Kasparov vs Habu, Chess vs Shogi legend

by Frederic Friedel
11/29/2014 – Yohiharu Habu is a legend in Shogi, the Japanese version of chess. He is also a 2400+ Western chess player, one of the best in Japan. To promote an upcoming human vs computer event Habu played an exhibition two game rapid chess match against another legend – who plays the game we all know. In this encounter Garry Kasparov had, in his own words, 'everything to lose'.

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It was a special match, between the thirteenth World Chess Champion and chess legend Garry Kasparov, 51, and the no less legendary Shogi (Japanese chess) master Yohiharu Habu, who is widely considered one of the greatest shogi players of all time (he won his 1,300th professional match last month). Habu happens to also be one of the best Western chess players in Japan, with an Elo rating of over 2400. Some were hoping for a dual Western chess and Shogi match, but Kasparov posted on his Twitter page:

The match was sponsored by the video portal provider Dwango Co., which broadcast the match live online through its niconico video website. The event was organized to promote a series of shogi games between professional players and computers that will take place in March – a "Denou-sen" designed as a team match between the five top human shogi players against the five top shogi computer programs.

Kasparov performs the "furigoma" ("piece toss") for an elite Denou-sen human vs computer shogi match

The encounter between Kasparov and Habu was over two rapid chess games, played at a rate of 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. Here are some screen grabs from the live video coverage, which can be watched after registering.

Kasparov had in his own words "everything to lose" in this match, and tweeted the following:

Impressions of the action and commentary during game one

Postgame analysis of game one, which was a clean win for Kasparov

The end of game two, which Kasparov also decided in his favour, for a final score of 2-0

Replay both games of the match

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Video promoting the match Garry Kasparov vs Yoshiharu Habu

In the above video make sure the English subtitles are switched on

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Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.