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Computer Program Claims First Victory Over Shogi Professional

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Two men at a shogi board.

Shinichi Sato, a 4th-dan shogi player, right, faces off across the shogi board with Issei Yamamoto, the developer of the Ponanza program.

Credit: Soichiro Yamamoto/The Asahi Shimbun

A computer program has defeated an active shogi professional for the first time.

Issei Yamamoto, 27, developed the Ponanza program, which can process more than 30 million scenarios in one second. Ponanza squared off against 4th-ranked Shinichi Sato in the Japanese version of chess in Tokyo on March 30.

Yamamoto's program employed non-traditional tactics from the early stages of the match, creating scenarios in the game that Sato did not expect. Ponanza did not make any mistakes.

Developers have been working on shogi software programs for about four decades. A different computer program defeated a former professional shogi player in 2012.

From The Asahi Shimbun
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