Photo/IllutrationSota Fujii watches a move made by Akihito Hirose, his opponent in the final of the Asahi Cup competition held Feb. 17. (Yuki Shibata)

  • Photo/Illustraion

"Shogi" prodigy Sota Fujii won his first tournament as a pro on Feb. 17, taking the Asahi Cup by defeating Akihito Hirose in the final.

Just six months short of his 16th birthday, Fujii is the youngest challenger ever to win a professional shogi tournament as well as the youngest to be promoted to 6-dan.

It is an impressive achievement to his growing list of records since turning pro in 2016.

Last year, Fujii broke the record for consecutive wins by racking up 29 victories.

Earlier on Feb. 17, Fujii defeated Yoshiharu Habu in one semifinal.

Just four days earlier, Habu, 47, was presented with the People's Honor Award, making him the first shogi pro to win the prestigious accolade.

But if Fujii was rattled in his first official match against the shogi legend, he never showed it.

He calmly defeated the only player to gain the "eisei" (eternity) honor in all seven major titles of shogi, a stunning achievement as it is only given for each title after a player has met certain conditions, such as the number of consecutive titles won or the overall number of times the player has held the title.

The appearance of the junior high school shogi pro in the semifinal of the competition attracted 600 or so fans to the Yurakucho Asahi Hall to witness the historic encounter.