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First foreign female professional shogi player grateful for support

Karolina Styczynska smiles during a game at the Tokyo Shogi Kaikan hall in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Feb. 20, 2017. (Mainichi)

Karolina Styczynska, a 25-year-old Polish woman who became the first foreign female professional player of shogi on Feb. 20, attributed her promotion to support from many people.

She raised her ranking from "joryu 3-kyu" to "joryu 2-kyu" by beating professional player Minami Sadamasu, 30, in a preliminary game of the 44th Women's Meijin (master) in Tokyo on Feb. 20, to become a professional player.

After the game, Styczynska said she stepped up her efforts to study hard this year. The Polish woman commented that she feels happy that she has played shogi, expressing gratitude to those who have supported her.

Styczynska was required to make certain achievements over the past two years to be promoted to the rank of professional.

Yasumitsu Sato, president of the Japan Shogi Association, has expressed hope that Styczynska will perform well as a professional player.

"She overcame a rocky path and tried hard. As the first foreign female professional player of shogi, I hope that she will continue to play well," Sato said.

Styczynska became interested in shogi when she saw a scene in a manga work in which a character plays shogi, and came to Japan in 2013. She is currently enrolled in the graduate school of Yamanashi Gakuin University.

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