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Polish Naruto Fan Becomes Winning First in “Japanese Chess” Competition

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Okay, so when we say “Japanese chess,” we mean shogi, but “Japanese chess” is the most succinct way to explain the two thousand year old strategy game based on a gridded board filled with pieces representing kings, generals, chariots, and soldiers. Naruto, the series of manga, anime, and movies, features characters playing shogi not-infrequently, being set in a fantasy version of Japan. It’s no wonder that someone might become interested in the game after watching the series. After all, it’s a real game with real rules, not like some we could name.

In fact, 20-year-old Karolina Styczynska‘s road to shogi championship began with Naruto, and this weekend she achieved something of a global milestone.

Styczynska started playing shogi on the internet, rising to the level of 4-dan (the highest ameteur ranking being 6-dan), after reading the Naruto manga. This weekend, she defeated Sachiko Takamure, a 3-dan player, and became “the first foreign amateur to beat a woman professional player in tournament competition.” That’s according to The Asahi Shimbun, who do not specify whether Styczynska is the first foreign woman to beat another woman professional, or the first foreign person to beat a woman player; or whether a foreign professional has accomplished either of those feats before.

But it’s still pretty impressive! Professional and amateur dans are offset from each other, making professional 3-dan eight ranks about amateur 4-dan. Styczynska was defeated later in the tournament by a player of professional 4-dan ranking.

Styczynska’s opponents had ten to twenty years of experience on her, so we’d say she’s got plenty of time to brush up on her game. And on the newest Naruto trade.

(via Kotaku.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.