ShogiHub / News release: Japan Shogi Association and Ricoh have come together to develop "Ricoh Shogi AI Game Recording System"

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Japan Shogi Association and Ricoh have come together to develop "Ricoh Shogi AI Game Recording System"

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Published at: 2019-06-20 08:00

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Public Interest Incorporated Association Japan Shogi Association (JSA, the president : Sato Yasumitsu) and Ricoh Company, Ltd. (President and CEO: Yamashita Yoshinori)developed "Ricoh Shogi AI Game Recording System" (so-called "Ricoh Kiroku") which is able to record games automatically by AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology to address the shortage of recording staffs. JSA and Ricoh will start a collaborative experiment from July 2019.

Currently, JSA holds more than 3,000 games annually, and recording staffs keep the piece movement and time manually on every single game. Thus far, members of Shoreikai, a competitive "school" to become professional Shogi players, mainly keep game records. In the meantime, the shortage of recording staffs has become a chronic problem because the number of Shoreikai members who go to high-school or college is increasing, plus the number of games is going up. There has been a concern that it will eventually be not possible to keep all the "game records", which are important assets of JSA and sponsors of each tournament.

Instead of done by recording staffs, this Ricoh Kiroku system is capable of automatically recording the progress of shogi games, via the image processing function and AI technology developed by Ricoh. It is expected to substantially relief the shortage of recording staffs by a real-time data transmission of a game record generated from AI software, which analyzes motion picture data photographed by a fixed-point camera being set on the ceiling.

JSA and Ricoh are aiming to experimentally adopt it for feasibility studies from the 9th of Ricoh Cup Ladies Oza Match scheduled on July 2019, and to start full-scale operation from April 2020.

Ricoh has sponsored Ricoh Cup Ladies Oza Match since 2011. In addition, Ricoh Shogi Club has won the first prize of S-Kyu at Prime Minister Cup Shogi competition among Occupational organizations for seven years in a row, and has accumulated a great deal of know-how related to Shogi games by having involved in Shogi.

As one of the efforts for developing AI technology, Ricoh established "AI Research Field Center" in 2017, where they apply AI to products and engage in their internal business reform. Aiming to develop world-class AI technology by developing unique and advanced technologies, and at the same time Ricoh will try to make AI more versatile so that it can be widely used to solve the problems that customers have.

The "Ricoh Shogi AI Game Recording System" is released as an example of AI applications to solve customers' daily issues. This system can help JSA with promoting "Work style reform" which will lead to flourish Shogi culture.

The comment from Sato Yasumitsu, the president of JSA (Summary)

Game records play an important role as incontrovertible evidence for professional Shogi players and Ladies shogi players. Every single game record is a great achievement with the utmost care. Game records are not only a core of each player's professional career, but also are significant assets for JSA. I suppose that these records show enjoyment of Shogi and characteristics of pro players, and attracts Shogi fans.

JSA has kept all of official game records, and more than 100 thousand games were recorded into our database as of today. Currently, recording staffs keep the sequence of moves of more than 3,000 official games a year, however there's a chronic shortage of recording staffs. The members of Shoreikai serve as recording staffs, but the number of Shoreikai members who go to high-school or college is increasing, plus the number is games is going up.

Under such circumstances, we expect that our partnership with Ricoh may solve this problems and we can take a new step for better usage of AI.

The comment from Furushima Tadashi, Corporate Vice President at Ricoh Co Ltd. /General Manager of Innovation/R&D Division and General Manager of Intellectual Property Division/ President at Ricoh Shogi Club (Summary)

Ricoh has sponsored Ladies' Oza Tournament since 2011 with a strong partnership with JSA. We began as a printer and copier manufacturer, but have greatly expanded our areas of business not only for offices but also for communities by providing value-added services to help people work smarter.

The "Ricoh Kiroku" will be able to convey enjoyment of Shogi to the stake holders of Shogi including fans, and reduce the workforce issues with its automatic game recording system powered by the AI-driven image recognition.
This is the first time for Ricoh to apply AI to a cultural scene. We believe that we can expand our AI business in the future and help people in various areas.

At the press conference, a demonstration game was played by Suzuki Daisuke, an executive director of JSA, and Nishio Akira, an executive director of JSA, to exhibit how "Ricoh Shogi AI Game Recording System" works (Shown in the photo below).



Translated by Miki Suemasa