61st NHK Cup (shogi)
The 61st NHK Cup, or as it is officially known the 61st NHK Cup TV Shogi Tournament (第61回NHK杯テレビ将棋トーナメント dairokujūikkai enueichikeihai terebi shōgi tōnamento?) was a professional shogi tournament organized by the Japan Shogi Association[ja] (日本将棋連盟 nihon shōgi renmei?), or JSA, and sponsored by Japan's public broadcaster NHK (日本放送協会nippon hōsō kyōkai?). Play began on April 3, 2011 and ended on March 18, 2012. The 50-player single elimination tournament was won by Yoshiharu Habu. All of the tournament games were shown each Sunday morning on NHK-E. The host (司会者 shikaisha?) during the NHK-E broadcasts was women's professional (女流棋士 joryūkishi?) Rieko Yauchi.
A total of 139 shogi professionals (棋士 kishi?)[a] competed in 18 preliminary tournaments to qualify for the main tournament. These tournaments were one-day tournaments held at both the Tokyo Shogi Kaikan[ja] and the Kansai Shogi Kaikan[ja] and were not televised. Each tournament consisted of seven or eight players. The initial time control for each player was 20 minutes followed by a 30-second byōyomi. A "piece toss" (振り駒 furigoma?) was performed prior to each game to determine "the player who moves first" (先手 sente?).
The women's professional[b] seed is normally determined by a playoff or qualifying tournament among the reigning women's major titleholders.[c] The women's professional seed was determined by a single-game playoff between Kana Satomi 3 crown[d] (Women's Meijin, Women's ōshō, and Kurashiki Tōka) and Tomomi Kai 2 crown (Mynavi Open and Women's ōi), which was won by Kai.[e]
Brackets from two of the preliminary tournaments are shown below.
The first time control for main tournament games was ten minutes per player. Once this was used up, a second time control of 10 one-minute periods of "thinking time" (考慮時間 kōryō jikan?) began. Each player was given 30 seconds to make their move. If they did so, then no thinking time periods were used. If, however, they did not, a thinking time period began and they then had up to one minute (more specifically 59 seconds) to make a move before entering the next thinking time period. This process was repeated until a player had used all ten thinking time periods. Then, the final byōyomi time control of 30 seconds per move then began. Sente was determined prior to each game by piece toss.
The 50 players listed below qualified for the main tournament.
- "No." represents the bracket position of the player in their respective block and "Rank/Title" represents the rank or title(s) held by the player when the original bracket was finalized. A dan/kyū (段級 dankyū?) grading system is used for ranking players.
- Players whose names are in bold were seeded directly into the main tournament and are as follows:[h]
- 60th NHK Cup (four players): Habu (champion), Itodani (runner-up), Maruyama (semifinalist) and Watanabe (semifinalist).
- Seven major titleholders (two players): Hirose (ōi) and Kubo (ōshō and Kiō)[i]
- Class A (seven players): Miura, Takahashi, Moriuchi, Kimura, Tanigawa, Gōda, Fujii
- Class B1 (thirteen players): Inoue, Y. Satō, Fukaura, Namekata, Matsuo, Yamasaki, Yashiki, Suzuki, Toyokawa, Sugimoto, Hatakeyama, Nakamura, and Nakata
- Other tournament winners (one player): Abe (Shinjin-Ō)
- Women's professional (one player): Kai 2 crown (Mynavi Open and Women's ōi)
- Others with outstanding records (four players): Kubota (Class B2), Tobe (Class B2), Murayama (Class C1), and Toyoshima (Class C1)[j]
- Among these 32 seeds, the following 14 were given byes in round 1 and began play in round 2: Habu, Itodani, Maruyama, Watanabe, Takahashi, Fujii, Inoue, Kubo, Moriuchi, Hirose, Gōda, Miura, Tanigawa, and Kimura.
- The remaining players qualified by winning preliminary tournaments.
The bracket at the start of the tournament in shown below.
Winners are listed in bold. "Date" refers to the date the game was broadcast. Dan and titles are as of the date the game was broadcast. "Guest Analyst" refers to the kishi who provided commentary during the broadcast. "No. of moves" refers to the total number of moves played in the game.[k]
A total of 18 games were played in round 1. Play began on April 3, 2011 and ended on July 31, 2011. The 18 preliminary tournament winners were paired against 18 seeded players.
|No.||Block||Sente||Gote[l]||No. of moves||Date||Guest Analyst|
|1||B||Taichi Nakamura 5d||Ayumu Matsu 7d||108||April 3, 2011||Manabu Senzaki 8d|
|2||B||Yūsuke Tōyama 5d||Daisuke Suzuki 8d||85||April 10, 2011||Nobuyuki Yashiki 9d|
|3||A||Osamu Nakamura 9d||Kōta Kanai 5d||126||April 17, 2011||Takanori Hashimoto 7d|
|4||B||Masataka Sugimoto 7d||Yūsuke Ina 6d||157||April 24, 2011||Kenji Kobayashi 9d|
|5||A||Kōhei Funae 4d||Yasuaki Murayama 5d||80||May 1, 2011||Keita Inoue 9d|
|6||B||Amahiko Satō 6d||Masayuki Toyoshima 6d||102||May 8, 2011||Eiji Iijima 7d|
|7||A||Hiroki Nakata 8d||Shūji Muranaka 6d||110||May 15, 2011||Akira Shima 9d|
|8||A||Chikara Akutsu 7d||Yoshiyuki Kubota 6d||97||May 22, 2011||Ayumu Matsuo 7d|
|9||B||Tadao Kitajima 6d||Nobuyuki Yashiki 9d||115||May 29, 2011||Daisuke Nakagawa 8d|
|10||A||Takuya Nagase 5d||Yasumitsu Satō 9d||131||June 5, 2011||Daisuke Suzuki 8d|
|11||B||Kenjirō Abe 5d||Kōzō Arimori 7d||75||June 12, 2011||Takeshi Fujii 9d|
|12||A||Mamoru Hatakeyama 7d||Keiji Mori 9d||153||June 19, 2011||Yoshikazu Minami 9d|
|13||B||Kōichi Fukaura 9d||Akio Ishikawa 6d||130||June 26, 2011||Osamu Nakamura 9d|
|14||B||Hisashi Namekata 8d||Tatsuya Sugai 4d||120||July 3, 2011||Toshiaki Kubo 2 crown|
|15||A||Takahiro Toyokawa 7d||Hiroshi Kobayashi 7d||96||July 10, 2011||Takashi Abe 8d|
|16||A||Daisuke Katagami 6d||Makoto Tobe 6d||142||July 17, 2011||Akihito Hirose ōi|
|17||B||Mitsunori Makino 4d||Takayuki Yamasaki 7d||114||July 24, 2011||Mamoru Hatakeyama 7d|
|18||A||Akira Shima 9d||Tomomi Kai W3d||75||July 31, 2011||Chikara Akutsu 7d|
A total of 16 games were played in round 2. Play began on August 7, 2011 and ended on November 27, 2011. The 18 winners from round 1 were joined by the 14 players who had received round 1 byes.
|No.||Block||Sente||Gote||No. of moves||Date||Guest Analyst|
|1||B||Masayuki Toyoshima 6d||Akira Watanabe Ryūō||150||August 7, 2011||Yasumitsu Satō 9d|
|2||A||Shūji Muranaka 6d||Hiroyuki Miura 8d||102||August 14, 2011||Kazuki Kimura 8d|
|3||B||Tetsurō Itodani 5d||Tadao Kitajima 6d||126||August 21, 2011||Daisuke Katagami 6d|
|4||B||Ayumu Matsuo 7d||Masataka Sugimoto 7d||137||August 28, 2011||Masayuki Toyoshima 6d|
|5||A||Mamoru Hatakeyama 7d||Kōji Tanigawa 9d||115||September 4, 2011||Kunio Naitō 9d|
|6||B||Tatsuya Sugai 5d||Keita Inoue 9d||111||September 11, 2011||Akira Watanabe Ryūō|
|7||A||Masataka Gōda 9d||Kōta Kanai 5d||109||September 18, 2011||Taku Morishita 9d|
|8||B||Kōichi Fukaura 9d||Takeshi Fujii 9d||109||October 2, 2011||Toshiyuki Moriuchi Meijin [m]|
|9||B||Takayuki Yamasaki 7d||Toshiyuki Moriuchi Meijin||100||October 9, 2011||Kōji Tanigawa|
|10||A||Hiroshi Kobayashi 7d||Kazuki Kimura 8d||126||October 16, 2011||Takanori Hashimoto 7d|
|11||B||Toshiaki Kubo 2 crown||Yūsuke Tōyama 5d||69||October 23, 2011||Makoto Tobe 6d|
|12||A||Tadahisa Maruyama 9d||Akira Shima||115||October 30, 2011||Masataka Gōda 9d|
|13||A||Takuya Nagase 4d||Akihito Hirose 7d[n]||136||November 6, 2011||Yūsuke Tōyama 5d|
|14||A||Chikara Akutsu 7d||Yasuaki Murayama 5d||103||November 13, 2011||Hirotaka Nozuki 7d|
|15||A||Yoshiharu Habu NHK Cup||Makoto Tobe 6d||107||November 20, 2011||Manabu Senzaki 8d|
|16||B||Michio Takahashi 9d||Kenjirō Abe 5d||86||November 27, 2011||Nobuyuki Yashiki 9d|
Play began on December 4, 2011 and ended on January 29, 2012. Sugai, Kitajima and Akutsu were the only preliminary tournament winners make it as far as round 3. Kubo vs. Moriuchi (round 3, game 4) was the first pairing of major titleholders in the tournament.
|No.||Block||Sente||Gote||No. of moves||Date||Guest Analyst|
|1||B||Ayumu Matsuo 7d||Tadao Kitajima 6d||97||December 4, 2011||Takahiro Toyokawa 7d|
|2||A||Masataka Gōda 9d||Akihito Hirose 7d||103||December 11, 2011||Daisuke Suzuki 8d|
|3||A||Tadahisa Maruyama 9d||Kazuki Kimura 8d||104||December 18, 2011||Ayumu Matsuo 7d|
|4||B||Toshiaki Kubo 2 crown||Toshiyuki Moriuchi Meijin||109||December 25, 2011||Kunio Yonenaga Lifetime Kisei|
|5||B||Akira Watanabe Ryūō||Kenjirō Abe 5d||63||January 8, 2012||Kazuki Kimura 8d|
|6||A||Mamoru Hatakeyama 7d||Hiroyuki Miura 8d||67||January 15, 2012||Takayuki Yamasaki 7d|
|7||A||Yoshiharu Habu NHK Cup||Chikara Akutsu 7d||137||January 22, 2012||Taku Morishita 9d|
|8||B||Kōichi Fukaura 9d||Tatsuya Sugai 5d||148||January 29, 2012||Keita Inoue 9d|
The eight remaining players were paired off against each other with play beginning on February 5 and ending on February 26, 2012. The last remaining preliminary tournament winner (Sugai) was joined by three major titleholders (Habu, Watanabe, and Kubo), two Class A players (Kimura and Gōda) and two Class B1 players (Hatakeyama and Matsuo). Sugai's feat was even more impressive because he had only become a professional in April 2010, and this was his first time participating in the NHK Cup tournament.
|No.||Block||Sente||Gote||No. of moves||Date||Guest Analyst|
|1||B||Toshiaki Kubo 2 crown||Ayumu Matsuo 7d||101||February 5, 2012||Akihito Hirose 7d|
|2||A||Yoshiharu Habu NHK Cup||Masataka Gōda 9d||99||February 12, 2012||Kōichi Fukaura 9d|
|3||A||Kazuki Kimura 8d||Mamoru Hatakeyama 7d||114||February 19, 2012||Michio Takahashi 9d|
|4||B||Akira Watanabe Ryūō||Tatsuya Sugai 5d||93||February 26, 2012||Makoto Tobe 6d|
The two remaining players from each block with paired against each other to determine the respective block winners. The 1st semifinal game between Akira Watanabe Ryūō (sente) and Toshiaki Kubo 2 crown (gote) was broadcast on March 4, 2012. Watanabe won the game in 127 moves. The guest analyst was Kōji Tanigawa 9d. The 2nd semifinal game was between Mamoru Hatakeyama 7d (sente) and Yoshiharu Habu NHK Cup (gote). The game was broadcast on March 11, 2012 and won by Habu in 108 moves. The guest analyst was Osamu Nakamura 9d.
After 112 preliminary tournament games and 48 main tournament games involving 172 players, Yoshiharu Habu NHK Cup and Akira Watanabe Ryūō met in the final which was broadcast on March 18, 2012. Habu had won the tournament the previous three years (58th NHK Cup – 60th NHK Cup) and was riding a 19 NHK Cup game winning streak; Watanabe, on the other hand, was looking for his first NHK Cup championship to add to the major titles he had already won. A victory over Watanabe would also be Habu's tenth NHK Cup title overall, thus making him the first player to qualify for the title of "Lifetime NHK Cup Champion". The piece toss before the game resulted in Habu being sente and he won the game in 147 moves, thus becoming the 61st NHK Cup Champion、the first player to win the tournament 4 times in a row [o] and the first "Lifetime NHK Cup Champion". The guest analyst for the final match were Toshiyuki Moriuchi Meijin and the hosts were NHK announcer Taiga Sekiguchi and women's professional Rieko Yauchi. A radio broadcast of the final aired on March 20, 2012. The host was NHK announcer Nobuo Murakami and the guest analysts were Kunio Yonenaga Lifetime Kisei, Kōji Tanigawa 9d and Takanori Hashimoto 8d.
The game score and a diagram showing the final position is given below.
Sente: Yoshiharu Habu NHK Cup
Gote: Akira Watanabe Ryūō
1.P-7f, 2. P-8d, 3. S-6h, 4. P-3d, 5. P-6f, 6. S-6b, 7. P-5f, 8. P-5d, 9. S-4h, 10. P-4b, 11. G-5h, 12. G-3b, 13. G-7h, 14. K-4a, 15. K-6i, 16. G-5b, 17. S-7g, 18. S-3c, 19. B-7i, 20. B-3a, 21. P-3f, 22. P-4d, 23 G5h-6g, 24. P-7c, 25. S-3g, 26. B-6d, 27. B-6h, 28. G5b-4c, 29. K-7i, 30. K-3a, 31. K-8h, 32. K-2b, 33. S-4f, 34. S-5c, 35. N-3g, 36. P-9d, 37. P-1f, 38. P-1d, 39. P-2f, 40. B-7c, 41. R-3h, 42. S-2d, 43. L-1h, 44. P-9e, 45. P-6e, 46. P-8e, 47. N-2e, 48. S-4b, 49. P-3e, 50. Sx3e, 51. Sx3e, 52. Px3e, 53. P-1e, 54. S*3g, 55. R-3i, 56. Px1e, 57. P-6d, 58. Bx6d, 59. Lx1e, 60. Lx1e, 61. S*6e, 62. Sx2f+, 63. Sx6d, 64. Px6d, 65. Rx3e, 66. S*2d, 67. N-1c+, 68. Nx1c, 69. P*1d, 70. Sx3e, 71. Bx3e, 72. P*1b, 73. Px1c+, 74. Px1c, 75. B*7a, 76. +S-2e, 77. B3ex4d, 78. Gx4d, 79. Bx4d+, 80. S-3c, 81. +B-7a, 82. R-4b, 83. P*3d, 84. Sx3d, 85. N*4f, 86. R*3i, 87. S*4h, 88. R-3f+, 89. +Bx8a, 90. P*4e, 91. Nx3d, 92. +Rx3d, 93. +Bx9a, 94. P-8f, 95. +Bx6d, 96. Px8g+, 97. Kx8g, 98. P*8e, 99. K-8h, 100. N*8f, 101. G7h-6h, 102. P-9f, 103. P*3e, 104. +Sx3e, 105. P*3f, 106. +Sx3f, 107. L*3i, 108. N*9e, 109. N*2f 110. +R-3e 111. Sx8f, 112. R-6b, 113. Sx9e, 114. Rx6d, 115. Lx3f, 116. +Rx3f, 117. S*4d, 118. P-1d, 119. N*3d, 120. K-1b, 121. S*3c, 122. L*8f, 123. Sx8f, 124. Px8f, 125. N*2d, 126. Px2d, 127. Sx3b, 128. P-8g+, 129. Kx8g, 130. L*8a, 131. P*8d, 132. Lx8d, 133. P*8e, 134. Rx6g+, 135. Gx6g, 136. Lx8e+, 137. Kx9f, 138. G*8f, 139. K-9e, 140. B*7c, 141. G*8d, 142. P*9d, 143. Kx9d, 144. B*7b, 145. L*8c, 146. P*9c, 147. Gx9c gote resigns (diagram)
The final tournament bracket is shown below.
- Sente won 29 (almost 60%) of the 49 games.
- The average number of moves per main tournament game was 106. The most moves played in a single game was 157 (Rd. 1, Sugimoto 7d vs. Ina 6d) while the fewest number of moves played was 63 (Rd. 3, Watanabe Ryūō vs. Abe 5d).
- There were no replays resulting from repetition (千日手 sennichite?) or impasse (持将棋 jishōgi?), and there were no disqualifications due to illegal moves or time forfeits.
- The age breakdown (age at start of the tournament) for the players who qualified was as follows: 10–19 years old, 2 players; 20–29 years old, 15 players; 30–39 years old, 14 players; 40–49 years old, 17 players; 50–59 years old, 1 player; 60 years old or older, 1 player. The oldest player was Keiji Mori 9d (64 years old) and the youngest players were Tatsuya Sugai 4d and Takuya Nagase 4d (both 18 years old).[p]
- For only the second time in the history of a tournament, a "student" was paired against their "teacher" when Tatsuya Sugai played Keita Inoue in Rd. 2. [q] The only other time this had occurred to date was when Daisuke Nakagawa beat his teacher Kunio Yonenaga in quarterfinals of the 45th NHK Cup (1995).
- The word kishi refers to shogi players officially awarded professional status by the JSA. Only amateurs strong enough to join and graduate from the JSA's "apprentice professional training school" (奨励会 shōreikai?) are awarded kishi status and the rank of professional 4 dan.
- Women's professionals are recognized by the JSA, but they are only granted kishi status upon completion of the shōrekai. To date, there have been women (including some currently active women's professionals) who have successfully qualified for the shōreikai, but so far not one has successfully graduated. Only three women have made it as far as 1 dan in the shōreikai and of those three only one has made it as far as 3 dan.
- At the time there were only five women's major titles: the Women's Meijin, the Women's ōshō, the Women's ōi, the Kurashiki Tōka, and the Mynavi Women's Open. The Women's ōza was not established until October 2011.
- The Japanese character 冠 means "crown" and is commonly used as an honorific suffix attached to the names of multiple major titleholders. Therefore, "3 crown" (三冠 sankan?) means that the player currently holds three major titles. Players holding only one major title are commonly referred to by their title. Non major titleholders are referred to by their rank (dan).
- Kai actually lost her Mynavi Open title to Hatsumi Ueda in May 2011.
- "W3d" stands for "Women's professional 3 dan". Women's professionals are ranked differently than regular professionals (kishi) by the JSA. The strongest women's professionals are considered to be roughly equivalent to 1 dan or 2 dan apprentice professionals in playing strength.
- Kubo held both the Kiō and ōshō when the tournament bracket was finalized.
- Players overlapping multiple categories are only listed once.
- The other major titleholders at the end of the previous year were Habu (Meijin, ōza, and Kisei), and Watanabe (Ryūō)
- Based upon JSA 2010 calendar year rankings in the following three categories: games played, games won, and winning percentage.
- Unlike in chess where moves are numbered in pairs, moves in shogi numbered individually so a game that lasts 51 moves means that sente made 26 moves and gote made 25 moves.
- Gote (後手?) refers to "the player who moves second".
- Moriuchi defeated the reigning Meijin Habu four games to three to become the 69th Meijin in June 2011.
- Hirose lost his ōi title to Habu four games to three in September 2011.
- No other player has won the tournament more than twice in a row and only two other players besides Habu (Yasumitsu Satō and Yasuharu Oyama) have defended their title and repeated as champion
- Nagase was born in September 1992, and Sugai was born in April 1992
- A young amateur player aspiring to become a professional typically asks a more experienced professional to formally become their sponsor (i.e., teacher/mentor) and help them through the process. In some cases, the "student" may even decide to go live with their "teacher" and family.
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