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Shogi star Fujii clinches 7th dan, smashing age and speed records for the rank

Shogi sensation Sota Fujii discusses the match he won with his opponent Kohei Funae on May 18, 2018, at Kansai Shogi Hall in Osaka's Fukushima Ward. (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- Fifteen-year-old shogi prodigy Sota Fujii won the Ryuo tournament's fifth class semifinal on May 18, becoming the youngest professional shogi player ever to be promoted to seventh dan.

Fujii rose to the rank a record-breaking one year and seven months following his professional debut in October 2016.

"I never imagined I would be able to reach this point so quickly," the first-year high school student told reporters after the match. "I am happy that my focus on winning matches one by one has culminated in this promotion."

Fujii, Japan's youngest professional shogi player, beat fellow sixth-dan Kohei Funae, 31, in a match held at Kansai Shogi Hall in Osaka's Fukushima Ward.

Retired ninth-dan player Hifumi Kato, 78, held the previous record for achieving the fastest promotion to seventh dan -- two years and eight months. Kato was also the youngest player to get promoted to seventh dan, at 17 years and three months, another record broken by the 15-year-and-9-month-old Fujii. (Mainichi)

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