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Monday, June 11, 2012

Chess in Japanese Night Club with Nigel Short

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

British Grandmaster Nigel Short was in Japan recently to take part in one of the biggest chess events in Japanese chess history - Check Mate Lounge! The event took place at a night club in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo, according to a nice report in Chessdom.

Nigel played against the two top FMs in Japan. One was Yoshiharu Habu, professional shogi (Japanese chess) player, and the other was Shinya Kojima, former Japan champion.

While shogi and go are quite popular, chess has not yet attracted much attention in Japan. Therefore, Shinya Kojima as the organiser asked his elder brother, Joji Kojima, for help to make this event as charming as ever for the Japanese audience. Joji Kojima is a jewelry designer whose aesthetic creation has been highly admired. Velours, the venue of the event, was one of the few prestigious night clubs in Japan, where Michael Jackson had a party while he stayed here.

Nigel Short played against Habu and Kojima in the Clock Simul style with 60 minutes plus 30 seconds/move. After two and a half hours, Habu drew with Short, while Kojima lost. Short praised Habu for his high skills, this is a second successful result for Habu after he had drawn last autumn with French Champion Vachier-Lagrave.

Joji Kojima (left), producer of the event, is widely known as a jewelry designer for Lady Gaga and many others

One of the reasons for this event to be considered unprecedentedly unique is its collaboration with Nico Nico Douga (possibly translated in English as “smile videos”). Nico Nico Douga is the biggest video sharing website in Japan. It resembles Youtube, but differs in that the audience’s comments may instantaneously be overlaid onto the video. Check Mate Lounge was uploaded live for more than seven hours. It had some 100,000 viewers and received over 70,000 comments.
Another Check Mate Lounge is planned for autumn 2012. We are currently looking for overseas players who could come and participate in it. To enter the show, visit the official site.

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