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Shogi 30 January 2017

“I’m glad to have Shogi!” – Five Stories –

Nae Kanamoto

I asked five people of different professions to tell about what the good things to have Shogi in their lives.
Today’s article is a kind of a collection of five “testimonies” to proof the benefits of Shogi.
You will find a lot of good things in playing Shogi among their stories.

1. “You are never too old to play Shogi”: Natsume-san, a satellite Shogi-reporter.

There are many good things about playing Shogi, but first of all, I have to go with the fact that we can enjoy Shogi at any age. I went to a Shogi practice hall when I was a student. There were all age groups to enjoy Shogi together. As you know, when it comes to a ball game, such as soccer or baseball, it is usually difficult to play a game with people much older than you. But, it is not a case for Shogi.

Now, I am completely matured and have reached the age where I once called very senior. What I have in mind now is that I should have participated in Shogi club as school club activities. Actually, I went to a Shogi practice hall, but didn’t take part in club activities during my school days.

Recently, at Shogi tournaments and events, I have had chances to meet old friends who also enjoy Shogi, and to have quality time with them, talking about Shogi. We can easily go back to the old days. If I had participated in Shogi club as school club activities, I could have more friends to share the same memories and experiences of Shogi. This is the reason why I regret that I didn’t play Shogi as club activities.

Shogi is for all ages. This is the biggest charm of Shogi, I think.

.2. “Treasured friends”: Mayumi-san, a clinical nurse.

Mayumi-san is attending at a Shogi team tournament with friends, wearing Kimono.
Mayumi-san is attending at a Shogi team tournament with friends, wearing Kimono.

I originally liked board games over all. My father taught me how to move Shogi pieces. This experience made me start Shogi, however I seldom won a game and gradually kept away it.

An unexpected event brought me back to Shogi; that was the entry to a Shogi team tournament for beginners.
Until then, I regarded Shogi as a game to “compel” players to endure loneliness, since it is a game between individuals. Contrary to my perception, Shogi team competition of five players was something completely different. In a team competition, even though you lose a game, the team will win as a whole when your teammates can win their games. Also, when your team loses a game as a whole, several players would lose their games. You don’t need to take all responsibilities for the result. It is encouraging situation, isn’t it?

You need to make steady efforts to improve your Shogi skills, solving Shogi problems every day, playing on the PC, and so on. Knowing you are not alone and you are in a team, you can keep making steady efforts.

That is a way I got hooked on Shogi team competitions. I am enjoying Shogi much more than I used to. I am also enjoying small talk with friends about other than Shogi: “Why don’t we wear Kimono at the next tournament?” and “yada yada yada.”

3. “ Expand my network”: Tanaka-san, an office worker.

After I graduated schools, it seems my network has been restricted to relationships in business. I noticed that I hardly ever socialized off the job.
I hit on an idea to restart Shogi for the first time in 20 years and as a result I expanded good personal relationships with Shogi lovers and instructors. I really appreciate that I have them. I remember that I built many good relationships and made a lot of friends through Shogi.

I am a bit worrying about that my children are into smartphone games and don’t interact with friends much. I know that computer or online Shogi is popular now, however I would like to introduce children the appeal of Shogi, an interpersonal game.

4. “Children’s growth”: Iguchi-san, a Shogi instructor.

Mr. Iguchi is teaching Shogi to children.
Mr. Iguchi is teaching Shogi to children.

I run some Shogi lesson classes for children. What I am truly glad to have this job is that I can observe the process of children’s growth. Since my classes are for beginners, we don’t have children who are far more skillful than adults or pursue the goal of being a professional. My students’ words that I always listen to are very sweet and encouraging, like “Finally, now I am a better player than Father and Mother” or “I won two games in the previous tournament.” Those words make me delighted.

Children’s growths are not measured by their Shogi skills, but their attitudes tell a lot about their growth. For example, it’s observed that restless children often restore calm in enjoying Shogi sincerely and quietly after attending my class several times. I believe children grow up mentally with Shogi, as well.

Thanks to Shogi, I am given wonderful opportunities to watch and feel many types of children’s growth. Evoking feelings for parents, their growth is the most joyful occasions.

5. “Useful for office communication”: Otake-san, a company owner.

I started to play Shogi in earnest in my twenties. I got a job with a small company of 30 employees or so. There were not a few Shogi players and our company president was the best with Shodan (first dan level; the lowest rank in dan ranks). Given a 2-piece handicap where the handicap giver removes his/her rook and bishop from the initial position, nevertheless, I didn’t stand a chance of beating him. I remember that just after joining the company, I had to play Shogi with a senior involuntarily and was always beaten one-sidedly with his special skills, Bou Gin (Climbing Silver; one of the attacking strategy where one’s silver advances along his rook’s file, trying to break the opponent’s front), and Naka Bisha (Central Rook; a swinging rook strategy where the rook is swung to the 5th file and used in the attack).
To be honest, I felt it was a bit difficult to deal with the senior at the first. However, as we shared time to play Shogi together, I gradually developed a relationship with him.

Several years passed, my Shogi skills improved more than a bit and we welcomed a new employee. He also played and liked Shogi very much, clipping Shogi articles every day to prepare for the next game. We often went to a Shogi practice hall together.
Since he was really a nice guy, I felt very sorry when he went back to his hometown to take over his family business. In retrospect, it was valuable for conducting business tasks together to build up trusting relationships not only with seniors, but also with juniors.

How do you think about today’s article to introduce different viewpoints toward Shogi from different standpoints? I have introduced five comments today, but not only five I got. I got more; “I made a friend over a long distance,” “I have mastered the learning method that could apply for things in our lives,” or “Shogi can refresh me.” Their comments reassure me that Shogi is a quite wonderful game to provide a lot of good points to us.

We are introducing charms of Shogi in our blogs. I do hope that you take time off for them!

この記事の執筆者Nae Kanamoto

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