Thursday, November 11, 2010

Possible Mechacon Shogi Tournament?

As I mentioned in this video, I will be able to host a shogi tournament at Mechacon next year (August 26-28, 2011) if I can get at least 8 people to agree to show up! So far I have 3 or 4 people who want to participate, which includes some of my attendees from this year. If you want to help shogi popularization in the South, please consider attending this tournament!

There will be prizes and gifts.

You can find more information here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mechacon Shogi Panel 2

Hi everyone, it's been a while.

I haven't updated much this year because there's been hardly any news about the Louisiana shogi scene, aside from introducing the game to a few friends who weren't very interested in becoming serious players.

However, like I did last year, I attended the Mechacon anime convention (this time in New Orleans, LA), and I hosted a How to Play Shogi panel once again.

Many things went wrong about the panel. Firstly, I forgot the reference sheets I had printed to hand out at home. I was also supposed to be given a panel room with a projector so I could make presentations with BCMShogi, but for some reason I was moved without anyone in charge being told, so I ended up having to do the same thing I did last year: Simply explain the rules with my boards, but thankfully I brought along a copy of John Fairbairn's Shogi for Beginners which helped with a lot of my attendees' questions.

Overall, it went better than I expected. Once again, about 25-30 people showed up for the panel, including several people who attended my panel last year. One of my repeat attendees, Thomas, was kind enough to help me explain the rules for people who couldn't see the board I was using.

Thomas, I learned, became so interested in shogi after my panel last year that he went home and watched many of Hidetchi's videos to try to learn how to play the game, but he had no one to play with. We've traded contact information, and I hope to play with him soon.

Another repeat attendee of mine, Chris, was interested by my panel last year but didn't get a chance to play, so he went home and read the rules on Wikipedia. He was so fascinated by the game that he made his own shogi set and has taught about 10 people how to play the game, including his roommate whom he often plays games with. He told me he is trying to start a shogi club in Baton Rouge! I'm so glad I've finally found another person who wants to popularize shogi in Louisiana! We spent a long time discussing holding the first Louisiana tournament.

Here are some photos from the end of the panel when a few people stayed behind to play with each other:

Two of the attendees playing their first game of shogi. Thomas is commenting on the game like he did last year.

One of the above pictured players making a move.

Seven of the thirteen people who stayed after the panel to play with each other.

Chris and Vincent decided to play a game on BCMShogi when the boards were full.

Chris and Vincent playing on BCMShogi.

Even though it was almost a disaster with the convention making mistakes with my room request, it turned out to be several times better than last year's panel! And I've met three Louisianians who are very interested in the game, so now I know I'm no longer alone! I'm starting to see the fruits of my labor, and maybe soon I'll finally be able to host Louisiana's first shogi tournament!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 report of shogi popularization

Hi everyone,

I would like to make a report of my efforts towards shogi popularization in the year 2009.

April 2009

April is when I was introduced to shogi. One could say that this is when shogi first impacted Louisiana, even though I was the only person affected.

July 2009

July was the month that Mechacon was held, where I hosted my first shogi event, the "How to Play Shogi" panel, discussed in this post. The panel was a great success, attracting about 30 people. Unfortunately, even though people seemed interested, I did not take the initiative to make sure that they would stay interested after the convention. I did not actively seek contact with the attendees of the panel, so whether it was a lasting success or not to any of the attendees is unknown to me. I will have to make sure to do better next year.

August 2009

In August, I made my first shogi lecture video on Youtube about shogi proverbs. I think this is a modest success at popularization, and though it seems that it will attract a wide, global audience, I don't believe it targets players in Louisiana enough. Still, it was an attempt to get more information about shogi in the open, so I don't regret starting my Youtube videos.

September 2009

September saw the opening of the most active English shogi forum on the Internet, The 81-Square Universe, in its initial form, which was hosted at Heaven Forum. It began as a huge success and has gained members from around the world. As an English discussion forum, it is easy to refer potential players to it, so I think it would help Louisiana promotion once it gets heavily underway.

October 2009

The 81-Square Universe moved to its own domain in October, making it easier to find.

November 2009

Shogipedia launched in 2009, which has attracted much attention, including becoming the host of the translation of "Lectures on the Latest Strategies" by Kiyokazu Katsumata 6-dan. Also in November, I attended the New Orleans Japan Festival, where I introduced shogi to several people. Unfortunately, as I did not have a set place to teach it there like I did at Mechacon, it was hard to find people who were interested. I'll have to arrange for a table next year. In November, efforts to create a shogi playing server on The 81-Square Universe started as well.

Goals for 2010

The following are my goals for the year 2010:

  • Achieve 1-dan. I believe that becoming a dan holder will be important in promoting shogi, because speaking from a master level will give me a much better sense of how to explain shogi than my current 7-kyu level.
  • Write an English guide to the rules. Since it is somewhat hard to find good material on shogi, and because ordering copies of current books to hand out would be quite expensive, I would like to write a small book on how to play shogi, which I would hand out for free at all of my shogi events. I believe beginners would be more attracted to shogi if they did not have to go out of their way to learn how to play.
  • Form a shogi club. This will be important in spreading shogi in the US. Forming a shogi club would create a base with which new members could be attracted, and veteran members could branch out and teach others that are not associated with the club. This is one of my top priorities in 2010.
  • Host Louisiana's first shogi tournament. I learned from Larry Kaufman that there have never been a shogi tournament in Louisiana, so I would like to host the first. I have been trying to arrange ways to execute it, but I have nothing official yet.
That concludes the 2009 shogi popularization report.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A losing game on Shogi Club 24

Hey everyone, I suppose this will be my first analysis of a game of my own on this blog. This is a game I played and lost badly on Shogi Club 24 due to some very bad mistakes on my part - mistakes that a player at my level should not be making. I played like a 15-kyu. I just want to put this game up to remind myself to think through all of my moves in the future.

[SENTE "hirohiigo"]
[GOTE "takusya"]
△6.B2b-3c (diagram)

This was a Static Rook vs. Ranging Rook game, which I seem to play a lot (an unfortunate truth, since I prefer playing against static rook). My opponent's △B-3c seems to indicate that he is planning △R-2b, Opposing Rook strategy.

△10.R8b-4b (diagram)

Despite my opponent's early △B-3c, he transferred his rook to the 4th file. I figured he was simply making moves out of order, so I continued along joseki lines.

△14.R4b-2b (diagram)

Oddly, after △R-4b, he next played △R-2b, losing one move. I was right after all that he wanted to play Opposing Rook, but he should gone straight to 2b instead of 4b first.

△18.B3cx2d (diagram)

Immediately after I started castling, he attacked my pawn with △P-2d. I thought he was trying to trade rooks by △Rx2d, but he played an unexpected △Bx2d. I wasn't really prepared for this move, and I've never studied it before, and, as a result, I did the one thing a shogi player should never do: panic. Instead of taking advantage of his move, I made an impulse move (also bad) and simply ran away without considering the consequences.

△20.B2dx7i+ (diagram)

As I said, ▲K-7h was an impulse move. I hadn't even stopped to consider what would happen after I finished moving my king. It took him only 3 seconds to respond with △Bx7i+ and it was immediately, painfully clear why he did so. By checking with a bishop sacrifice, he launched an irremovable discovered attack on my rook. I did not even have sting on my own rook--he was going to take it for free.

Instead of ▲K-7h, I could have managed the situation and material by ▲Rx2d (diagram). Following ▲Rx2d, △Rx2d ▲B*1e △R*2e ▲Bx2d △Rx2d ▲N-3g and I would have been much better. Material would be equal and I would only have to deal with one rook.

△28.R*2i (diagram)

My futile ▲P*2b was a desperate attempt to regain material, but it was quickly ended by △N-3c. △R*2i was also very powerful, and I was once again panicking.

▲31.Resign (diagram )

Because I wasn't thinking, ▲+Px1a seemed like a legitimate move for me; I was planning to drop it to 3i the next turn. Regrettably I hadn't checked my opponent's speed, nor had I checked to see if my 6i gold had any string on it. Since I could not recapture the dragon (thanks to his 1i dragon), my only option was to escape. ▲K-8h is nonsense, because △+Rx7i ▲K-9h △+Rx8i is mate, so my only feasible option was to escape up the board. The problem, though, is that his camp was too stable for me to possible achieve king entering, especially with his two dragons. With no options left, I resigned.

I am so ashamed that I played this poorly. I really felt like a beginner in this game. I put up this review in so that I can see it in the future and remind myself to never make the same mistakes in it again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Everything that has happened since my last update

Hi everyone.

Wow, it's been a long time since I last updated Louisiana Shogi. Sorry about that. I'd like to use this update to discuss all the shogi-related things I've been doing since my last update.

The 81-Square Universe

I'm sure everyone who has been following this blog is aware, but two months ago I helped start a new English shogi website, The 81-Square Universe. This website's primary feature at the moment is its forum, which has many members from around the world who come to discuss shogi. I am also working on getting actual content on the website.


Shogipedia (formerly Shogi Wiki) is another website hosted on The 81-Square Universe. It uses MediaWiki software, which is the same software used by Wikipedia. It can be edited by anyone who registers for an account (it used to allow anonymous editing, but I ended this after a spambot attack). There is currently a translation project going on at Shogipedia to provide a translation of the book Lectures on the Latest Strategies by Kiyokazu Katsumata. Wow!

Shogi Videos on Youtube

In addition to the Shogi Proverbs videos (which I hope to get back to soon), I have started a series called "My Shogi Games," in which I analyze my own games. I have also made several miscellaneous videos, such as a couple documentation videos for BCMShogi, and an advertisement for the Ryu-ou-Sen website.

New Orleans Japan Festival

How did I forget to make a mention of this in Louisiana Shogi??? On November 8 I went to New Orleans Japan Festival at the New Orleans Museum of Art. I brought my shogi set to try to popularize the game, but I couldn't find many people who were interested. I did play two people though: One of the staff members at Mechacon, and a little Japanese boy. :) The Japanese boy seemed to be about 5 or 6 years old and was playing with another boy, and when his older sister found out I play, she wanted me to play against him. I won, but he was pretty strong. I spent most of my time at Japan Festival playing igo with the members of a New Orleans igo club. I later saw the two Japanese boys playing igo there. ^^;

Getting stronger at shogi

I'm getting over several milestones in my shogi playing. I've finally become confident while playing against 4th file rook, which was a big problem for me this whole year. My rating at PlayOK is now 1457, and my record is 77 wins and 50 losses.

Also at Shogi-L I found an equation for finding one's PanAtlantic (US and European) rating using PlayOK's rating. The equation is */PanAtlantic/** = 1.75 * /PlayOK/ - 1400*. So for me, that's 1.75 * 1457, which is 2549.75, -1400, which gives me a PanAtlantic rating of about 1150, +/- 100 (so I'm anywhere between 1050 and 1250). Comparing with the FESA's rating list... I'm at least 8-kyu??? Wow! I've improved much more than I thought I have in this past year. I thought I was still a 10-kyu player. Finding out I'm stronger than I thought I am gives me a lot of motivation to keep going. Maybe in a year or so I can become a dan-holder if I train enough...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Real internationalized pieces - Day 1

Hey everyone. While I was thinking of ways to promote shogi today, I came up with a great idea - making real internationalized pieces! I had two options for this: Make them out of paper, or transform one of my shogi sets into an internationalized set. Since I thought it would be rather cool to have (what I believe to be) the first real set featuring Hidetchi's internationalized piece design, I decided to break out the sand paper and start working on my own set.

These are the materials I'm using: 120 sandpaper, wooden shogi pieces, black and red permanent markers, mechanical pencil, and reference sheets for Hidetchi's designs.

Here's what the King General looked like while I was sanding him. It was quite sad to look at a shogi piece like this, but it made me feel better when I thought about what it would look like when it was done.

With the kanji completely erased, I drew a light pencil drawing of the King General on the piece...

...Then I outlined that drawing in permanent marker, and erased the stray pencil marks.

And then I wrote Hidetchi's name on the bottom of the King General, to credit him for the design. You can see the Jeweled General mid-sanding in this picture.

These are the pieces I have finished at the end of day 1: King General, Jeweled General, two Rooks, two Bishops, and one Gold General. It's much more work than I was expecting! But it'll be worth it.

By the way, here's a picture of the Dragon and the Horse:

I wish I had made the Horses a little better. They aren't centered enough. They were hard to draw! But I think it turned out okay.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Uploading Custom BCMShogi Graphics

I've made a video presenting how to upload custom graphics into BCMShogi. I made this primarily so that people can upload Hidetchi's internationalized pieces into themes other than the HIDETCHI theme, which may not fit on people's monitor resolutions (it doesn't on mine, for example).

If you're coming here from my video, here are the files I presented in the video:

Bona-sized Hidetchi Internationalized Pieces

DiagramTiny Hidetchi Internationalized Pieces

I obtained both of these images from Hidetchi's blog. The Bona-sized pieces were resized by myself in Photoshop.

You can find my custom Kinryuu graphics, specifically made for the Bona theme, in my last post. You can use my Kinryuu pieces in any way as long as it is not for commercial use. I'd appreciate if you contact me before using my Kinryuu pieces.