A 20-year-old college student from Poland, who took up shogi after coming across it in popular manga, became the first foreign amateur to beat a woman professional player in tournament competition.
Karolina Styczynska defeated Sachiko Takamure, 41, a woman's 3-dan player, in a preliminary round on May 19 of the Joryu Oza-sen tournament sponsored by Ricoh Co. in Tokyo.
Styczynska first came across shogi, which is similar to chess but uses a bigger board and allows players to return captured pieces back into play as their own, about four years ago when she was reading "Naruto," a popular manga about ninja. One of the characters in the Japanese comic book was playing a game of shogi.
Intrigued by the centuries-old Japanese game, Styczynska improved her skills through matches over the Internet. She now holds the rank of an amateur 4-dan and was invited to take part in the tournament through the recommendation of the sponsor.
While she defeated Takamure by controlling the latter stages of the match using some of her favorite strategy and tactics, Styczynska lost to Ryoko Chiba, 32, a professional woman's 4-dan, and failed to advance to the next stage.
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