Japan’s youngest professional Shogi player, 14 year-old Sota Fujii, defeated the oldest high-ranked player, 76 year-old Hifumi Kato, in his debut match. When Fujii went professional in October, he had also broken a 63 year record held by Kato for being the youngest player to go pro. After further losses in a following tournament, Kato has fallen sufficiently in rank as to face mandatory retirement.
Karolina Styczynska, 25 years-old of Poland, has become the first non-Japanese woman professional Shogi player. She earned her promotion to second-kyu (class) joryu at a recent tournament in Tokyo but her interest in Shogi was sparked back in Poland by reading the manga, Naruto.
Guiness World Records has certified the world’s largest Ouija board, built on the roof of the haunted Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania. The board measures 121.01 m² (1,302.54 ft²).
The Google-sponsored AlphaGo computer program, which had previously defeated world Go champion Lee Sedol, racked up 59 wins playing anonymously online against a variety of masters.
Sergey Karjakin, who had lost the recent World Chess Championship to Magnus Carlsen in tiebreak games, managed to best his rival on tiebreak criteria to claim the top position in the World Blitz Championship. At the same tournament, Vassily Ivanchuk won the World Rapid Championship, while Anna Muzychuk won both rapid and blitz titles in the women’s section.
Wesley So won the London Chess Classic, putting him at the top of the four-stop Grand Chess Tour. His total prize winnings on the Tour: $295,000.
University students in Wageningen, Netherlands created the world’s largest Monopoly board, along with dice and houses all to-scale. Made with the support of Hasbro and certified by Guiness World Records, the board measured 900.228 m² (9,689.97 ft²). The previous record, set in the United States earlier this year, was 744.867 m² (8,017.69 ft²).
It was two Dutchmen who faced off in the World Draughts Championship. Roel Boomstra came away the winner.
Here’s a machine solving a standard 3×3 Rubik’s Cube in 0.637 seconds:
The 2016 World Chess Championship in New York ended with Magnus Carlsen of Norway still at the top, though as I watched the match proceed, I was starting to wonder if he had it in him. After seven draw games, the first win went to challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia. But two games later, Magnus scored a win of his own, and at the end of the 12 regulation games, all was tied. The tie-break rapid games were where Magnus showed his strength. The first two settled on draws but the next two went to the champion. Still, an impressive performance as well by Sergey and a very interesting series of games.
In the women’s Chess circuit, Ju Wenjun of China finished ahead of the Women’s Grand Prix, qualifying her to face Hou Yifan also of China in the 2017 Women’s World Championship.
Chris Cadman of Scotland took home the Silver Perudo Cup trophy of the World Perudo Championship (Liar’s Dice) in London.
Many Rubik’s Cube world records have fallen recently:
The team from Greece won the World Magic: The Gathering Cup surpassing other top 8 finalist teams from Finland, Australia, Ukraine, Panama, Belarus, and Belgium.
A group from France beat out a field of 64 teams to win the Hide-and-Seek World Championship. The event was held in the abandoned town of Consonno, Italy.
In one game at the Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, Dana Reizniece-Ozola defeated the Women’s World Champion, Hou Yifan, despite being ranked 400 Elo points lower. Dana is no stranger to such lofty achievements, however. At 34 years of age, she is a longtime Chess competitor , holds graduate degrees in Translation & Terminology and Business Administration (in addition to further graduate studies in Law, International Business, and Aerospace Management), can speak six languages, and is also the Finance Minister of Latvia.
Grandmaster Timur Gareyev broke the world record for consecutive games of blindfold Chess. In fact, most of the 64 games (54 wins, 8 losses, 2 draws) he played while pedaling an exercise bicycle.
After declaring Monopoly an official sport, the Lagos State Sport Commission of Nigeria hosted a world record 1,300 people playing Monopoly at the same time in a single venue. That achievement was recorded at the state’s Under-17 Monopoly Championship, where also Elizabeth Braimoh of Top Field College took home the trophy and a NGN600,000 education grant prize (about $2,000).
Eight winners secured second interviews at an annual Mahjong tournament meant as a job recruiting event for university students in Japan.
At the Asian Rubik’s Cube Championship in Beijing, Kevin Hays of the United States solved a 6×6 Rubik’s Cube in a world record 1 minutes, 32.77 seconds.
Not for speed, Tony Fisher demonstrated in a video solving the world’s smallest Rubik’s Cube (5.6 mm on a side). To get one so small, he had a 6 mm one 3D printed by Shapeways and then filed it down further.
Among the activities that Cem Karabay of Turkey kept himself busy with during a world-record scuba dive of 142 hours, 42 minutes, and 42 seconds were underwater games of Backgammon.
Allan Silva of Brazil has won his fourth consecutive Pan American Draughts Championship.
The North American Scrabble Championship and a $10,000 prize was won by David Gibson, who in the final defeated his opponent 397-371 with words such as “drearies”, “serrano”, orcinols”, and “spelter” (none of which are recognized by my spell-checker).
Neil Scallon of the U.K. claims a world-record collection 2,500 copies of Monopoly but also says he hasn’t played a board game in 20 years.
Sota Fujii, a 14 year-old middle school student from Aichi Prefecture, Japan, has achieved 4th dan status, breaking the record for youngest professional Shogi player ever.
Brett Smitheram of the U.K. took home the trophy, a €7,000 grand prize, and a kiss to the feet at the World Scrabble Championship in Lille, France. His win was secured with 176 points from the play of “braconid” (a species of wasp) for a bingo on a triple word score.
Londoners commemorated the Great Fire of London with the toppling of 23,000 dominoes strung through 4 miles of city streets, markets, pubs, gardens, and a church.
With a win at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis (and its $75,000 prize), Wesley So of the United States is nearly assured of also taking the top prize for the entire Grand Chess Tour. That is, unless maybe Magnus Carlsen decides to step back in for the London Chess Classic in December after finishing the World Chess Championship.
The winner of the 40th World Chess Solving Championship (a tournament of solving Chess puzzles) held in Belgrade, Serbia was Zaur Mammadov of Azerbaijan. The second place winner was also from Azerbaijan.
Draughts also finished a World Championship of Problems recently, with Alexander Moiseyev of the United States in first place.
The winner of the 2016 Magic: The Gathering World Championship, Brian Braun-Duin of Virginia, was described by WOTC as having taken the “everyman’s journey to the top.” “Grinding” through tournament tours, he had set himself a goal of Grand Prix Master for this season but managed to trump that, going home with the big trophy.
At the 2016 World Championship Domino Tournament hosted by the Andalusia (Alabama) Rotary Club, the winner, Jerry Baker, was from nearby Ozark, Alabama. In fact, all the winners were from the Southeast United States.
A world record for the largest circle field of dominoes (76,017 toppled) was set in Westland, Michigan, along with the U.S. record for total dominoes toppled (242,518). A team of 18 spent 10 days setting up the feat.
Three retirees from China finishing on top of the 11th Austrian Mahjong Open was seen as something of a comeback after an embarrassing showing at the Open Mahjong Championship 2 years ago in France, where the highest placed competitor from China came in 30th.
It was an Austrian, Wolfgang Leitner, who won the 2016 FISTF World Cup in Belgium, where 500 competitors gathered to play table football (Subbuteo).
In first place at the 41st Backgammon World Championship was Jörgen Granstedt of Sweden.
At the European Rubik’s Cube Championship, Feliks Zemdegs of Australia set seven world records, including one for solving a 7×7 in 2 minutes, 20.66 seconds. At the PSU Open, August 28th in Novopolotsk, Belarus, Roman Strakhov of Russia set a world record by solving a 5×5 Rubik’s Cube, blindfolded in 5 minutes, 1.40 seconds. Just a few days later, however, at the SPB Championship, September 4th in St. Petersburg, Roman bested himself by finishing the 5×5 blindfolded in just 4 minutes, 55.63 seconds.
And the winner of the Pentamind World Championship was Andres Kuusk—his fourth time! The Pentamind is a meta-event, incorporating multiple games of one Chess variant, Scrabble, Go, Poker, and Backgammon.
At the world’s largest Scrabble tournament, the King’s Cup in Bangkok, the favorite going in was Pichai Limprasert, who had won all six previous tournaments in Thailand this year. Scrabble powerhouse Nigel Richards, too, was down in seventh place, so after 24 rounds, Pichai’s chances were still looking good. But never bet against Nigel in Scrabble. He managed to claw his way back to a spot opposite Pichai in the final, where he won with scores of 445-403, 397-491, and 469-356.
Though leading the Grand Chess Tour, Magnus Carlsen has withdrawn to begin preparing for the World Chess Championship in November against Sergey Karjakin.
The winner of the 22nd World Computer Chess Championship was Komodo, a program out of the United States running on a 48-core Intel i7 platform. The previous champion was Jonny, a German program running on a 2,400-core AMD x86-64 platform. After Komodo and Jonny tyed for first at scores of 7.5/10 in the main part of the tournament, it took five drawn games of increasingly tighter time limits before Komodo won in the sixth.
Guillermo Rodriguez of Spain took home the trophy at WizKids Dice Masters World Championship by going with a Mask Ring team but substituting in a Half-Elf Bard from Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerûn.
Feliks Zemdegs has set another Rubik’s Cube world record, a 6.45 second average in the standard 3×3.
In Singapore, 605 people broke the world record for the most people playing Monopoly at the same time in a single venue. They were, though, allowed to stop playing after 30 minutes.
At 10 years and 9 months old, R. Praggnanandhaa of India is the youngest ever to qualify for the International Master title in Chess.
Li Chao of China postponed his wedding to accept a late invitation to the Norway Chess tournament. He was asked to fill in for Sergey Karjakin, who withdrew to begin preparing for the World Chess Championship.
These guys played Jenga Giant while the blocks were on fire!
Already the top professional Go player in Europe, Fan Hui has improved his game by 300 points since he began practicing against Google Alpha Go computer program.
Webster University’s fourth consecutive win of the President’s Cup (also known as the Final Four of College Chess) ties the previous record set by the University of Maryland Baltimore County 2003-2006. It’s also the sixth consecutive win for the team’s coach, Susan Polgar, who before Webster worked with Texas Tech University.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the tremendous successes of Nigerian Scrabble players, attributing it in large part to a “surprising strategy of playing short words.” Slate, responding directly to that article, pointed out that the importance of short words has been recognized by avid Scrabble players for many years.
Taking three straight games in the best-of-five final round gave Adam Logan his fifth win of the Canadian National Scrabble Championship.
The first world champion for the latest incarnation of the DragonBall Z TCG is Timoth Batow of Florida. Mr. Batow first dreamed of the title 16 years ago but moved on to competitive Poker while the game was without a publisher 2006-2014.
Alexander Georgiev broke the world record for simultaneous games of Draughts. In Alemere, Netherlands he took on 45 opponents, winning 24 games, drawing 20, and losing just one over 4 hours, 35 minutes.
When World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen took part in a recent open tournament, the move was not only seen as unusual but also immediately questioned when he drew in the first round against a much lower ranked player. Further games, though, saw him back in good form and after besting Yu Yangyi of China 2-0 in the speed tie-break, Carlsen was able to claim first prize at the Qatar Open.
Marcel Peters’ 19 moves to solve a standard 3×3 Rubik’s Cube at Cubelonia 2016 in Cologne, Germany was a world record for fewest moves.
The Top Chess Engine Championship saw Komodo calculate its way ahead of 23 other digital competitors to claim the title for the second series in a row. In the final round, facing Stockfish, another former champion, Komodo won eight games, Stockfish won two, and 90 were a draw.
Among humans, the Manhattan Applesauce defeated favorite team, the St. Louis Arch Bishops, to claim the 2015 United State Chess League Championship. The crucial win in that contest came on the fourth board when 12 year-old Akira Nakada defeated Nicholas Rosenthal.
Though he didn’t have an easy time of it, World Champion Magnus Carlsen won the London Chess Classic and therefore also the Grand Chess Tour.
A Chess game of a different sort took place in Lake Sartash in Russia. Yes, I do mean “in the lake“, which by the way, was frozen over at the time.
At the River Hill Fall event in Maryland, first Keaton Ellis beat the 3×3 Rubik’s Cube single-solve world record with a 5.09 second performance, then Lucas Etter topped that with a single-solve in 4.90 seconds.
Meanwhile, at the MPEI Open in Moscow, Roman Strakhov solved a 5×5 blindfolded in a world record 5 minutes, 4.81 seconds.
Zhao Jian of China won the World Series of Mahjong in Macau. His prize was HK$406,000 and a 24 karat gold Mahjong neclace.
The winner of the Magic: The Gathering 2015 World Cup was team Italy.
The 2015 Perudo World Champion is Ian Smith of Scotland. He earned his silver cup for the game also known as Liar’s Dice at a tournament held in London and sponsored by Paul Lamond Games.
The Showdown in St. Louis Chess tournament paired Hikaru Nakamura with Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan with Parimarjan Negi in a series of matches including Basque Chess (where opponents play two games against each other simultaneously), Fischer Random (where the starting positions of pieces in the first rank are selected randomly), Rapid (with a time control of 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move), and Blitz (3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move). The big surprise came in Blitz, where Caruana took down Nakamura, the top-ranked player in that variation, 4.5-3.5. With that, Caruana was able to claim the $60,000 top prize. Between the women, Negi took both sides of the Basque but otherwise it was Yifan who dominated and claimed $30,000.
Tom Martell won his third Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix in Atlanta with an unexpected green deck.