I first heard about shogi (Japanese chess) last year when there was something of a scandal putting it in the news. Recently shogi has been in the news for a good reason - the youngest professional shogi player made history by winning 28 games in a row, tying the record which is held by Hiroshi Kamiya.
This14 year old junior high school student, is named Sota Fujii. His winning streak is creating a new interest in shogi, with many elementary students learning the game. Although an estimated 20 million people in Japan are able to play this game, there are only 164 professional players. Major tournaments are held throughout the year by the Japan Shogi Association. Professional players draw a monthly salary, as well as game fees based on performance. In February of this year, Karolina Styczynska became the first non-Japanese to be awarded full professional status.
Fujii's next professional game will be held Monday. I'll be cheering for him from afar!