I-tsu-tsu Co. Ltd.

Shogi 2 March 2018

“Ladies Professional Shogi Player and Her Mother” Vol. 2 Ms. Shinobu Iwane (Female 3-Dan)

Nae Kanamoto

Background for this special series on ladies professional Shogi players.

We, i-tsu-tsu, work on disseminating Japanese traditional culture, mostly Shogi.

As part of our efforts, we are going to post a series of articles written by five ladies professional Shogi players in a relay system. All of them started to learn Shogi from their childhood. From their own experiences, they talk to you about the charm and fun of Shogi, or memories with their mothers. Hopefully, the stories will help more children and mothers to start or to become interested in Shogi.

Today, we are going to present the second article by Ms. Shinobu Iwane who has a Third Dan.

We would like to express our appreciation to Ms. Iwane for making time in her busy schedule to write this article.

Mate problem, or Tsume-Shogi, which is filled with my mother’s love.

A picture of Ms. Iwane in her childhood. Those days, she enjoyed solving mate problems that her mother brought back.
A picture of Ms. Iwane in her childhood. Those days, she enjoyed solving mate problems that her mother brought back.

I was introduced to Shogi when I was a first-grade student. I went to an after-school child care center every school day. There were two teachers and 30 students. Most of parents had a job, so children stayed there from Monday to Saturday, until around 17:30 pm. Basically, children were free to do whatever they liked. I played a lot; on rainy days I played outside, then on sunny days I played indoors including playing Shogi.

Nobody taught us Shogi. Instead, we just followed the instruction on the wall. We applied an inaccurate rule to play a game, so it took me a long time to learn the accurate rule of Ni-Fu (a restriction of two Pawns, Fu, on the same file).

I was the one who said, “I would love to do Shogi more!”. My mother did her legwork in searching places where I was able to learn it. Unfortunately, since we didn’t have convenient devices like Internet, things didn’t go smoothly.

Meanwhile, Mom gave me a piece of paper which contained a newspaper article of mate problems. At the first glimpse, I said proudly, “This will be completed in four moves”, because I didn’t understand the correct rule of mate problem under which the problems can’t be solved with even number of movements. Since then, Mom gave me it every day.

To me, mate problems were just like to put a puzzle together. Inspiration that I gained from them was exciting. Without realizing, I was absolutely enthralled by Shogi. Mom was always with me and encouraged me. When I completed a problem, she praised me with a warm smile. We smile at each other, which was my precious moment. These daily casual lives are the warmest memory of my dear mother. Whenever I am stuck, I bring to my mind these memories to motivate myself.

She didn’t support me because she hoped that I would become strong or professional. Rather she did support me because she simply let me have my own way. She has never said nothing about the game result. She always receives me with a lovely smile whether I win or lose a game. Recently I got to know her real intention to do so. That is based on her belief: The person who does things has to be responsible for all done by this person. I really appreciate that she did everything she could and make a preferable way for my life.

Now, I have three sons; ten years old, eight years old, and four years old. The eldest and the second boys have played tennis and they are getting more opportunities to play at a tournament. I have found that playing tennis has something in common with playing Shogi. That is to consider opponent’s next move. I also realize how difficult it is not to say anything that doesn’t need to be said. Inadvertently, I often feel like to say something. I think I should trust their coach and leave all to him, and then do everything I can, just like my mother.

Who is the next?

In this special series, “Ladies Professional Shogi Player and Her Mother”, at the end of each article, the writer will give you a clue for the next writer.

The following is the clue from Ms. Murota:
You might probably see her on TV commercial! She is very cheerful and like our big sister in Osaka.

Guess who?

この記事の執筆者Nae Kanamoto

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