Shogi world brightened by rise of brilliant young star, 4th-dan Fujii
無限の可能性 infinite possibilities
〜の）手ほどきを受ける be taught rudiments of
〜に昇格する be promoted to
希望の星 rising star
〜は無理もない it is no wonder that ...
力をつける improve one's skills
The winning streak achieved by an extraordinarily gifted professional shogi player who is only 14 years old makes people feel he has infinite possibilities ahead of him.
Since turning professional in October last year, fourth-dan Sota Fujii, a junior high school student, has continued to win, so far scoring 14 successive wins in officially sanctioned matches. He has easily broken the record for consecutive wins, which previously stood at 10. Fujii’s skills are said to already compare with those of a top-notch professional player.
Fujii encountered shogi when he was taught the rudiments of the game, at the age of 5, by his grandmother. The boy attended a shogi class, and when he was a fourth-grade elementary school student, he enrolled at Shoreikai, a professional shogi player training institution.
At the age of 14 years 2 months, Fujii was promoted to fourth-dan, thereby becoming a professional. He thus set a new record for turning pro at the youngest age, which had been unbroken for 62 years. The previous record was held by ninth-dan Hifumi Kato, who had been called “the greatest genius since the dawn of our nation’s history.”
Ninth-dan Kato, along with ninth-dan Koji Tanigawa, and Yoshiharu Habu, who holds three titles, as well as the Ryuo title holder Akira Watanabe, are all shogi players who turned pro during their junior high school days. They constitute the whole list of such players who achieved the elite status.
Shogi circles have seen a rise in the game’s popularity every time a new star emerges. In recent years, the shogi-playing population has remained nearly unchanged at about 10 million. It is no wonder that expectations are running high for fourth-dan Fujii as a rising star.
Fujii’s strength in the final phase of a match can be illustrated by the fact that he has so far achieved three consecutive wins in championships to determine Japan’s top “tsume shogi” problem solver. He is also increasingly sharp in deciding where to move in the initial and middle phases of a match, too. He has defeated triple titleholder Habu in an unsanctioned match, too.
We hope Fujii will further hone his playing style that is well-balanced in both attack and defense.
（The Yomiuri Shimbunより）