Computer Program Claims First Victory Over Shogi Professional

Computer program claims first victory over shogi professionalFor the first time, a computer software program has defeated a professional player of shogi, the board game known as the Japanese version of chess.

After a see-saw battle, the Ponanza program exploited a weak point in the defense of Shinichi Sato to beat the 4th-dan (rank) pro at Shogi Hall in Tokyo’s Sendagaya district on March 30.

Sato, 30, wore formal Japanese-style clothing to mentally prepare himself for the match. But he couldn’t keep up with the program that can process more than 30 million scenarios in one second.

“I think I may have been able to do more, but it’s my best for now,” Sato said following the match.

The Ponanza program was developed by 27-year-old Issei Yamamoto.

Development of shogi software programs started about four decades ago.

Humans’ superior ability to judge each situation has enabled them to long overwhelm computers. However, shogi software developers have caught up.