Akira Watanabe (shogi)

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Akira Watanabe
Akira Watanabe.jpg
Native name 渡辺明
Born (1984-04-23) April 23, 1984 (age 34)
Hometown Katsushika
Nationality Japanese
Career
Achieved professional status April 1, 2000 ( 2000 -04-01) (aged 15)
Badge Number 235
Rank 9 dan
Teacher Kazuharu Shoshi
Current titles held Kiō
Lifetime titles
Major titles won 19
Tournaments won 9
Meijin class B1
Ryūō class 1
Websites
JSA profile page
Official website

Akira Watanabe (渡辺 明, Watanabe Akira, born April 23, 1984) is a Japanese professional shogi player, ranked 9-dan. He is the current Kiō title holder and a Lifetime Kiō who won the title five times. He is also a Lifetime Ryūō who won the title eleven times.

Early life[edit]

Watanabe was born on April 23, 1984, in Katsushika, Tokyo.[1] He learned how to play shogi from his father, who was an amateur 5-dan ranked player.[2][3] He won the Elementary School Student Meijin Tournament (ja) in 1994 as a fourth-grade student at Hokizuka Elementary School.[4] He was the first fourth-grade winner in the history of the tournament.[3]

That same year Watanabe took the entrance exam for the Japan Shogi Association's apprentice school. Part of his test was a game against future female professional Sayuri Takabe (ja), who was member of the apprentice school at the time. The entire game was played at an extremely fast pace, with Watanabe winning in less than two minutes.[3] Watanabe passed the entrance exam and entered the Apprentice School as a 6-kyū protegee of shogi professional Kazuharu Shoshi.[1]

Shogi professional[edit]

Watanabe was promoted to the rank of professional 4-dan on April 1, 2000 at the age of 15 after winning the 26th 3-dan league (October 1999 to March 2000) with a record of 13 wins and 5 losses, thus becoming the fourth junior high school student after Hifumi Katō, Kōji Tanigawa and Yoshiharu Habu to become a shogi professional.[5]

Watanabe made his first appearance in a major title match in October 2003 when he challenged Habu for the Ōza title. Watanabe led the match 2 games to 1 before Habu won the last two games to defend his title.[6] Even though he lost the match, Watanabe was called "The man who made Habu shake" (羽生を震えさせた男 habu wo furuesaseta otoko) because Habu's hand visibly shook when making the winning move during the deciding fifth game.[2][3]

In December 2004, Watanabe won his first major title when he defeated the defending Ryūō title holder Toshiyuki Moriuchi 4 games to 3. Moriuchi was also the reigning Meijin and Ōshō title holder at the time. Watanabe was 20 years 8 months old at the time, thus making him the third youngest major title holder ever.[2][7]

In 2005, Watanabe defended his Ryūō title for the first time when he defeated challenger Kazuki Kimura 4 games to 0. As a result, Watanabe became the youngest person ever to be promoted to the rank of 9-dan at the age of twenty-one years and seven months.[3]

In March 2007, Watanabe defeated computer shogi program Bonanza to win the first JSA-sanctioned game between a computer shogi program and a top shogi professional. Bonanza was the reigning World Computer Shogi Champion, while Watanabe was the reigning Ryūō title holder.[8]

Watanabe became the first person to qualify for the Lifetime Ryūō title in December 2008 after winning the title for the fifth consecutive time. He defeated Habu (the reigning Meijin, Ōza, Ōshō, and Kisei title holder) 4 games to 3 to win the 21st Ryūō title match. Habu won the first three games, but Watanabe came back to win the final four to defend his title, and become the first player ever to win a 7-game major title match after losing the first three games. The match was billed as the "Winner Becomes the First Lifetime Ryūō Match" because a win by Habu would have been his seventh Ryūō title overall, thus making him the first Lifetime Ryūō.[9][10][11]

In 2011, Watanabe challenged Toshiaki Kubo for the 36th Kiō title, but lost the match 3 games to 1.[12] Two years later in 2013, Watanabe challenged Masataka Gōda for the 38th Kio title. Watanabe defeated Gōda to not only win his first Kiō title, but also to become only the eighth player in history to become a "3-crown": a player who simultaneously holds three major titles.[13] Watanabe successfully defended his Kiō title in 2014 against Hiroyuki Miura,[14] in 2015 against Habu,[15] in 2016 against Amahiko Satō[16] and in 2017 against Shōta Chida.[17] Watanabe's victory over Chida was his fifth consecutive over all, making him only the second player ever to qualify for the Lifetime Kiō title.[18]

In 2012–2013, Watanabe won the 62nd Ōshō Challenger League tournament with a record of 6 wins and 0 losses to advance to the title match against Yasumitsu Satō.[19] In the title match, Watanabe defeated Satō 4 games to 1 to win the Osho title for the first time.[20] The following year, Watanabe faced challenger Habu in the 63rd Ōshō title match, and successfully defended his title by the score of 4 games to 3.[21] Watanabe, however, was unable to defend his title for a second consecutive year when he lost the 64th Ōshō title in seven games to challenger Gōda.[22]

Personal life[edit]

In May 2004, Watanabe married Megumi Ina and the couple's eldest was born during the summer that same year. Ina is the younger sister of shogi professional Yūsuke Ina and is also a mangaka. The couple met when Ina was an apprentice female shogi professional and became friends due to their shared interest in tsumeshogi.[23][24][25]

Watanabe is a fan of Keiba as well as professional soccer, even traveling to overseas to attend games. He obtained a class 4 soccer referee license because of his son's interest the game and has served as head referee at some elementary school games.[23][26][27] Watanabe also started the Japan Shogi Association's futsal club.[28]

Promotion history[edit]

The promotion history for Watanabe is as follows:[29]

  • 1994: 6-kyū
  • 1997: 1-dan
  • 2000, April 1: 4-dan
  • 2003, April 1: 5-dan
  • 2004, October 1: 6-dan
  • 2005, October 1: 7-dan
  • 2005, November 17: 8-dan
  • 2005, November 30: 9-dan

Titles and other championships[edit]

Watanabe has appeared in major title matches a total of 27 times. He has won the Ryūō title 11 times and the Kiō 5 times, thus qualifying for the Lifetime Ryūō and Lifetime Kiō titles. He has also won the Ōshō twice and the Ōza title once.[30] In addition to major titles, Watanabe has won 9 other shogi championships during his career.[31]

Major titles[edit]

Title Years Number of times overall
Ryūō 2004–12, 2015–16 11
Kiō 2012–17 (current) 6
Ōshō 2012–13 2
Ōza 2011 1

Other championships[edit]

Tournament Years Number of times
Ginga-sen (ja) 2005, 2007, 2011, 2014 4
NHK Cup 2012 1
*Daiwa Securities Strongest Player Cup (ja) 2008 1
Asahi Cup Open (ja) 2012 1
JT Nihon Series (ja) 2014 1
Shinjin-Oh (ja) 2005 1

Note: Tournaments marked with an asterisk (*) are no longer held.

Awards and honors[edit]

Watanabe has received a number of Japan Shogi Association Annual Shogi Awards throughout his career. He has received the "Best New Player" award (2002), the "Player of the Year" award (2012), the "Excellent Player" award (2005, 2008, 2010–11, 2015), the "Game of the Year" award (2008, 2011–12, 2015), the "Fighting-spirit" award (2003, 2006), the "Most Games Won" award (2005), the "Most Games Played" award (2010) and the "Distinguished Service" award (2004).[32]

Year-end prize money and game fee ranking[edit]

Watanabe has finished in the "Top 10" of the JSA's year-end prize money and game fee rankings (ja) each year since 2004, and in the "Top 3" eleven out of the past thirteen years. He was the top money winner in 2013 and 2017.

Year Amount Rank
2004 ¥24,420,000 6th[33]
2005 ¥61,940,000 3rd[34]
2006 ¥56,540,000 4th[34]
2007 ¥80,320,000 2nd[35]
2008 ¥62,520,000 2nd[36]
2009 ¥56,050,000 2nd[37]
2010 ¥62,400,000 2nd[38]
2011 ¥83,650,000 2nd[39]
2012 ¥71,970,000 2nd[40]
2013 ¥102,550,000 1st[41]
2014 ¥66,840,000 3rd[42]
2015 ¥45,770,000 3rd[43]
2016 ¥73,900,000 2nd[44]
2017 ¥75,340,000 1st[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Kishi Dētabēsu: Watanabe Akira" 棋士データベース: 渡辺明 [Professional Shogi Player Database: Akira Watanabe] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Shin-Ryūō ni Hatachi no Watanabe Rokudan Sanbanme no Nenshō Kiroku" 新竜王に20歳の渡辺六段 3番目の年少記録 [New Ryuo 20-year-old Watanabe 6-dan, 3rd youngest ever to win a major title]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). December 28, 2014. Archived from the original on December 29, 2004. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Geneki Purō Kishi DētaBukku 2016 [Ge] Ta-Wa Gyō 現役プロ棋士データブック2016 [下] た-わ行 [2016 Active Shogi Professional Databook [Last volume] Letter "Ta" to letter "Wa"] (in Japanese). MyNabi Publishing/Japan Shogi Association. 2015. p. 70. ASIN B019SSNKVA. Retrieved November 3, 2017 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Shōgakusei Shōgi Meijinsen Rekidai Yūshōsha Ichiran" 小学生将棋名人戦 歴代優勝者一覧 [Elementary School Student Meijin Tournament: List of Winners] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Shōgi Taitorusen Sanjūnenshi 1998-2013 将棋タイトル戦30年史 1998~2013年編 [30 Year History of Shogi Major Title Matches: Years 1998-2013] (in Japanese). MyNabi Publishing/Japan Shogi Association. 2014. p. 87. ISBN 978-4-8399-5097-2. Retrieved November 2, 2017 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Dai Gojuikki Ōzasen" 第51期王座戦 [51st Oza Title Match] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  7. ^ "Taitoru Kakutoku no Neshō Kiroku" タイトル獲得の年少記録 [All-time Youngest Major Title Winners] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. December 2004. Archived from the original on January 12, 2005. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "Computer no match for the king of 'shogi'". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. March 22, 2007. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Dai Nijūikki Ryūōsen ... Watanabe Ryūō, Bōei. "Eisei Ryūō" no Shikaku wo Kakutoku" 第21期竜王戦 ... 渡辺竜王, 防衛。「永世竜王」の資格を獲得。 [21st Ryūō Tournament ... Watanabe Ryūō defends title. Qualifies for "Lifetime Ryūō" title.] (in Japanese). Igo & Shogi Channel. December 19, 2008. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "Dai Nijūikki Ryūōsen: Nanaban Shōbū" 第21期竜王戦:七番勝負 [21st Ryūō Title Match] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. 2008. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  11. ^ "Habu Nikan ga Ryūō Chōsensha ni "Eisei Nakakan" Mezasu" 羽生二冠が竜王挑戦者に 「永世七冠」 目指す [Habu 2-crown becomes challenger for Ryūō title, aims to become the first "Lifetime 7-crown"]. Sports Hochi (in Japanese). September 8, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. 羽生二冠は2008年, 渡辺竜王を相手に「勝った方が初代永世竜王」というシリーズを戦い, 開幕3連勝を飾りながら4連敗で喫した [Habu 2-crown was also the challenger to Watanabe Ryūō in 2008 in a match which was billed as the "Winner becomes the First Lifetime Ryūō" match. Habu won the first three games, but lost the next four.]
  12. ^ "Kubo Kiō ga Sanrenpa, Watanabe Ryūō Kudasu, Shōgi・Dai Sanjūroku Kiōsen" 久保棋王が3連覇, 渡辺竜王下す 将棋・第36期棋王戦 [36th Kiō Match: Kubo Kiō defeats Watanabe Ryūō to hold title for 3rd consecutive year.]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). March 18, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  13. ^ "Watanabe ōshō ga Shijō Hachininme Sankan! Kiōi Dasshu, Sangatsu dake de Nikan" 渡辺王将が史上8人目3冠! 棋王位奪取, 3月だけで2冠 [Watanabe ōshō captures the Kiō title to become only the 8th professional ever to simultaneously hold 3 or more major titles! Captures two major titles in March alone]. Sports Nippon (in Japanese). March 25, 2013. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "Watanabe Kiō ga Hatsubōei, Sanrenshō de Miura Kudan Kudasu: Kiōsen" 渡辺棋王が初防衛, 3連勝で三浦九段下す 棋王戦 [Watanabe Kiō successfully defends title for the first time. Defeats Miura 9-dan by winning 3 straight games.]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). March 16, 2014. Archived from the original on March 16, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "Kiōsen, Watanabe ga Sanrenshō de Sanrenpa, Habu Yonkan o Attō" 棋王戦, 渡辺が3連勝で3連覇 羽生4冠を圧倒 [Watanabe crushes Habu 4-crown by winning three games in a row to hold Kiō title for the third consecutive year.]. Hokkaido Shimbun (in Japanese). March 8, 2015. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  16. ^ "Kiōsen, Watanabe Kiō ga Yonrenpa" 棋王戦, 渡辺棋王が4連覇 [Watanabe wins Kiō for 4th consecutive year]. Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). March 21, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  17. ^ Yamamura, Hideki (March 27, 2017). "Watanabe Gorenpa, Eisei Kiō ni Ryuō to Nikan Iji" 渡辺5連覇, 永世棋王に 竜王と2冠維持 [Watanabe wins fifth in a row to become a Lifetime Kiō and continues to simultaneously hold two major titles]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  18. ^ "Watanabe Gorenpa, Eisei Kiō Habu ni Tsuzuki Futarime" 渡辺5連覇, 永世棋王 羽生に続き2人目 [Watanabe Wins for 5th consencutive time to become the second Lifetime Kiō (the first was Yoshiharu Habu)]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). March 28, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  19. ^ "Dai Rokujūniki Ōshōsen Chōsensha Kettei Rīgusen" 第62期王将戦 挑戦者決定リーグ戦 [62nd Ōshō Challenger League] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  20. ^ "Dai Gokyoku, Watanabe Ryūō ga Ōshō Hatsudasshu, Nikan ni" 第5局, 渡辺竜王が王将初奪取, 2冠に [Watanabe Ryu-oh wins Game 5 to capture Osho title for the first time and become a 2-crown]. Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). March 7, 2013. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  21. ^ Fukamatsu, Shinji (March 27, 2014). "Watanabe Ōshō ga Hatsubōei Shogi Ōshōsen, Habu Sankan Shirizokeru" 渡辺王将が初防衛 将棋王将戦, 羽生三冠退ける [Shogi Ōshō Match: Watanabe Ōshō defends title for first time, defeats Habu 3-crown]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). Archived from the original on April 1, 2013. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "Ōshōsen, Gōda Kudan ga Saishūkyoku Sesshi Hatsu Dasshu" 王将戦, 郷田九段が最終局制し初奪取 [Osho Match: Goda 9 dan wins final game to capture title for the first time]. Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Geneki Purō Kishi DētaBukku 2016 [Ge] Ta-Wa Gyō 現役プロ棋士データブック2016 [下] た-わ行 [2016 Active Shogi Professional Databook [Last volume] Letter "Ta" to letter "Wa"] (in Japanese). MyNabi Publishing/Japan Shogi Association. 2015. p. 71. ASIN B019SSNKVA. Retrieved November 3, 2017 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ "Mangaka・Ina Megumi-san: Jyō Sakkā, Chichi to Ko Tsunaida" 漫画家・伊奈めぐみさん:上 サッカー, 父と子つないだ [Mangaka Megumi Ina: Soccer, the connection between father and son]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). September 30, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017. (Subscription required (help)).
  25. ^ "Iwai! Watanabe Akira Godan, Gokekkon!!" 祝! 渡辺明五段, ご結婚!! [Congratulations! Akira Watanabe 5-dan Gets Married] (in Japanese). Igo-Shogi Channel. May 3, 2004. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  26. ^ Watanabe, Akira (June 9, 2013). "Shinpan" 審判 [Referee]. Akira Watanabe Official Blog (in Japanese). Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  27. ^ "Supesharu Taidan: Hato Yasuhiro-san Tai Watanabe Akira Kiō" スペシャル対談: 波戸康広さん X 渡辺明棋王 [Special talk: Yasuhiro Hato and Akira Watanabe Kiō]. Shogi World (in Japanese). September 2015. p. 13. ASIN B010BX1G9O. Retrieved November 3, 2017 – via Google Books.
  28. ^ Ishikawa, Go (June 16, 2016). "Zendaimimon!? Kishi ni Yoru Futtosaru Taikai wo Namachūkei" 前代未聞!? 棋士によるフットサル大会を生中継 [Unprecedented!? Live broadcast of shogi professional futsal competition]. Soccer King (in Japanese). Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  29. ^ "Kishi Dētabēsu: Watanabe Akira Shōdan Rireki" 棋士データベース: 渡辺明 昇段履歴 [Professional Shogi Player Database: Akira Watanabe Promotion History] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  30. ^ "Kishi Dētabēsu: Watanabe Akira Taitoru Rireki" 棋士データベース: 渡辺明 タイトル履歴 [Professional Shogi Player Database: Akira Watanabe Major Title History] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  31. ^ "Kishi Dētabēsu: Watanabe Akira Yūshō Rireki" 棋士データベース: 渡辺明 優勝履歴 [Professional Shogi Player Database: Akira Watanabe Championship History] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  32. ^ "Kishi Dētabēsu: Watanabe Akira Shōgi Taishō" 棋士データベース: 渡辺明 将棋大賞 [Professional Shogi Player Database: Akira Watanabe Annual Shogi Awards] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  33. ^ "Nenkan Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō TOP10" 年間獲得賞金・対局料TOP10 [Annual Prize Money/Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Kishi-mania. Archived from the original on May 23, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  34. ^ a b "2006nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 20" 2006年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト20 [2006 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 20] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. March 1, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  35. ^ "2007nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 20" 2007年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト20 [2007 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 20] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. March 1, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  36. ^ "2008nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 20" 2008年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト20 [2008 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 20] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. March 2, 2009. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  37. ^ "2009nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 20" 2009年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト20 [2009 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 20] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. March 5, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  38. ^ "2010nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 20" 2010年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト20 [2010 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 20] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 16, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  39. ^ "2011nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 20" 2012年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト20 [2011 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 20] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 16, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  40. ^ "2012nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 10" 2011年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10 [2012 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 18, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  41. ^ "2013nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 10" 2013年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10 [2013 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 7, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  42. ^ "2014nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 10" 2014年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10 [2014 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 3, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  43. ^ "2015nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 10" 2015年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10 [2015 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 5, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  44. ^ "2016nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 10" 2016年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10 [2016 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 3, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  45. ^ "2017nen Kakutoku Shōkin - Taikyokuryō Besuto 10" 2017年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10 [2017 Prize Money/Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Japan Shogi Association. February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018.

External links[edit]