Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tournament Complete!

At long last, the September 2008 Shogi Open is complete and I was lucky enough to pull it out! The first-to-three finals ended 3-0 in my favor, primarily due to the other player walking into the same documented trap each time. I remain baffled by my ability to win these matches though I feel pretty good about the results.

As before, if anyone has the time and ability to review one or more of these matches and provide input I'd appreciate it tremendously.

On a related note, if you are a fan of shogi and have not already found the site, there is a new discussion forum:

The 81-Square Universe

It looks friendly and promising. I haven't been able to spend much time there, but I hope to do so in the future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shogi Teaching/Review Resources?

Hello again, Internet. The finals of the 2008 September Shogi Open has arrived and, as it turns out, it is a "3 wins match" which I assume means that the first player to win three matches will win the tournament. Since it would appear we're only playing one match at a time, this could go on for a while. :)

The first match is actually about to conclude quickly as I will checkmate my opponent after his next move. So that's the good news. The bad news is that I'm still baffled as to how I'm winning any matches at all. As I've mentioned before in this blog, I cannot beat even the easiest Shotest Shogi AI yet I'm winning matches against real humans. I've been subscribing to the same theory as I did with where I also won more matches than I expected...basically, I'm thinking that I am spending far more time per move than my opponents.

It certainly can't be due to study or practice since I have not been working on tsume shogi lately, nor have I been reading any shogi books or playing any shogi matches outside of this tournament. So, before I start to get a big head and think myself some sort of shogi savant I'd love to have someone put me in my place by taking a look at my matches and confirming that I'm terrible. :)

However, I don't know of any way to get that kind of help. The go community has a wonderful resource called the Go Teaching Ladder:

The online go servers like KGS also provide easy interfaces to review matches with better players. The chess community also seems to have similar resources along with outstanding software that can analyze games. It would appear that the english-speaking shogi community has none of that (at least as far as I can find).

Can anyone help or point me in the right direction? Thanks!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Leggett's Japanese Chess

I returned this week from a family vacation in Toronto with a new item for the bookshelf: Japanese Chess by Trevor Leggett. Outside of the fact that I paid basically twice the amazon price at an Indigo bookstore, I am pleased with the book. It's most certainly for beginners (even going so far as to add a silly paper board and paper pieces in the back), however I was able to pick up a few ideas in the annotated sample game and the section on openings is presented well.

As Toronto has a large Japanese population and is packed full of Japanese restaurants (there are, literally, 2 or 3 on every block in the area we stayed downtown!), I began to wonder if I could perhaps find a new Shogi board. Unfortunately, I could find no Japanese shops at all! I even asked one sushi restaurant's waitress and manager for advice and they could offer no help.

During the trip I also became quite addicted to sudoku but that's another topic... :D

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Onto the Finals...

I never thought I'd say it, but I'm onto the finals of BrainKing's 2008 September Shogi Open. :) Each semifinal bracket contains three players and each of those three players has two matches against the other two players in the bracket. This morning I checkmated my second opponent, leaving me with 3 wins and an insurmountable spot in first. I am up a rook and my position feels very solid in the last match, so I could possibly go 4-0 in the semifinal bracket. Quite a surprise for someone who cannot even defeat the lowest AI in Shotest Shogi 3D.

The other bracket is still running and it would appear that it may continue for months as one player is taking two weeks per move. As a result, his matches are only on move 17. He also has the highest rating in the tournament so hopefully he'll lose. ;)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Early Second Round Wins in September Shogi Open!

I must confess that I'm a bit excited right now. In the second round of BrainKing's September Shogi Open, I've managed to quickly earn a couple wins against one of my two opponents. Both games were pretty loose and crazy as we were making many moves per day, but I was able to build mating attacks by applying pressure and doing my best to avoid the urge to profit materially. Instead of trying to capture pieces as I would in Chess, I tried to ignore unimportant threats and keep focus on attacking the king...things worked out for the best. I made a load of mistakes, but I feel for the first time in my Shogi "career" that I'm reading pretty well and seeing the entire board.

Hopefully I can keep this up in the coming weeks or months it will take to finish these other two games.

Monday, April 06, 2009

BrainKing Update

Well, here's a brief update of the September Shogi Open at BrainKing. The first round has completed and, since there was a three-way tie in our bracket, the next round just took all three of us! :D There are now two brackets containing three players in each.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

September Shogi Open First Round Concluding

Yes, I am still here! The first round of the September Shogi Open over at BrainKing is still running. A good deal of the fault lies with me as I was extremely busy in the middle stages and was sometimes using upwards of 10 days per move. The tournament settings specify 10 days per move and BrainKing gives additional time for delays, so it's clear that this could (and has) run for months. Even so, I prefer to make my moves much more quickly.

That said, I am in the final round in our bracket, one move from mate, so the longest it will last is another 15 days if my opponent takes the full time before making his move, resigning, or letting the clock run out. At that point, we'll be at an interesting roadblock. Three of us will be locked in the #1 spot, each with 6 wins and two losses.

Player A beat Player B twice.
Player C beat Player A twice.
Player B beat Player C twice.
All three players won their other four games.

So each of us will have six points in total and our tiebreak number, as far as I can tell, will be the same. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this. Only one player can move onto the next round since the three players from other brackets all ended up with a higher point total.

One other thing I should point out is that Takodori has blogged about the availability of Trevor Leggett's book "Japanese Chess: The Game of Shogi". Apparently, this is a revival of his "Shogi Japan's Game of Strategy", which was published in 1993.