NHK Cup (shogi)

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The NHK Cup, or as it is officially known the NHK Cup TV Shogi Tournament (NHK杯テレビ将棋トーナメント, enu eichi kei hai terebi shōgi tōnamento)[1] is a professional shogi tournament organized by the Japan Shogi Association and sponsored by Japan's public broadcaster NHK.[2]

History[edit]

Formerly known as the NHK Cup Competition Shogi Tournament (NHK杯争奪将棋トーナメント, enu eichi kei hai sōdatsu tōnamento), the 1st NHK Cup was held in 1951 with eight professional shogi players. The winner was Yoshio Kimura, who held the Meijin title at the time. Prior to 1962, the tournament was broadcast only on the radio, but starting with the 12th NHK Cup (1962), the tournament moved to television.[3] The 26th NHK Cup (1976) was the first to be broadcast in color.[4]

Up until and including the 15th NHK Cup (1965), only Class A professionals were allowed to participate. When the number of players was increased from 8 to 16 for the 16th NHK Cup (1966), the tournament became open to other professionals as well. The number of players was increased again from 16 to 26 for the 27th NHK Cup (1977) and to its current level of 50 for the 31st NHK Cup (1981). In addition, the preliminary tournaments also started with the 31st NHK Cup.

Female professionals were allowed to participate for the first time in the 43rd NHK Cup (1993). Hiroe Nakai was the first woman to participate in the tournament. To commemorate of tournament's 60th anniversary, the number of players was increased to 51 players for the 60th NHK Cup (2010) to allow a second female professional to participate.[5] The number of players returned to 50 for the 61st NHK Cup (2011).

Although tournament games are typically recorded in advance in a closed studio for broadcast at a later date, the final of the 45th NHK Cup (1995) was the first to be held before a studio audience. This was repeated again for the final of the 49th NHK Cup (1999). The final for the 57th NHK Cup (2007) was the first to be broadcast live.

To commemorate the tournament's 50th anniversary, the final of the 50th NHK Cup (2000) was held at the Kansai Shogi Kaikan. This was the first time that a final was held outside of Tokyo.

The tournament returned to radio in 2010, when the final of 60th NHK Cup was also broadcast on the NHK Radio 1.[6] The finals for both the 61st and 62nd NHK Cups were also broadcast on NHK Radio 1.[7][8] In addition, each tournament game can also be viewed online for a short period of time after it has been broadcast and for a small fee using the NHK On Demand service.[9] This video-on-demand (VOD) service, however, was only available to those living in Japan.[10] In April 2014, NHK discontinued this service for the 64th NHK Cup.[11]

Format[edit]

The tournament is actually made up of two parts: the main tournament, and preliminary tournaments. The main tournament is a 6-round single elimination tournament in which 50 players (divided into two 25-player blocks: "Block A" and "Block B") compete for the title of "NHK Cup Champion". The first 4 rounds determine the four players who will meet in the two semifinals to determine the winner of each block; The two block winners then meet in the final to determine the overall tournament winner. All of the games played in the main tournament are televised.[3]

Participants[edit]

A total of 50 players compete in the main tournament: 49 male professionals and 1 female professional.[12] Of the 50 players, 32 are seeded and 18 are preliminary tournament winners.[3] Seeded players are determined based upon their results as of December 31 of the previous year. The criteria for selecting seeded players are as follows:[13]

  1. The winner, runner-up and two losing semifinalists from the previous year's tournament. (These players are guaranteed not to be paired with each other until the semifinal round (round 5))
  2. Current titleholders of the eight major titles main titles: Meijin, Ryūō, Kiō, ōshō, ōza, ōi, Kisei and Eiou [ja]
  3. Lifetime title holders or those who have qualified for such titles (including "Lifetime NHK Cup champions") and players in either Class A or Class B1.
  4. Winners of other tournaments during the previous year.
  5. One female professional
  6. Players who had performed at an exceptionally high level during the previous year. Typically, these are players who ranked at the top in terms of the number of games played, number of games won, and winning percentage on the JSA's year end ranking of players. (The actual number varies depending upon the number of players selected according to Nos. 1 through 4 above)

Among the seeded players, fourteen are directly seeded into round 2 and, thus, only need to win five games to win the tournament. These include the defending NHK Cup Champion, the previous year's runner-up, the previous year's other two semifinalists, and all of the players in Class A as of December 31 of the previous year. Occasionally other players are also seeded into round 2 in order to complete the fourteen if necessary; This often happens when one or more of the Class A players is also one of the previous year's tournament's semifinalists or a reigning major title holder.

Professionals who do not qualify as one of the aforementioned seeds must win a preliminary tournament in order to advance to the main tournament. The tournaments are held at the Tokyo Shogi Kaikan and Kansai Shogi Kaikan. The preliminary tournaments are one-day tournaments open and, depending upon the number of players playing (typically seven to eight players per tournament), the winner must win either two or three consecutive games to win the tournament.[3]

Brackets[edit]

The preliminaries and the main tournament use a bracket system. The main tournament consists of six round. In Round 1, there are nine games played in each bracket and the winners of those games advance. In Round 2, there are eight games played in each bracket and the winners advance. In Round 3, the remaining eight players in each bracket compete for the right to advance to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinalists then play each other for a spot in the semifinals; and finally, the last four players face each other for a spot in the final. A total of 47 games are played in a tournament; However, this may end up being more if there are any games replayed because they ended in sennichite or impasse.

Time controls[edit]

The NHK Cup is a "quick play" (早指し, hayazashi) tournament with time controls that are quite short in comparison to those of the major shogi titles. The entire game usually lasts no more than ninety minutes whereas a major title game often spans two days, and a single move can take hours. An analog chess clock is used to keep track of each player's first time control. Unlike professional chess tournaments, professional shogi players do not have to manage their own clocks or keep the game score. An official "game score keeper" (記録係, kiroku gakari), typically a shōreikai member, keeps the official record of the game and keeps track of each player's time.[a] In addition to the official game score keeper, there is also an "official game score reader" (棋譜読み上げ, kifū yomiage) who announces each move after it is played as well as the total number of moves played and the final result once the game has finished. The official game score reader for main tournament games is typically a women's professional.

Preliminary tournaments[edit]

The first time control (持ち時間, mochi jikan) is 20 minutes per player followed by a byōyomi time control of 30 seconds per move. A player in byōyomi who fails to make their move within 30 seconds loses the game. The remaining seconds of byōyomi are counted down by the official game score keeper.[15]

Main tournament (televised games)[edit]

The first time control is 10 minutes per player. Once this 10 minutes has been used up, a second time control of 10 one-minute periods of "thinking time" (考慮時間, kōryō jikan) starts.[b] When a player has used up all of their thinking time periods, a final byōyomi time control of 30 seconds per move begins.[15][16] The official game score keeper counts down the remaining seconds of a thinking time period, announces when a player has used up one of these periods as well as the number of periods remaining, and counts down the remaining seconds of the byōyomi time control.

Tournament records[edit]

  • Most tournament championships: Yoshiharu Habu, 11[17]
  • Youngest player to win a championship: Yoshiharu Habu, 18 years old, 38th NHK Cup (1988)[3]
  • Oldest player to win a championship: Yasuharu Ōyama, 61 years old, 30th NHK Cup (1980)
  • Lowest ranked player to win championship: Yōichi Kushida, 4 dan, 39th NHK Cup (1989)
  • Most consecutive championships: Yoshiharu Habu, 4, the 58th to 61st NHK Cups (2008 to 2011)
  • Oldest player to win a tournament game: Yūzō Maruta won his round 1 game of the 42nd NHK Cup (1992) at the age of 73.
  • Oldest player to qualify for the tournament: Michio Ariyoshi qualified for the 60th NHK Cup (2010) at the age of 75. He lost his first-round game.
  • Longest period between championships: 12 years, Hifumi Katō won the 43rd NHK Cup (1993) 12 years after winning the 31st NHK Cup (1981)
  • Fewest moves: 39, Tetsurō Itodani 5 dan (Black) vs. Tadahisa Maruyama 9 dan (White), semifinals 60th NHK Cup (2010), March 20, 2011[18]

Lifetime NHK Cup Champions[edit]

Players who win the tournament a total of 10 times qualify for the title "Lifetime NHK Cup Champion" and as such are granted a lifetime seed into all future NHK Cups. To date, only Yoshiharu Habu has qualified to be a Lifetime NHK Cup Champion[c] Habu has won the tournament a total of 10 times. The next closest is Yasuharu Ōyama (deceased) who won the tournament 8 times,[3] and the next closest currently active player is Hifumi Katō who has won the tournament 7 times.[3] Habu qualified for the title by beating Akira Watanabe to win the 61st NHK Cup (2011) on March 18, 2012.[19][20]

Past winners[edit]

The following is a list of the winners and runners-up for past NHK Cup TV Shogi Tournaments.[21][d] "No." refers to number of times the tournament had been held up until that time, and "year" refers to the year in which the tournament began.[e] The number in parentheses next to the winner's name is the number of times that they had won the tournament up until that point.[f]

No. Year Winner Runner-up
1 1951 Yoshio Kimura Kōzō Masuda
2 1952 Kōzō Masuda Yūzō Maruta
3 1953 Masao Tsukada Motoji Hanamura
4 1954 Yasuharu Ōyama Masao Tsukada
5 1955 Yasuharu Ōyama (2) Renshō Nada
6 1956 Yasuo Harada Renshō Nada
7 1957 Kōzō Masuda (2) Renshō Nada
8 1958 Renshō Nada Yasuharu Ōyama
9 1959 Yūzō Maruta Genichi Ōno
10 1960 Hifumi Katō Yasuharu Ōyama
11 1961 Yasuharu Ōyama (3) Hiroji Katō
12 1962 Renshō Nada (2) Kōzō Masuda
13 1963 Kōzō Masuda (3) Hifumi Katō
14 1964 Yasuharu Ōyama (4) Masao Tsukada
15 1965 Yūzō Maruta (2) Kōzō Masuda
16 1966 Hifumi Katō (2) Tatsuya Futagami
17 1967 Noboru Ōtomo Tatsuya Futagami
18 1968 Yūzō Maruta (3) Michiyoshi Yamada
19 1969 Kunio Naitō Shigeru Sekine
20 1970 Yasuharu Ōyama (5) Makoto Nakahara
21 1971 Hifumi Katō (3) Nobuyuki Ōuchi
22 1972 Yasuharu Ōyama (6) Kunio Yonenaga
23 1973 Hifumi Katō (4) Kunio Naitō
24 1974 Makoto Nakahara Kunio Naitō
25 1975 Nobuyuki Ōuchi Tatsuya Futagami
26 1976 Hifumi Katō (5) Kunio Yonenaga
27 1977 Makoto Nakahara (2) Hifumi Katō
28 1978 Kunio Yonenaga Kazuo Manabe
29 1979 Yasuharu Ōyama (7) Keiji Mori
30 1980 Michio Ariyoshi Makoto Nakahara
31 1981 Hifumi Katō (6) Hatasu Itō
32 1982 Makoto Nakahara (3) Teruichi Aono
33 1983 Yasuharu Ōyama (8) Hifumi Katō
34 1984 Torahiko Tanaka Hifumi Katō
No. Year Winner Runner-up
35 1985 Kōji Tanigawa Kunio Naitō
36 1986 Yūji Maeda Keiji Mori
37 1987 Makoto Nakahara (4) Osamu Nakamura
38 1988 Yoshiharu Habu Makoto Nakahara
39 1989 Yōichi Kushida Akira Shima
40 1990 Manabu Senzaki Yoshikazu Minami
41 1991 Yoshiharu Habu (2) Yasuaki Tsukada
42 1992 Makoto Nakahara (5) Akira Shima
43 1993 Hifumi Katō (7) Yasumitsu Satō
44 1994 Makoto Nakahara (6) Kunio Yonenaga
45 1995 Yoshiharu Habu (3) Daisuke Nakagawa
46 1996 Toshiyuki Moriuchi Nobuyuki Yashiki
47 1997 Yoshiharu Habu (4) Satoshi Murayama
48 1998 Yoshiharu Habu (5) Kazushiza Horiguchi
49 1999 Daisuke Suzuki Masataka Gōda
50 2000 Yoshiharu Habu (6) Toshiaki Kubo
51 2001 Toshiyuki Moriuchi (2)[22] Yasumitsu Satō
52 2002 Hiroyuki Miura Manabu Senzaki
53 2003 Toshiaki Kubo Yoshiharu Habu
54 2004 Takayuki Yamasaki Yoshiharu Habu
55 2005 Tadahisa Maruyama Akira Watanabe
56 2006 Yasumitsu Satō Toshiyuki Moriuchi
57 2007 Yasumitsu Satō (2) Daisuke Suzuki
58 2008 Yoshiharu Habu (7) Toshiyuki Moriuchi
59 2009 Yoshiharu Habu (8) Tetsurō Itodani
60 2010 Yoshiharu Habu (9) Tetsurō Itodani
61 2011 Yoshiharu Habu (10)[20] Akira Watanabe
62 2012 Akira Watanabe[23] Yoshiharu Habu
63 2013 Masataka Gōda[24] Tadahisa Maruyama
64 2014 Toshiyuki Moriuchi (3)[22] Hisashi Namekata
65 2015 Yasuaki Murayama[25] Shōta Chida
66 2016 Yasumitsu Satō (3)[26] Kazutoshi Satō
67 2017 Takayuki Yamasaki (2)[27] Akira Inaba
68 2018 Yoshiharu Habu (11)[28] Masataka Gōda

Female professionals[edit]

Female professionals have been participating in the tournament since the 43rd NHK Cup (1993). The following table shows those who have participated in the tournament over the years as well as their opponents and results.

No. Year Name Opponent Result
43 1993 Hiroe Nakai Manabu Senzaki 5d L
44 1994 Ichiyo Shimizu Shingo Hirafuji 4d L
45 1995 Ichiyo Shimizu Naruyuki Hatakeyama 5d L
46 1996 Ichiyo Shimizu Hiroki Iizuka 4d L
47 1997 Ichiyo Shimizu Kōichi Fukaura 5d L
48 1998 Ichiyo Shimizu Kensuke Kitahama 6d L
49 1999 Ichiyo Shimizu Akio Ishikawa 6d L[29]
50 2000 Hiroe Nakai Hirotaka Nozuki 4d L[30]
51 2001 Ichiyo Shimizu Naruyuki Hatakeyama 6d L[31]
52 2002 Ichiyo Shimizu Jun'ichi Kase 6d L[32]
53 2003 Hiroe Nakai Mamoru Hatakeyama 6d W[33][34]
Teruichi Aono 9d W[33][34]
Makoto Nakahara Lifetime 10d L[33][34]
54 2004 Hiroe Nakai Shūji Satō 6d W[35][36]
Yasumitsu Satō Kisei L[35][36]
55 2005 Ichiyo Shimizu Takeshi Kawakami 5d L[37][38]
56 2006 Ryoko Chiba Isao Nakata 7d L[39][40]
57 2007 Ryoko Chiba Kazutoshi Satō 4d L[41][42]
No. Year Name Opponent Result
58 2008 Ichiyo Shimizu Tetsurō Itodani 4d L[43][44]
59 2009 Rieko Yauchi Yōichi Kushida 6d L[45][46]
60 2010 Kana Satomi Hiroshi Kobayashi 6d L[5][47]
Ichiyo Shimizu Kazushiza Horiguchi 7d L[5][48]
61 2011 Tomomi Kai Akira Shima 9d L[49][50]
62 2012 Tomomi Kai Hirotaka Nozuki 7d L[51][52]
63 2013 Hatsumi Ueda Kazuhiro Nishikawa 4d L[53][54]
64 2014 Manao Kagawa Manabu Kumasaka 5d L[55][56]
65 2015 Tomomi Kai Tetsuya Fujimori 4d L[57]
66 2016 Momoko Katō Kazutoshi Satō 6d L[58]
67 2017 Momoko Katō Seiya Kondō 5d L[59]
68 2018 Momoko Katō Takuma Oikawa 6d W[60]
Toshiyuki Moriuchi 9d L[61]
69 2019 Kana Satomi Issei Takazaki 6d W[62]
Akira Inaba 8d L[63]

Note: "W" stands for "won" and "L" stands for "lost".

Preliminaries[edit]

From 2005 until 2015, the participating female professional was determined by a playoff between the reigning women's title holders;[3] however, the selection process was revised in 2016 for the 66th NHK Cup so that the female professional is now determined based upon the recommendation of the Japan Shogi Association.[64] The name of each year's qualifier is indicated in bold.

No. Year Name(s) Note
55 2005 Ichiyo Shimizu, Hiroe Nakai Shimizu (Women's Meijin, Women's ōi, Kurashiki Tōka), Nakai (Women's ōshō)[65]
56 2006 Ryoko Chiba [ja], Ichiyo Shimizu Chiba (Women's ōshō), Shimizu (Women's Meijin, Women's ōi, Kurashiki Tōka)[66]
57 2007 Ryoko Chiba, Ichiyo Shimizu,
Rieko Yauchi, Haruko Saida
Chiba (Women's ōshō), Shimizu (Women's ōi), Yauchi (Women's Meijin) and Saida (Kurashiki Tōka). Chiba beat Saida and Shimizu beat Yauchi in Rd. 1. Chiba then beat Shimizu in Rd. 2.[67]
58 2008 Ichiyo Shimizu, Rieko Yauchi,
Sachio Ishibashi
Shimizu (Women's ōshō, Kurashiki Tōka), Yauchi (Women's Meijin, Mynavi Open), Ishibashi (Women's ōi). Shimizu given bye and Yauchi beat Ishibashi in Rd. 1. Shimizu then beat Yauchi in Rd. 2.[68]
59 2009 Rieko Yauchi, Sachio Ishibashi,
Ichiyo Shimizu, Kana Satomi
Yauchi (Mynavi Open), Ishibashi (Women's ōi), Shimizu (Women's Meijin, Women's ōshō), Satomi (Kurashiki Tōka). Yauchi beat Shimizu and Ishibashi beat Satomi in Rd. 1. Yauchi then beat Ishibashi in Rd. 2.[69]
60 2010 Ichiyo Shimizu, Kana Satomi,
Rieko Yauchi
Shimizu (Women's ōi, Women's ōshō), Satomi (Women's Meijin, Kurashiki Tōka), Yauchi (Mynavi Open). Double-elimination tournament used since two spots available: Yauchi lost first game to Satomi and second game to Shimizu.[70]
61 2011 Tomomi Kai, Kana Satomi Kai (Women's ōi, Mynavi Open), Satomi (Women's Meijin, Women's ōshō, Kurashiki Tōka)[71]
62 2012 Tomomi Kai, Hatsumi Ueda Kai (Women's ōi), Ueda (Mynavi Open)[g]
63 2013 Hatsumi Ueda Ueda (Mynavi Open) [h]
64 2014 Manao Kagawa, Tomomi Kai Kagawa (Women's ōshō), Kai (Women's ōi, Kurashiki Tōka).[72][i]
65 2015 Tomomi Kai, Manao Kagawa Kai (Women's ōi, Kurashiki Tōka), Kagawa (Women's ōshō).[73][j]
66 2016 Momoko Katō Katō (Mynavi Open and Women's ōza).[58][74][k]
67 2017 Momoko Katō, Sae Itō, Yuki Muroya [ja], Manao Kagawa, Shinobu Iwane, Ichiyo Shimizu Katō (Mynavi Open) was the winner of a playoff tournament involving five other female professionals.[75][l]
68 2018 Momoko Katō, Sae Itō and Hatsumi Ueda Katō (Mynavi Open) was the winner of a playoff tournament involving two other female professionals.[77][78]
69 2019 Kana Satomi, Mana Watanabe, Tomoka Nishiyama A two-round qualifying tournament involving women major title holders Satomi (Women's Meijin, Kurashiki Tōka, Women's ōshō, Women's ōza), Watanabe (Women's ōi) and Nishiyama (Mynavi Open) was won by Satomi. Satomi given a bye, and Nishiyama defeated Watanabe in Rd. 1; Satomi then defeated Nishiyama in Rd. 2.[79]

Broadcasts[edit]

Television[edit]

The tournament lasts roughly one year from April to the following March. Tournament games are televised each Sunday from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm Japan Standard Time (JST) on NHK Educational TV (NHK-E)[1] and live commentary and analysis is provided by two commentators (shogi professionals): A women's professional who serves as the tournament's host and a professional who serves as the guest display board analyst.

The games are recorded in advance for broadcast at a later date. Before each game, the host briefly interviews each player and asks them about the upcoming game. The players typically sit across from each other seiza-style on zabutons placed on tatami mats in a Japanese-style room (the main studio set) while the two commentators stand before a display board in another studio. Although the player who moves first sits on the left (from the TV audience's perspective), the higher ranked player still takes the ōshō (king general) regardless of the result of the piece toss. Sitting parallel to board at a small table are the official time keeper and the official game score reader. Multiple cameras are used to provide overhead shots of the board, particularly when a player makes a move, wide shots or close-ups of both players when thinking and of the two commentators.[3] In addition, special single-character shogi pieces are used so that they can easily be seen by television audience. Once a game has finished, the two commentators join the two players on the main set and post-game analysis takes place broadcast time permitting.

Women's professionals began serving as tournament hosts for the 41st NHK Cup (1991) and usually serve in such a capacity for three tournaments (i.e., three years) before being replaced. The following table shows the hosts since 1991.

Nos. Years Host
41-43 1991-1993 Harue Tanikawa
44-46 1994-1996 Kumi Yamada
47-49 1997-1999 Natsuko Fujimori
50-52 2000-2002 Akiko Nakakura
53-55 2003-2005 Ryoko Chiba
Nos. Years Host
56-58 2006-2008 Hiromi Nakakura
59-63 2009-2013 Rieko Yauchi
64-65 2014-2015 Ichiyo Shimizu
66- 2016- Aya Fujita[80]
69- 2019- Aya Fujita and Momoko Nakamura[81]

The tournament final is hosted by an NHK announcer. The two finalists are joined in a separate studio by the NHK announcer, the tournament's women's professional host and a guest analyst (or analysts) for interviews and some small talk. Each of the finalists is asked to comment on their play throughout the tournament and the upcoming final. The women's professional host and the guest analyst(s) are also asked to give their impressions of tournament and thoughts on the final. Everyone gathers again in the same studio after the final has finished for the awards ceremony where a NHK executive presents the winner with the NHK Cup (trophy) and a certificate, and the runner-up with a certificate. The NHK announcer then conducts some final interviews, and briefly previews the next NHK Cup before the broadcast ends.

Radio[edit]

From the 1st NHK Cup (1951) until the 11th NHK Cup (1961), the tournament was exclusively broadcast on NHK Radio. The radio broadcasts stopped, however, once the tournament switched to television in 1962 for the 12th NHK Cup.[3]

The tournament returned to radio in 2011 when the final of the 60th NHK Cup was broadcast on NHK-1 Radio in honor of the 60th anniversary of the tournament. The program was hosted by an NHK announcer and commentary was provided by 3 professionals. NHK also created a website people could not only listen to the audio commentary, but could also follow the moves online. Even though the broadcast was not live, it proved to be fairly popular so NHK also did the same for the finals of both the 61st and 62nd NHK Cups as well. The player listed first was sente, and the winner's name is in bold.

No. Players Broadcast Date Host Analyst
60 Yoshiharu Habu vs. Testurō Itodani May 5, 2011 Nobuo Murakami Kunio Yonenaga, Akira Watanabe, Yasumitsu Satō
61 Yoshiharu Habu vs. Akira Watanabe March 20, 2012 Nobuo Murakami Kuni Yonenaga, Kōji Tanigawa, Takanori Hashimoto
62 Akira Watanabe vs. Yoshiharu Habu May 3, 2013 Taiga Sekiguchi Akira Shima, Kazuki Kimura, Takanori Hashimoto

Notable events[edit]

Habu beats four Meijins[edit]

In the 38th NHK Cup (1988), 18-year-old Yoshiharu Habu (at the time only a 5 dan), beat three former Meijin and the reigning Meijin in consecutive games on the way to his first NHK Cup championship. He defeated former Meijin Yasuharu Ōyama in Round 3, former Meijin Hifumi Katō in the quarterfinals, reigning Meijin Kōji Tanigawa in the semifinals and former Meijin Makoto Nakahara in the finals.[28][82][83]

Female professional wins [edit]

Hiroe Nakai became the first women's professional to win a NHK Cup game. She won her round 1 game of the 53rd NHK Cup (2003) against Mamoru Hatakeyama[33][34] and then in round 2 won against Teruichi Aono (who was in Class A at the time).[84] She lost in round 3 to Makoto Nakahara.[33][34] The following year Nakai also qualified for the 54th NHK Cup (2004) and continued her high level of play by beating Shūji Satō in round 1.[35][36] In round 2, Nakai faced Yasumitsu Satō who was the reigning Kisei title holder. Nakai obtained an advantageous position against Satō, but was unable to convert it into a win.[35][36]

Momoko Katō became the second female professional to win a NHK Cup game when she defeated Takuma Oikawa in Round 1 of the 68th NHK Cup on May 13, 2018.[60] The following year, Kana Satomi became the third female professional to win a NHK game when she defeated Issei Takazaki in Round 1 of the 69th NHK Cup on July 21, 2019.[62]

Same final four[edit]

The four semifinalists of the 59th NHK Cup (2009) were Yoshiharu Habu, Tetsurō Itodani, Tadahisa Maruyama and Akira Watanabe. Habu beat Maruyama in one semifinal and Itodani beat Watanabe in the other; Habu then beat Itodani in the final.[46][85] The next year in the 60th NHK Cup (2010), the same four players also made it to the semifinals. This time Habu beat Watanabe and Itodani beat Maruyama to make it to the finals where Habu once again beat Itodani to win the championship.[5][86]

Disqualifications[edit]

In Round 3 of the 46th NHK Cup (1996), Kenji Kobayashi lost on time to Nobuyuki Yashiki when he failed to complete his move within 30 seconds during byōyomi. Kobayashi picked up one of his pieces to make a move only to realize that said move would allow Yashiki to mate in one. Kobayashi tried to return the piece he was holding back to its original square and make a different move, but was unable to do so before the official time keeper for the game Hirotaka Nozuki (an appentice 3-dan at the time) had counted to 30 and the time is up buzzer sounded. This is the only time that a player has lost a NHK Cup game on time.[87]

Takahiro Toyokawa (6 dan at the time) in round 1 of the 54th NHK Cup (2004),[88] Ayumu Matsuo (5 dan at the time) in round 1 of the 55th NHK Cup (2005) and Takanori Hashimoto (8 dan at the time) in the semifinals of the 64th NHK Cup (2014)[89] each lost games for making an illegal move called nifu.[90]

Two sennichite[edit]

In the 61st NHK Cup (2011), the Round 1 game between Takuya Nagase (sente) and Yasumitsu Satō (gote) ended in sennichite. Sente and gote were switched and the game was replayed. The second game also ended in sen'nichite. Sente and gote were switched again and a third game was played between the two which Nagase won.[91][92]

Student vs. teacher[edit]

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. There have been two occasions in NHK Cup play where a student has played their teacher, and on both occasions the student won: Tatsuya Sugai beat Keita Inoue in round 2 of the 61st NHK Cup (2011) and Daisuke Nakagawa beat Kunio Yonenaga in quarterfinals of the 45th NHK Cup (1995).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The official game score keeper also performs the "piece toss" (振り駒, furigoma) prior to the game to determine the "player who moves first" (先手, sente).[14]
  2. ^ Each player is given 30 seconds to make a move. If a player makes a move within 30 seconds, no thinking time periods are used. If, however, the player takes more than 30 seconds to make a move, a thinking time period begins and the player will then have 1 minute (more specifically 59 seconds) to make a move before entering the next thinking time period. This process is repeated until the player has used all 10 thinking time periods.
  3. ^ Although lifetime titles in professional shogi are, in principle, only officially awarded to those who qualify upon their retirement or death, it is not usual for those still active to be referred to by their titles as a sign of respect. Unlike other lifetime titles, however, the Lifetime NHK Cup Champion title is officially awarded after qualification regardless of whether the player is still active.
  4. ^ Western order (first name, family name) is used for names. For the traditional Japanese naming order please see Japanese names in English and Western languages
  5. ^ The JSA does not, in general, use calendar years to identify its tournaments. It uses ordinal numbers and the counter words kai () or ki () instead to refer to a tournament by the number of "times" or "periods" it has been held to date. For example, the tournament that began in April 2013 and ended in March 2014, is officially referred to as the 63rd NHK Cup TV Shogi Tournament" because it was the 63rd time the tournament had been held. Winners of tournaments are referred to in a similar fashion, e.g., the winner of the 2013-2014 tournament is called the "63rd NHK Cup Champion".
  6. ^ For example, a "(2)" next to a winner's name means that this was the second time they won the tournament.
  7. ^ Remaining women's titleholders ineligible because they were apprentice professionals members: Kana Satomi 3-crown (Women's Meijin, Kurashiki Tōka, Women's ōshō) and Momoko Katō (Women's ōza).
  8. ^ Remaining women's titleholders ineligible because they were apprentice professionals members: Kana Satomi 4 Crown (Women's Meijin, Kurashiki Tōka, Women's ōshō, Women's ōi) and Momoko Katō (Women's ōza).
  9. ^ Remaining women's titleholder ineligible because she was a shōreikai member: Kana Satomi 3 Crown (Women's Meijin, Mynavi Open and Women's ōza)
  10. ^ Remaining women's titleholders ineligible because they were shōreikai members: Kana Satomi 3 Crown (Women's Meijin, Kurashiki Tōka, Women's ōshō, Women's ōi) and Momoko Katō (Mynavi Open and Women's ōza)
  11. ^ All of the major titles were held by two women: Katō and Kana Satomi 4 Crown (Women's Meijin, Kurashiki Tōka, Women's ōshō, Women's ōi) . Katō and Satomi are shōreikai members and in past years would have been ineligible to participate, but the method for determining the women's entry for the 66th NHK Cup was changed from playoff to Japan Shogi Association recommendation.
  12. ^ Katō was the only reigning title holder to participate in the playoff. Kana Satomi who holds the remaining five major titles elected not to participate. The other five female professional were all chalengers for major titles during 2016.[76]

References[edit]

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  85. ^ "Dai Gojūkyūkai NHKhai Terebi Tōnamento Tōnamentohyō" 第59回NHK杯テレビ将棋トーナメント トーナメント表 [59th NHK TV Shogi Tournament: Tournament Bracket (Final)] (in Japanese). NHK. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  86. ^ "Dai Rokujūkai NHKhai Terebi Tōnamento Tōnamentohyō" 第60回NHK杯テレビ将棋トーナメント トーナメント表 [60th NHK TV Shogi Tournament: Tournament Bracket (Final)] (in Japanese). NHK. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  87. ^ "Shōgikai Hapuningu Sono Ni" 将棋界ハプニング集 其の二 [Unexpected happenings in Shogi #2]. 将棋フォーカス [Shogi Focus] (in Japanese). July 5, 2015. Event occurs at 20:26. NHK Educational TV. Archived from the original on 2015-08-27. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  88. ^ "Shōgikai Hapuningu Shū" 将棋界ハプニング集 [Unexpected happenings in Shogi]. 将棋フォーカス [Shogi Focus] (in Japanese). November 23, 2014. Event occurs at 14:55. NHK Educational TV. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  89. ^ "Hashimoto Hachidan ga "Nifu", Irei no Hansokumake, Shōgi no NHKhai" 橋本八段が 「二歩」, 異例の反則負け 将棋のNHK杯 [Hashimoto 8d loss by disqualification an anomaly, plays the illegal move "Nifu" in the Shogi NHK Cup]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). March 8, 2015. Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  90. ^ "(NHKhai) Shōgi no Hashimoto Hachidan, Masaka no "Nifu" Hansokumake" (NHK杯) 将棋の橋本八段, まさかの 「二歩」 反則負け [(NHK Cup) Shogi's Hashimoto 8d, unbelievable "Nifu" loss by illegal move]. Sports Hochi (in Japanese). March 8, 2015. Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2018. ただ, 棋戦の準決勝という大舞台で起きることは極めて異例だ. NHK杯では2004年に豊川孝弘六段(当時)が, 05年には松尾歩五段(当時)が二歩による反則負けしているが, いずれも1回戦だった。[However, it's extremely unusual for such a thing to happen on such a big stage like the semifinals of a shogi tournament. To date in the NHK Cup, Takahiro Toyokawa (6-dan at the time) in 2004 and Ayumu Matsuo (5-dan at the time) both lost for playing the illegal move "Nifu", but each of those games were in the first round.]
  91. ^ "Dai Rokujūikkai NHKhai Ikkaisen Daijūkyoku Sennichite Sashinaoshikyoku (Ketteikyoku)" 第61回NHK杯1回戦第10局 千日手指し直し局 (決定局) [61st NHK Cup Round 1 Game 10: Sennichite Replay Game (Final Game)] (in Japanese). NHK. June 5, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  92. ^ 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. 14. ASIN B019SSNKVA. Retrieved July 18, 2018 – via Google Books.

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