Shogi Star Sota Fujii Loses Major Title for 1st Time

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Sota Fjii discusses the game after the Eio title in Kofu City on Thursday.

Kofu, Yamanashi Pref., June 20 (Jiji Press) — Japanese shogi sensation Sota Fujii was beaten by his challenger for his “Eio” title Thursday, losing one of the eight major titles for the first time since he dominated them in October last year.

Fujii, 21, gave up the Eio title in his 23rd title match in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture. The challenger, Takumi Ito, 21, won his first crown with three wins and two losses.

In 2020, Fujii became the youngest shogi player to win a major title by grabbing the Kisei title at the age of 17 years and 11 months. He later dominated all eight major titles—Ryuo, Meijin, Oi, Eio, Oza, Kio, Osho and Kisei—in nearly three years.

Fujii said Thursday’s result is inevitable because he made many mistakes in the endgames.

Referring to his first loss of a title, Fujii said that he had thought it was only a matter of time so he would do his best without worrying too much.

Ito made his debut as a professional shogi player in 2020, four years later than Fujii. Looking back the five matches with Fujii, Ito said that as there were many difficult games overall, he was lucky. “I’m glad I got a result,” he said.