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Shogi genius Habu gets record 1,434th victory

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At times when players think for an hour between moves, not to mention taking a full day or more to finish a game, has got to drive the commentators crazy. What tactical information can they discuss for that long, before getting into the default mode of speculation about the players' psychological states? That is why shogi, chess, dungeons and dragons, and other slow paced board games stay at an underground level.

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Not having much of an aptitude for chess-type games myself, I admire those like Habu who can play at such a high level over many years.

It's a great thing too that games still exist that don't sell out to the media/sportscast model. If shogi is indeed such a game, long may that situation continue. And I'd hardly describe Western-style chess as being at an "underground level".

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@BigYen--during the Cold War, chess by Fischer vs. Spasky etc. got a lot of press coverage. But I think that was driven mostly by politics. Casual observers may have been excited by the symbolic clash of brain power from two competing superpowers. Later chess returned to higher visibility as a man vs. technology (Deep Blue etc) battle, which also reflected the worries about the rise of computing power supplanting human workers. The defense of his title by long time top player Magnus Carlson about half a year ago didn't do much to raise chess popularity. If it were really a strongly competitive global game that paid enough to play it full time, I doubt that a single player would dominate the rankings for as long as Carlson has, maybe a decade now. Shogi world has highlighted both young pros and veterans like Habu to broaden its appeal, with regular stories on NHK. I don't know if western Chess can count on big media boosts like shogi has with NHK.

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TorafusuTorasan:

Yes, Spassky vs Fischer was certainly more about politics - and personalities - than it was about the game itself. The Deep Blue thing was just sensationalist piffle, in my opinion. Still, at the grass roots level (i.e. how many people play it) chess is a very popular game - but, I think, much more popular outside the Anglosphere (e.g. eastern Europe, India) than in it, which is why we don't hear a lot about it. It's certainly not media-friendly, at least not the way our media works. Nevertheless, my favoured newspaper here in Australia always features a game report every week.

Shogi intrigues me because I know nothing about it, apart from having watched it for a while in Osaka. So does Go, for the same reason, partly due to having read Kawabata's The Master of Go. I know some very good Western chess players, and I often wonder how good they'd be at shogi, and to what extent, if any, the skills are transferable. I must admit none of those players I know (including my father) have ever made any money out of it.

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