Thursday, August 28, 2008

Experiences and Flexibility

Hey all,

Yesterday I was asked by one of Malaysia's strongest Go player to play Shogi at his house. He was a chess fanatic, so it's no wonder why he would want to play a game of Shogi with me. We even made an agreement that I would come to his house almost everyday just to play a few games of Shogi. Knowing that he has more than 10 years of chess experiences, I decided to accept his suggestion of coming to his house during the weekdays. But why would I accept his suggestion eventhough he's just a beginner? The main reason is because the level of concentration and strategies that he has accumulated from his chess experiences has made him a formidable opponent that I can practise on.

I have been playing Shogi for a year only by spending more time on books and lesser time on games. Eventhough I have improve a lot just by studying, I will still be defeated by my opponent if the Shogi's joseki (or unknown territory) is different from what I have anticipated. Therefore the main purpose of me accepting his suggestion is to gain more experiences, and also to improve my flexibility of countering all sorts of strategies in the game. Not only that it will help me to develop my adaption if I were to play at different surroundings and against players.

Nevertheless playing Shogi almost everyday will surely improve my skills and concentration (or calmness) alot.

Ryou Takehito

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A shogi player's rant

"What? Shogi again?"

Everytime I read Shogi-related books or play a game of Shogi with my friend, my acquaintances or my friends would say the same words to me. But what they don't know is, everytime they said the very words it would make me feel depressed. Very depressed. Not only that, they would give me this weird look and make sarcasm remarks about it... or just ignore me. Maybe they're just youngsters, or they didn't understand my dream to become a professional Shogi player. Even if I did explain why I work so hard improving my Shogi skills, they would think I'm an idiot chasing after a stupid dream.

Hate to admit it but chess is an un-cool game after all. Not like basketball, badminton, bowling, bowling, swimming, Counter-Strike, Defense of the Ancients (DotA) and etc etc. As long as the activities involved with physical sports and video games, it is considered as a 'cool' thing. Shogi is not a physical sport nor a video game - it is a board game or most 'cool' youngsters would prefer to call it 'bored game'. I myself even do all these 'cool' things before I encounter Shogi. After I have gotten serious about Shogi, I spend most of my time with Shogi and rarely with these 'cool' activities. So why am I playing Shogi since it's un-cool? To be honest, I have no idea. I don't even know why I want to become a professional Shogi player in the first place. What I do know is that's what my heart desires and I want to follow it. Also I have a great passion in Shogi, which itself should have answered why I'm working so hard improving my Shogi skills.

In Malaysia, people are actually looking down on chess games - except chess-lovers. They think it's boring and a waste of time and most importantly 'un-cool'. It just pisses me off when people actually do give bad comments about it. If you're not fond of chess then please let me ask you back the same questions. Why are you playing tennis? It improves your physical strength and endurance? Why it's almost the same thing as Shogi! By playing Shogi we're actually improving our thinking abilities and concentration! What did you just say? By playing tennis it keeps you in shape? But playing Shogi helps us study well in studies! But did you know it's almost impossible to become a professional tennis (or any other sports) player even if you work hard on it? And when you grow old I'll doubt you will have the same strength/skills as you do when you're young. In Shogi, it is possible to become a professional if you work hard on it and your skills won't deterioate even when you grow old. Unless you are aiming to be an athlete, then I would have nothing to say against you.

Now to all the video gamers. Let me ask you something. How does a video game helps you in your life? Maple Story? DotA? Counter-Strike? Please tell me how. And I'm highly positive that you're not going to play the same game forever in your life. Video games are just something for you to waste away your leisure or boring times and does not benefit you in any ways. Well, except that you will get more friends/conversations since you're playing a temporary 'cool' game. Next time please think about the things you have done before commenting me about playing Shogi.

Enough questioning. But what I don't understand is why people think it's stupid every time I said I'm going to be a professional? It is something illegal? It is something stupid? It is something that is impossible to achieve? Or is it just because it is 'un-cool'? I actually have some people mocking at me just because I said it is my dream to become a professional. Shogi is a proper mind sport. Unless I said I'm going to be a yoyo professional or a 'Magic the Gathering' professional, then I would understand why people are laughing at me.

That's all for my rant. To all the chess-players in the world. Have you ever experience something similar like mine where people mock or tease you when you said you are going to become a professional chess player? Please share your thoughts and opinions with me.

Nevertheless I am going to continue chasing after my dream no matter what people said about Shogi.

Ryou Takehito

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Sacrifice

Hey all,

Yesterday was Saturday so the obvious thing I would do is go to Japan Club and play Shogi. I was a little tired and have a slight headache so I didn't play too well in Shogi. In fact it was too lousy that I feel very ashamed of myself. "This is not my usual performance," I said to myself. Then I realised the huge factor that have affected my skills. It was my concentration.

But that's not all. By playing against a Japanese guy in JC made me realise that my Shogi studies are not enough. So what should I do if I have to improve my Shogi skills?

I have decided not to play anymore TV games after completing the PS2 game ".Hack". I personally think that TV games help me reduce my concentration skills so I would not have the patience to focus a games if it last for a long time. Not only that it was a total waste of time. I should have sacrifice it to play Shogi in the first place (but I have reduce my gaming time ever since I started Shogi).

Therefore from this day onwards I will not play anymore TV games or PC games if I have to become a professional Shogi player. I do not want to think that I have played Shogi for a year and have no improvement. This is my new resolve.

Ryou Takehito

Monday, August 11, 2008

First official post of "Ryou's Shogi World"

Hey all,

I would like to say that too many Shogi-related things have happened ever since I started playing Shogi so I'm dedicating this blog only on Shogi, my adventures, my opinions about Shogi and how the people in Malaysia feels about Shogi. Also, I have imported all my shogi-related events from my other blog to here so Shogi players could read my past progress and adventures. Anyways expect me to talk more Shogi-related stuffs in the future!

Since I don't really have that much time I will talk about the Japanese Language Festival in University of Malaya.

Actually when I just got back from AISEP in Beijing, I was asked by Tsuda-san, the person in-charge of promoting Shogi in UM (University of Malaya) and also one of the members of Shogi Club in Japan Club (, to help him because:

1. I love Shogi; and
2. I'm the only non-Japanese who can play Shogi.

I always wanted to help out people if there's a way to promote Shogi so I agreed to help him out.

On 27th July at 8.00 a.m. we gathered ourselves at the Japan Club and at 8.30 a.m. we went to UM together. Many Japanese were enthusiastic about teaching Shogi to the locals and I was one of them too. ^.^

We reached UM ten minutes later and to my surprise there are a lot of people attending the fair!

The people in the picture above are actually learning how to dance in Japanese style! ^.^ We quickly set up the Shogi sets and since there is still not many people in UM so the Japanese asked me to play a few games first.

This is Naoki and he's only 11-years old! He told me that he learn Shogi from his father and he's very strong! If I'm not mistaken he's about 1 or 2 kyu. He can defeat most of the old Japanese men in Japan Club!

This is me playing against Naoki! ^.^v We played three games and I won two games! ^.^v Actually before this I couldn't beat Naoki at all! But I'm glad I have improve so much that I can win Naoki! Anyways we have a lot of fun!


After a small rest, I was asked to play against this oji-san...

This is actually my first meeting with him and he is VERY VERY STRONG! I think he's about 2 or 3-dan. We have three games too and I cannot defeat him at all!

Too bad I did not ask for his name. I would very much like him to teach me a few things about Shogi since he is very strong! By the way, did you notice Shoshi-sensei's fan on the table? ^.^

This is me playing Shogi very seriously. LOL. I always wonder why I put my head on my hand when I'm thinking.

A closer look on the game.

Anyways we have a lot of fun in UM. Some people actually find Shogi very hard to learn because it's hard to memorise the kanji on the Shogi pieces and they always forget how Gold (Kinsho) and Silver (Ginsho) moves.

Nevertheless I'm looking forward to help out again if there is another opportunity to promote Shogi!

Ryou Takehito