Professional shogi players will soon have to lock away their smartphones for the duration of matches because of concerns about cheating.
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.
Shogi is sometimes called “Japanese chess”, and requires players to strategise in the same way as its Western variant. But 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.
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