship five times in a row or seven times in total. Active players may qualify for this title, but it is only officially awarded upon their retirement or death. (posthumously). [1]

The only player to qualify for the Lifetime Ryu-oh title to date is Akira Watanabe; he won the championship five times in a row from 2004 to 2008, and will be designated at "The First Lifetime Ryu-oh" upon his retirement or death.


Year Winner Score Opponent
1988 Akira Shima 4-0 Kunio Yonenaga
1989 Yoshiharu Habu 4-3 Akira Shima
1990 Koji Tanigawa 4-1 Yoshiharu Habu
1991 Koji Tanigawa 4-2 Taku Morishita
1992 Yoshiharu Habu 4-3 Koji Tanigawa
1993 Yasumitsu Sato 4-2 Yoshiharu Habu
1994 Yoshiharu Habu 4-2 Yasumitsu Sato
1995 Yoshiharu Habu 4-2 Yasumitsu Sato
1996 Koji Tanigawa 4-1 Yoshiharu Habu
1997 Koji Tanigawa 4-0 Keiichi Sanada
1998 Takeshi Fujii 4-0 Koji Tanigawa
1999 Takeshi Fujii 4-1 Daisuke Suzuki
2000 Takeshi Fujii 4-3 Yoshiharu Habu
2001 Yoshiharu Habu 4-1 Takeshi Fujii
2002 Yoshiharu Habu 4-3 Takashi Abe
2003 Toshiyuki Moriuchi 4-0 Yoshiharu Habu
2004 Akira Watanabe 4-3 Toshiyuki Moriuchi
2005 Akira Watanabe 4-0 Kazuki Kimura
2006 Akira Watanabe 4-3 Yasumitsu Sato
2007 Akira Watanabe 4-2 Yasumitsu Sato
2008 Akira Watanabe 4-3 Yoshiharu Habu
2009 Akira Watanabe 4-0 Toshiyuki Moriuchi
2010 Akira Watanabe 4-2 Yoshiharu Habu
2011 Akira Watanabe 4-1 Tadahisa Maruyama
2012 Akira Watanabe 4-1 Tadahisa Maruyama
2013 Toshiyuki Moriuchi 4-1 Akira Watanabe


External links[edit]