The Shogi Champions

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 It is not surprising to learn that the best Shogi players are Japanese. There are professional players in Japan, rated up to the maximum of 9th dan. The most acclaimed players are awarded the historical title of Meijin, Grand Master. The competitions are annual tournaments and the most famous are called the "Seven Crowns".

Caution : according to Japanese habit, family name is given first.


 The Meijin was historically a lifetime title held by one person for each generation. The first has been Sokei Ohashi who founded the first school of Shogi and fixed the modern rules. In 1935, the title became annual (see below). The title of Lifetime Meijin is now officially awarded only upon retirement for the achievement of, at least, 5 annual Meijin titles. (text from Wikipedia).

The Lifetime Meijins are :

1

Sokei I Ohashi

1555-1634

 

11

Soin III Ito

1826-1893

2

Soko Ohashi

1576-1654

 

12

Ono Gohei

1831-1921

3

Sokan I Ito

1618-1694

 

13

Sekine Kinjiro

1868-1946

4

Sokei III Ohashi

1636-1713

 

14

Kimura Yoshio

1905-1986

5

Soin I Ito

1667-1723

 

15

Oyama Yasuharu

1923-1992

6

Soyo II Ohashi

1648-1728

 

16

Nakahara Makoto

1947-

7

Sokan II Ito

1706-1761

 

17

Tanigawa Koji

1962-

8

Sokei VI Ohashi

1744-1799

 

18

Moriuchi Toshiyuki

1970-

9

Soei I Ohashi

1756-1809

 

19

Habu Yoshiharu

1970-

10

Sokan III Ito

1768-1843

 

 

 

 

Nakahara, Tanigawa, Moriuchi and Habu will become 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Meijin respectively when they will retire.


 The "Seven Crowns" are :
  • Ryûô (Dragon-King) : restarted in 1988 as the biggest title.
  • Meijin (Grand Master) : reformed to win by competition since 1937.
  • Kisei (Shogi Saint) : established in 1962 as a bi-annual title. Reformed as a yearly title in 1995.
  • Ôi (Crown) : established in 1960.
  • Kiô (Shogi King) : officially established in 1974. Only title to adopt the repechage rule in tournament.
  • Ôza (Throne) : established in 1953 but title is officially approved since 1983.
  • Ôsho (King) : officially established in 1950.

 

 

Ryu-O

Meijin

Kisei

Oi

Kio

Oza

Osho

1937

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

 

1940

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

 

1942

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

 

1947

 

Tsukada

 

 

 

 

 

1948

 

Tsukada

 

 

 

 

 

1949

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

 

1950

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

(Kimura)

1951

 

Kimura

 

 

 

 

Masuda

1952

 

Oyama

 

 

 

 

Oyama

1953

 

Oyama

 

 

 

 

Oyama

1954

 

Oyama

 

 

 

 

Oyama

1955

 

Oyama

 

 

 

 

Masuda

1956

 

Oyama

 

 

 

 

Masuda

1957

 

Masuda

 

 

 

 

Oyama

1958

 

Masuda

 

 

 

 

Oyama

1959

 

Oyama

 

 

 

 

Oyama

1960

 

Oyama

 

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1961

 

Oyama

 

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1962

 

Oyama

Oyama

Oyama

 

 

Futakami

1963

 

Oyama

Oyama
Oyama

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1964

 

Oyama

Oyama
Oyama

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1965

 

Oyama

Oyama
Oyama

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1966

 

Oyama

Futakami
Oyama

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1967

 

Oyama

Yamada
Yamada

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1968

 

Oyama

Nakahara
Nakahara

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1969

 

Oyama

Nakahara
Naito

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1970

 

Oyama

Oyama
Nakahara

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1971

 

Oyama

Nakahara
Nakahara

Oyama

 

 

Oyama

1972

 

Nakahara

Ariyoshi
Yonenaga 

Naito

 

 

Nakahara

1973

 

Nakahara

Naito
Oyama

Nakahara

 

 

Nakahara

1974

 

Nakahara

Oyama
Oyama

Nakahara

(Naito)

 

Nakahara

1975

 

Nakahara

Oyama
Oyama

Nakahara

Ouchi

 

Nakahara

1976

 

Nakahara

Oyama
Oyama

Nakahara

Kato

 

Nakahara

1977

 

Nakahara

Oyama
Nakahara

Nakahara

Kato

 

Nakahara

1978

 

Nakahara

Nakahara
Nakahara

Nakahara

Yonenaga

 

Kato

1979

 

Nakahara

Nakahara
Nakahara

Yonenaga

Yonenaga

 

Oyama

1980

 

Nakahara

Yonenaga
Futakami

Nakahara

Yonenaga

 

Oyama

1981

 

Nakahara

Futakami
Futakami

Nakahara

Yonenaga

 

Oyama

1982

 

Kato

Mori
Nakahara

Naito

Yonenaga

 

Yonenaga

1983

 

Tanigawa

Moriyasu
Yonenaga

Takahashi

Yonenaga

Nakahara

Yonenaga

1984

 

Tanigawa

Yonenaga
Yonenaga

Kato

Kiriyama

Nakahara

Nakahara

1985

 

Nakahara

Yonenaga
Yonenaga

Takahashi

Tanigawa

Nakahara

Nakamura

1986

 

Nakahara

Kiriyama
Kiriyama

Takahashi

Takahashi

Nakahara

Nakamura

1987

 

Nakahara

Kiriyama
Minami

Tanigawa

Tanigawa

Tsukada

Minami

1988

Shima

Tanigawa

Tanaka
Nakahara

Mori

Minami

Nakahara

Minami

1989

Habu

Tanigawa

Nakahara
Nakahara

Tanigawa

Minami

Nakahara

Yonenaga

1990

Tanigawa

Nakahara

Yashiki
Yashiki

Tanigawa

Habu

Tanigawa

Minami

1991

Tanigawa

Nakahara

Minami
Tanigawa

Tanigawa

Habu

Fukusaki

Tanigawa

1992

Habu

Nakahara

Tanigawa
Tanigawa

Goda

Habu

Habu

Tanigawa

1993

Sato

Yonenaga

Habu
Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

Tanigawa

1994

Habu

Habu

Habu
Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

Tanigawa

1995

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

1996

Tanigawa

Habu

Miura

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

1997

Tanigawa

Tanigawa

Yashiki

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

1998

Fujii

Sato

Goda

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

1999

Fujii

Sato

Tanigawa

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

2000

Fujii

Maruyama

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

2001

Habu

Maruyama

Goda

Habu

Habu

Habu

Sato

2002

Habu

Moriuchi

Sato

Tanigawa

Maruyama

Habu

Habu

2003

Moriuchi

Habu

Sato

Tanigawa

Tanigawa

Habu

Moriuchi

2004

Watanabe

Moriuchi

Sato

Habu

Habu

Habu

Habu

2005

Watanabe

Moriuchi

Sato

Habu

Moriuchi

Habu

Habu

2006

Watanabe

Moriuchi

Sato

Habu

Sato

Habu

Habu

2007

Watanabe

Moriuchi

Sato

Fukaura

Sato

Habu

Habu

2008

Watanabe

Habu

Habu

Fukaura

Kubo

Habu

Habu

2009

Watanabe

Habu

Habu

Fukaura

Kubo

Habu

Kubo

2010

Watanabe

Habu

Habu

Hirose

Kubo

Habu

Kubo

2011

Watanabe

Moriuchi

Habu

Habu

Goda

Watanabe

Sato

2012

Watanabe

Moriuchi

Habu

Habu

Watanabe

Habu

Watanabe

2013

Moriuchi

Moriuchi

Habu

Habu

March 2014

Habu

March 2014

2014

Nov. 2014

June 2014

Juky 2014

Aug. 2014

 

Oct. 2014

 

 

Ryû-Ô

Meijin

Kisei

Ôi

Kiô

Ôza

Ôshô

Remark : the final game of Kio and Osho of the year are played at the beginning of the following year. For example, Habu completed the seven 1995 Crowns, but he actually hold them after winning the 45th Osho match in 1996.

More information on Reijer Grimbergen's Shogi page.

Hall of Fame :


Oyama Yasuharu (1923-1992): 15th Lifetime Meijin, Honored Permanent title holder of Kisei, Osho and 10-dan. Nick-named "Ironman", he won the Meijin title 18 times.


Nakahara Makoto: born 1947, 9th dan in 1973, will be the 16th Lifetime Meijin. Youngest Meijin ever (1972, age:24). More than 1000 career victories.


 Tanigawa Koji: born 1962, 9th dan in 1984, will be the 17th Lifetime Meijin. More than 800 career victories.


Habu Yoshiharu: born 1970, 9th dan in 1994, yougest title holder ever (Ryuo 1989, age: 19), first ever 6 crowns holder (1994), first ever 7 crown holder (1995).
Currently, considered as the best Shogi player of the World.


Maruyama Tadahisa: born 1970, 9th dan in June 2000.


Sato Yasumistu: born 1969, 9th dan in 1998.


Fujii Takeshi: born 1970, 9th dan since 2000.


Moriuchi Toshiyuki: born 1970, 9th dan in May 2002 and 2002 Meijin.


Goda Masataka: born 1971, 9th dan since 2001.

 
Watanabe Akira: born 1984, Ryu-O since 2004, jumped from 6th to 9th dan in only 2 months in 2005!


Kubo Toshiaki : born 1975, 9th dan since 2010. 

 

 

 


 Women also have their prestigious titles:
  • Joryu Meijin
  • Joryu Osho
  • Joryu Oi
  • Kurashiki Toka

Shimuzu Ichiyo is the best woman player of Japan (and the rest of the world as well !)

 

Meijin

Osho

Oi

Kurashiki Toka

1996

 

 

Shimuzu Ichiyo

 

1997

Shimuzu Ichiyo

Haruko Saita

Yauchi Rieko

Shimuzu Ichiyo

1998

Shimuzu Ichiyo

Shimuzu Ichiyo

Shimuzu Ichiyo

Shimuzu Ichiyo

1999

Shimuzu Ichiyo

Sachio Ishibashi

Shimuzu Ichiyo

Shimuzu Ichiyo

2000

Nakai Hiroe

Shimuzu Ichiyo

Shimuzu Ichiyo

 

2001

Saita Haruko

 

 

 

 


International Amateur Competitions

Some attempts have been made to settle competitions outside Japan. Of course, they are amateur events. Three competitions have been organized with competitors coming from all over the world.

First International Shogi Tournament : held in Tokyo, June 1999 with 32 players representing 27 countries. Winner was Takahiro Hayashi (Japan, 6th dan) beating Larry Kaufman (USA).

Shogi World Championship : held in New York, May 2000 with 20 players representing 263 players who disputed the qualifying tournaments in 20 countries. The so-called title is quarreled by some players. Winner was Katsumasa Egoshi (Brazil) beating Chiaki Ito (Thailand).

MSO Worldwide Championship : organized as a part of the Mind Sport Olympiad 2000 Shogi Festival in London, August 2000 with 82 players from 14 countries. Winner was Ayumu Sato (Japan) beating Chiaki Ito (Thailand). Also held in the same festival was the 16th European Championship won by Tony Hosking (England). 

European Shogi Championship is organized since 1990. Worldwide Open Shogi Championship is organized in parallel since 2000.

 

 

Location

ESC

WOSC

1990

Frankfurt, D

David Murphy (UK)

 

1991

Ramsgate, UK

Stephen Lamb (UK)

 

1992

London, UK

Reijer Grimbergen (NL)

 

1993

The Hague, NL

Arend Van Oosten (NL)

 

1994

Brussels, B

Takahara Shuji (J)

 

1995

Brussels, B

Reijer Grimbergen (NL)

 

1996

Brussels, B

Arend Van Oosten (NL)

 

1997

Brussels, B

Miyamoto Toyokazu (J)

 

1998

Leiden, NL

Boris Mirnik (D)

 

1999

Leiden, NL

Arend Van Oosten (NL)

 

2000

London, UK

Tony Hosking (UK)

Sato Ayumu (J)

2001

London, UK

Frédéric Pottier (F)

Ishii Yutaka (J)

2002

Brussels, B

Boris Mirnik (D)

Boris Mirnik (D)

2003

Oeckeroe, SW

Uemura Yoshiyuki (J)

Uemura Yoshiyuki (J)

2004

Pullach, D

Kikuta Yuji (J)

Sera Tsukasa (J)

2005

Pardubice, CZ

Artem Kolomiyets (Ukr)

Sera Tsukasa (J)

2006

Colmar, F

Arend Van Oosten (NL)

Kikuta Yuji (J)

2007

Pardubice, CZ

Victor Zapara (Rus)

Boris Mirnik (D)

2008

Pardubice, CZ

Artem Kolomiyets (Ukr)

Artem Kolomiyets (Ukr)

2009

Stockholm, SW

Jean Fortin (F)

Karl Wartlick (D)

2010

Debrecen, HUN

Jean Fortin (F)

Takahashi Kimio (J)

2011

Ludwigshafen, D

Jean Fortin (F)

Kawato Makoto (J)

2012

Cracow, PL

Thomas Leiter (D)

Utsunomiya Yasuhiko (J)

 

click to enlarge
Habu discovering L'Odyssée des Jeux d'échecs (Jean-Louis Cazaux), presented by Alexis Beuve (Praxeo edition) and
 Fabien Osmont (President of French Shogi Federation, FFS), Rueil Malmaison, 2011, Oct. 28
(
Photo Praxeo)

11/01/2014