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Amahiko Sato beats Yoshiharu Habu to capture Meijin title in his first attempt

Sato goes over the match as he traces the moves he made against Habu to win the Meijin title at the Tendo Hotel in Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture, on the evening of May 31, 2016. (Mainichi)

TENDO, Yamagata -- In the 74th Meijin-sen tournament's 7th match that had begun here on May 30 at the Tendo Hotel, 8th-dan player Amahiko Sato beat out Meijin Yoshiharu Habu in the fifth game, at 6:44 p.m. on May 31.

    Sato, 28, who won against 45-year-old Habu by 100 moves, took his first Meijin title with a score of 4-1. Habu had 58 minutes and Sato had 76 minutes left on the clock.

    At age 28 years and 4 months, Sato is the 13th person to become Meijin since the new Meijin ranking system was established in 1937. He is also the fourth youngest to do so after Koji Tanigawa, Habu, and Makoto Nakahara, who won the title at age 21 years and 2 months, 23 years and 8 months, and 24 years and 9 months, respectively.

    Sato's victory also marked the first time in 16 tournaments -- when Tadahisa Maruyama took the Meijin title -- that a twenty-something won. Sato is also the third shogi player, after Tanigawa and Habu, to win the Meijin title in his first tournament since he acceded to the A-class ranking league. Habu has captured the Oi, Oza, and Kisei titles.

    The tournament was co-sponsored by the Mainichi Newspapers Co. and Asahi Shimbun Co. and supported by Daiwa Securities Group.

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