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Undefeated teen shogi sensation Fujii marks 18th straight win since debut

Sota Fujii reviews his win against Yugo Takeuchi in Osaka's Fukushima Ward on the afternoon of May 18, 2017. (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- Shogi prodigy Sota Fujii defeated fellow fourth-dan player Yugo Takeuchi in a match at Kansai shogi hall here on May 18 to rack up his 18th consecutive win since his professional debut in October last year.

Fujii, 14, is now tied in seventh place for the highest number of consecutive wins. Other players to have reached that mark include ninth-dan Yoshiharu Habu, who achieved victorious streaks when he held a fifth-dan rank in 1988, and in 2006 when he held four of the main crowns in shogi, or Japanese chess. (Habu's own record is 22 straight wins.) Notable is the fact that Fujii managed to make the top 10 rank with consecutive victories from his debut.

In his match on May 18, Fujii defeated Takeuchi in 120 moves. Takeuchi played a central rook opening, while Fujii adopted a static rook, resisting Takeuchi with a left Mino castle strategy. From the outset Fujii played an attacking game and eventually overpowered his opponent.

Fujii commented that the win was beyond his expectations. "I want to brace myself for each of my future games," he added. Takeuchi rued his performance, commenting, "I slipped up going into the endgame, lost my position and was shut out. I had to take it on the chin."

Fujii's next game is against 20-year-old Seiya Kondo, in the sixth group ranking match of the Ryuo Tournament. If he wins, he will go on to the championship to decide the Ryuo title challenger.

The record holder for the most consecutive victories is eighth-dan Hiroshi Kamiya, 56, who scored his 28th straight win in 1987, when he was a fifth-dan player.

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