Shogi smartphone kerfuffle: Miura banned till year's end

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Shogi smartphone kerfuffle: Miura banned till year's end

Postby BB+ » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:24 pm

Well, at least good enough for a smartphone ban.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from ... e-37643356

BBC wrote:The Japan Shogi Association (JSA) has banned players from bringing the devices into match venues over suspicions that some are using breaks to consult apps that suggest their next move, the Asahi Shimbun reports. Phones will have to be kept in lockers so that they can't be accessed on breaks, and players won't be allowed to pop out of venues mid-match, either.

...software is now available that does the hard work for you, analysing previous match data to identify what a player should do next. The paper says that the apps are now so advanced that they can outperform professional players.

Anyone caught breaking the rules, which come into force on 14 December, will be expelled from the association. At matches before that date, players will have to go through metal detectors, the paper says.

Just days after the smartphone ban was announced, the JSA banned one of the game's top players until the end of the year over allegations that he had been cheating. Quoted by The Mainichi daily, Hiroyuki Miura says the accusations against him are "absolutely unjustified", and that he left the room repeatedly towards the end of a match simply to take a break, not to use shogi software.


Asahi Shimbun wrote:Shogi software apps now rival, and can even outperform, human players. They evaluate the situation of a game by turning to a vast pool of past match records and often come up with moves that a human would find difficult to think of.

As players are allowed to look at their smartphones during lunch breaks and when they leave their seats temporarily, it is suspected that this could be an opportunity for cheating.

Executives of the association on Sept. 26 interviewed shogi players for their opinions on the regulation of electronic devices. The executives presented a number of plans, which included forcing players to keep their smartphones and cellphones in a locker, forbidding them to go out during a match, and using a metal detector.

At least one player said that players may want to go out and get some fresh air during breaks, but a majority agreed to create rules to deter or prevent cheating, officials said.

Humans have performed poorly against computer software during the “Denosen” shogi series ever since the competition was founded in 2012. This year, Ponanza, the best-performing software, defeated 8-dan-ranked Takayuki Yamasaki, who represented humanity, in two straight matches.

Some human shogi players, having recognized the strength of computer software, have begun turning to computers for help when they review moves they have made in previous matches and when they weigh the potentials of novel moves they may use in future games. A smartphone would allow them to remotely control a personal computer located at their homes, where they have installed an app.

“It is fundamental to us shogi players that humans rack their brains in establishing match records,” said Akira Shima, a managing director with the JSA. “Cheating, if it happens, would compromise that basic premise.”


The Mainichi wrote:The JSA decided to take the punitive step against 42-year-old Miura because he failed to meet the deadline set by the association to submit a request to withdraw from an upcoming tournament. Allegations have surfaced that Miura was using shogi software during a match after a shogi player who played against him suggested that he had left his seat on many occasions in unusual ways. The JSA launched an investigation into the issue and interviewed Miura.

JSA Managing Director Akira Shima said at a news conference on Oct. 12 that when Miura was asked about why he had left his seat so many times toward the end of the match at an executive board meeting on Oct. 11, he explained, "I was taking a break in a room." Shima said that Miura told JSA officials he would skip the tournament, saying, "I will withdraw from the tournament because I can't play shogi under these circumstances." The JSA waited for his formal request to withdraw from the tournament until the 3 p.m. deadline on Oct. 12, but he failed to submit it, prompting the association to take the punitive step.
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