Shogi and Western Chess

Where Japan has kept to its traditions, the world has in fact been impressed. For instance, there are few games where there is less action than shogi, go or Western chess. The shogi championships are fought out in a quiet room with a referee and recorders. At most three or four honoured guests are allowed to watch. I have been one of them; it was an honour. I was invited because I had just received a 5th dan at shogi from the Japan Shogi Federation. The then champion Yasuharu Oyama wrote the certificate in his own hand, and I keep it as a rare treasure. In Japan, shogi is much more popular than chess is in Europe and America, though in the former Soviet Union it is encouraged. Our newspapers do not have a daily chess column, while the Japanese papers have a daily shogi and go column. Yet though shogi is so popular, the Japanese recognize that the players ought to have quiet and privacy for their tournament games. Those of the general public who want to watch the moves of the games sit in a separate hall, where the changing position is shown, move by move, on a …

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