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Eight Crown Shogi Master Sota Fujii Reaches New Record with 20th Consecutive Win

On February 8, the 21-year-old Fujii achieved another milestone in his status as the undisputed champion of the Reiwa generation, before losing on February 10.



Shogi King Sota Fujii holds a press conference the morning after defending his third consecutive title by defeating challenger Tatsuya Sugai, 8-dan, in the fourth round of the Osho Tournament Seven Matches. February 9, in Tachikawa City, Tokyo. (© Sankei by Kanata Iwasaki)

Already the holder of eight crowns, Sota Fujii (21) set a new record in the shogi world on February 8. The champion won his 20th consecutive title match in the fourth round of the 73rd ALSOK Cup Osho Tournament. Mainichi Shimbun and Sports Nippon Shimbun hosted the two-day event from February 7-8 in Tachikawa. 

Fujii currently holds the Kisei, Ryuo, Meijin, Oza, Eio, Kio, Oi, and Osho titles. This new milestone follows his domination of these eight major titles in 2023. With this latest victory, his status as the undisputed champion of the Reiwa generation continues unabated. 

Reigning Osho champion Sota Fujii reflects after winning the fourth game in the best-of-seven series against challenger 8th dan Tatsuya Sugai. February 8, 2024 in Tachikawa City, Tokyo (© Sankei by Ikue Mio).

Fujii's Latest Achievement

On the evening of February 8, eighth-dan-ranked Tatsuya Sugai (31), a member of the furibisha (Ranging Rook) school, conceded defeat. Bowing to his opponent, Fujii, he declared, "I have lost." This marks Fujii's third successful defense of his Osho title. 

Sugai proved a troublesome opponent for Fujii in the Eio Tournament of 2023. As a result, many expected the Osho Tournament match to be close. However, it was a resounding victory for Fujii.

A mid-ranked player explained. He said, "Fujii has played against Sugai in the Eio Tournament and A-level ranking competitions. I'm sure he's become accustomed to Sugai's furibisha style." He also noted that Fujii's research and preparation had paid off. "The Osho Tournament is a two-day event with a longer time limit," he explained. "Fujii had plenty of time to ponder his moves." 

In his 19 consecutive title wins, 15th Meijin Yasuharu Oyama occasionally had to play full sets before sealing his victories. By contrast, Fujii has only ever had to play a full set once. That was to win the 2021 Eio title. This is an indication of his underlying strength. 

Sota Fujii, with 8 crowns, plays against Takuya Nagase 9-dan (right) in the Asahi Cup Shogi Open Tournament final on February 10. (© Sankei by Kazuya Kamogawa)

It's Not All Wins

Sugai was unable to hide his frustration. Commenting on his loss, he said: "I made too many errors. I need to make a big change, whether that means devising new furibisha techniques or changing the way I play."

After his first title defense this year, Fujii shared his thoughts on the game. "I was able to ease into the game by rolling out the silver generals and knights," he reflected. 

On the significance of his twentieth consecutive victory, Fujii admitted, "I really wasn't thinking about it (during the match). With the Kio tournament now underway, he said, "I'd like to just focus on moving forward. I don't want to get hung up on how many title matches I've won." 


However, on February 10, Fujii lost to ninth-dan Takuya Nagase (31) in the final of the 17th Asahi Cup Open Shogi Tournament. The event was held in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. This loss marked the fifth time and second consecutive year that Fujii failed to win the tournament. It was also Nagase's first time to win the tournament. 

Fujii also commented on his defeat. "I thought it would be close, but [my game] fell apart at the end, which is a shame." 


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun

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