Habu's Magical Tour in Paris

Yoshiharu Habu gives a simul in Paris

The 22 may 2002

This is the last chapter of Habu's Magical Tour in Paris. The number of mails I received confirmed that many of you followed this great event through my reports. So I don't want to let you wait any further for this last report. Many would like to be there but unfortunately, Paris is a bit far away for most !

This last day is not the least day, especially for the shogi players ! And what a day it is !


Yoshiharu Habu's trip in Paris ends in a very beautiful lounge of the cultural service of the Ambassy of Japan in Paris. The ceiling and the walls are decorated with beautiful paintings and mouldings, with a perfect vue of the Arc of Triumph. Unfortunately, the weather is cloudy and we can not see the lounge illuminated by the sunshine.

Yoshiharu Habu honours the event by wearing the clothes kept for great occasions, such as big title games.

This afternoon begins with Yoshiharu Habu's interview by Joël Lautier, and filmed by a TV team. He then meets Boris Spassky, World Chess Champion in 1969. Later the famous Russian chess GM Mark Taïmanov comes to meet them.

Joël Lautier, Boris Spassky, Yoshiharu Habu

This is the second time that Yoshiharu Habu gives a simul in the west, and it was already in Paris ! In october 1994, just before the first game the the Ryu-O sen, Yoshiharu Habu gave a 6 boards simul. And I played there too :-)

This time, 12 shogi players sit in front of shogi bans and wait for the moves of the best world shogi player. Among the participants, Yasushi Ishikawa, a promising 8 years old Japanese, and Albrecht Heeffer who came from Gent, Belgium to play only one game !

After about one hour and a quarter, Yoshiharu Habu becomes victorious of 9 of the 12 games. The other winners are two Japanese members of the Ambassy of Japan (both at 6 piece handicap) and Eric Cheymol (at rook handicap).


At the end of the simul, Boris Spassky, World Chess Champion, and Yoshiharu Habu, 4 Crowns, lend themselves to the photographs and autographs sitting. I personnally took about seventy photographs on this only day, The must was to have a photograph with Yoshiharu Habu himself wearing his ceremonial clothes, with the Arc of Triumph behind !

Yoshisato Ukawa san offered to the World Chess Champion Boris Spassky a full set of shogi : the shogi pieces were made especially for him, only one set of those pieces exists in the world ! The shogi ban is made of a high quality wood, Yoshisato Ukawa san said to me that this wood has been designed to resist to fire !


Here is the table of the simul results :

Name                    Grade  Country  Handicap      Result
?                       ?      Japan    6 piece       Loss
?                       ?      Japan    6 piece       Win
?                       ?      Japan    6 piece       Win
Yasushi Ishikawa        ?      Japan    6 piece       Loss
Claude Debrieu        11 kyu   France   4 piece       Loss
Florian Guzek          4 kyu   France   4 piece       Loss
Emmanuel Schammelhout  1 kyu   France   2 piece       Loss
Philippe Tran          1 Dan   France   2 piece       Loss
Albrecht Heeffer       2 Dan   Belgium  2 piece       Loss
Guillaume Schmidt      3 Dan   France   Rook & Lance  Loss
Yoichi Ono             1 Dan   Japan    Rook          Loss
Eric Cheymol           4 Dan   France   Rook          Win

For interested players, I enclose my win. I use an idea from the amateur Student Meijin Kurokawa vs Makoto Nakahara Meijin : sente exchanges bishops, gets a useful pawn in hand and switches the rook to the 8th column to attack the king on the weak side :

[Sente "Eric Cheymol"]
[Gote "Yoshiharu Habu, 4 Crowns"]
[Date "2002/05/22"]
[Site "Paris"]
[Handicap "Rook"]
[Result "1-0"]
1.... P3d 2.P7f P4d 3.P4f G3b 4.S4h S4b 5.S4g P5d 6.S5f S4c 7.P4e Px4e 8.Bx2b+ Gx2b 9.Sx4e P'4d 10.S5f G3b 11.K6h K6b 12.K7h K7b 13.R4h N3c 14.S6h S6b 15.S7g S5c 16.P7e G5b 17.S7f P3e 18.G3h P9d 19.P9f P1d 20.G6h P1e 21.P8f P4e 22.N7g S54d 23.R4i P5e 24.S4g P2d 25.R8i P6d 26.P8e B'5d 27.R8f G6c 28.P6f P1f 29.Px1f P4f 30.S5h P3f 31.P6e Px6e 32.P'6d {Very good move, if Sx6e then B5e, K8b, P'6d, S7f and the game is unclear - Yoshiharu Habu} Gx6d 33.P8d Px8d 34.Rx8d P7d 35.Px7d {The key move - Yoshiharu Habu} P'8c 36.P7c+ Kx7c 37.B'5a K6c 38.Rx8c+ K5b 39.B8d+ P6f 40.+R8b P'7b 41.+Rx8a Bx7f 42.+Rx7b {Resigns}


I personnally apreciated these ten days as a chess and shogi player. Meeting Yoshiharu Habu in such conditions gave me the chance to discuss extensively with him.

Thanks to Joël Lautier for the grand master's hand organization of the second NAO Chess Masters tournament. He had the original idea to organize a chess IM norm tournament especially for Yoshiharu Habu, and to end the tour with a shogi simul.

Finally, don't forget, if you are in Japan, or if you can see Japanese TV, watch out the programs around end of june / beginning of july to see Habu's Magical Tour in Paris, a TBS TV team has filmed all the tour.