Karolina Styczynska has become the first professional "shogi" player from a foreign country.

The 25-year-old Pole reached the milestone in what's often called "Japanese chess" by defeating Minami Sadamasu, 30, a higher-level "shodan" player.

“My mind became a complete blank when I felt assured of my victory in the final phase of the match," Styczynska said after her win in a women's preliminary round of the Joryu Meijin-sen tournament at the Shogi Kaikan hall in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Feb. 20.

“I was delighted when my opponent resigned,” she added.

It is the first time for a foreigner, male or female, to become a shogi professional, according to the Japan Shogi Association.

Styczynska, a 3-kyu player, was promoted to 2-kyu, which qualifies her as a professional shogi player in accordance with the JSA rules.

If the Pole continues to be successful, she will move out of the kyu rankings and up to the dan placings.

Styczynska became interested in shogi at the age of 16 when she saw one of the characters playing the game in her favorite manga, the ninja story “Naruto.”

Shogi may be called Japanese chess but the centuries-old Japanese game is played on a board with nine squares along each side rather than eight as in the Western game.

Styczynska learned the rules on the Internet and honed her skills by playing shogi online before she came to Japan in 2013.

“What is interesting about Shogi is that, unlike chess, I can reuse captured pieces,” Styczynska said.

“The dynamic final phase of the match also thrills me,” she added.