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A diligent student and shogi player with four years of professional experience

Mr. Taichi Nakamura

"Shogi (Japanese chess) is played on a 9 x 9 square board. Each time I play, I discover something new on those 81 spaces. That's the biggest fascination it holds for me." Mr. Nakamura was bewitched by shogi when he was still in kindergarten. He learned how to play from his father, and often played against his elementary school-age cousin. "I lost, of course. It was terrible. I decided that I would absolutely become stronger," he said, laughing.

He tried reading books of shogi problems and studying on his own. However, it was also important to play, and so he joined a local shogi club. "Until then, I was a normal elementary school student - I liked shogi, but I also enjoyed playing soccer." Once he started playing at the club, his perceptions changed, and he came to think that he "wanted to play shogi professionally." He quit the soccer team and gave his undivided attention to shogi. "Even now, I still like watching and playing soccer. But I thought that I should dedicate myself entirely to shogi if I actually wanted to reach the top."

From junior high to senior high school, it was difficult for Mr. Nakamura to grasp how to find a balance between studying for exams and playing shogi. "I couldn't play shogi at school, so I had to do it at home. Inevitably, this shortened the time I had to study, so I was frantic to comprehend the class contents during that brief time." He also shared the following episode: "My friends and I used to be engrossed in playing shogi on paper during the short breaks between classes. We were very busy writing and erasing the 'pieces' on our paper board (drawn using a ball-point pen). It was a lot of fun, but thinking back I'm amazed at our power of concentration," he laughed.

His dreams came true during high school, when he became a professional shogi player. Mr. Nakamura decided to attend Waseda University because he thought it was the only place where he could devote himself to shogi and broaden his own character. Currently, he is learning about empirical political analysis in Professor Tanaka's seminar. "The process of analyzing things from various angles and viewpoints is fascinating." He said that having many things to absorb leads to a feeling of satisfaction.

Mr. Nakamura advanced to the final game of the 40th Shogi Rookie-of-the-year Competition held in October. Unfortunately, he lost to level 5 player Mr. Akihito Hirose (enrolled in the School of Education, and featured in 'People' #1143). However, he pledged that he wanted to "expand my viewpoint, improve my ability, and stand on that stage once again." He said that "My future dream is to become a pro shogi player that children can look up to" just like his childhood hero Mr. Yoshihara Habu.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Taichi Nakamura

Born in 1988 in Tokyo, and graduated from Waseda Jitsugyo High School. Is currently a third year student in the School of Political Science and Economics, and is a member of Mr. Tanaka Aiji's seminar. In 2006, he reached Level 4 in his third year of high school and became a professional shogi player. He learned under master shogi player Mr. Kunio Yonenaga, and is currently active participating in various tournaments. He both attends school and plays shogi and is also gaining renown teaching shogi seminars to elementary school students. His hobbies include watching movies, and he especially likes epic stories such as "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter."