Assessing your Strength

Ever wonder how strong you became of Shogi play? If you believe you might be already at a strength of Dan player, There is a way to find out.

Ever wonder how strong you became of Shogi play? If you believe you might be already at a strengh of Dan player, There is a way to find out.


Note: Unfortunately, Mainichi has decided to discontinue the service that is described in this article.  The service will be discontinued as of March 31st, 2012.

Several periodical publications carries "Dan-i nintei (段位認定)" or Shogi ability assessment quiz or test. General idea is that you mail out or e-mail your answers to those problems, and in return you will recieve points for correct answers. If you accumulate enough points within a predetermined time period, then you receive an eligibility notice for a Kyuu or Dan degree so you can feel good about it.

Now if you have some money to spare, you can send this notice to Japan Shogi Federation along with your money. In return they will send you a certificate endorsed by Shogi masters' endorsement signatures (Those are of chairman of JSF,+ Meijin Title holder + Ryuuou Title holder at the time of issurance of the certificate).

The eligibility notice is valid for one year to make this request. Hidetchi shows such a certificate in one of his youtube videos. Among several such programs, probably the most prestigious program is the one offered on "Shogi World" monthly periodical magazine, which is hosted by JSF themselves. These tests will tell you if you are a kyuu player or a dan player.

But by far the easiest to access for oeverseas players is the one run by Mainichi daily newspaper because their quiz is also available online and it runs on weekly schedule. However, this test only assess you for dan degrees and not for kyu degree.

A little class on dan/kyuu degree is in order. When you are a novice, you will start from 15 kyuu. When you progress, your kyu number will (hopefully) decrease towards 1 kyuu. After 1 kyuu, you will rise to 1 dan (or Sho-dan) and then to 2 dan, 3 dan, etc., When somebody is good enough to be called amaturer 4 or 5 dan in his youth, he might want to try for professional life. There is a test for admission to Sho-rei-kai, or Shogi academy school. If he passes the test, he will be given 6 kyu (pro) rank and will start at Sho-rei-kai. You need to rise to 3 dan from there (and there is a time limit for this) and every year, the four highest ranking 3 dans will be accepted to the rank of professional shogi player as 4 dan. Once 4 dan, they are a part of C2 league and also eligible for participating in many tournaments.  On the other hand, many hopeful shogi players will not make it and have to leave the school though.

OK, enough for the Dan/Kyu talk. This is how the Mainich assessment works. Every wednesday (Except for summer and Winter holidays) or so, they posts two Shogi problems along with three possible answers labeled A),B) and C) for each problems on their site. You figure out which answer is correct for each problem and submit answers on the site,along with your name, some geographical information of you and your e-mail address.

Once you do this, the automated e-mail system will notify you that the site recieved your submission. When next wednesday comes, you will receive another e-mail notifying you how you fared on the problems. If you answer both problem correctly, you get 20 points. If you only answer one problem correctly, you get 10 points. If you failed two problems, you get 0 points. You continue taking this assessment every week for 10 weeks . Every week, the system will send you e-mail which contains how you did for that week and also total points you received up to that week.

If you accumulate 200 points in 10 weeks (in another word, score 100% for 10 weeks successively), then you will receive a eligibility notice for amaturer 6 dan. See below table for point vs. Dan degre you receive.

200 points 6 dan (Rokudan = 六段)
190 points 5 dan (Godan = 五段)
180 points 4 dan (Yondan = 四段)
170 points 3 dan (Sandan = 三段 or 参段)
160 points 2 dan (Nidan = 二段 or 弐段)
150 points 1 dan (or Shodan = 初段)
140 points and below Sorry!

If it is determined that you will not reach at least 150 points in 10 weeks (in another word, if you fail 5 problems in less than 10 weeks) then your points will be reset to 0 and new 10 weeks will start.

Note that if you skip a week, that week will be counted as zero point too. By the way, you can re-submit to correct your answers before they post answers to the site. (7 days window)

With this system, you can start your challenge anytime.

If you are interested in taking this assessment, See "submitting response"  in the menu bar  for more explanation of how to navigate to the Mainichi site, how you look at those problems, and most importantly how you can submit your answers.

If you are not sure if you are up to the test, The site also maintains archive of previous problems so you can see them, try to answer them and find out how many problems you can solve. See "Reviewing Archives"

If you have actually received eligiblity notice and would like to get a real certificate, here is a price list for each dan. Yes, really. Aren't you glad that you were sitting in the chair?

Cost of the Dan Certificate

If you are unwavered with the cost, instruction on how to apply for the certificate is included in your eligibility notice (in Japanese).

The whole process is the online transaction so you can do it from anywhere. then you shall wait for the certificate to arrive. The certificate will arrive in a very elegant Japanese style wooden box. I will complete that part of explanation if somebody decides he really want to do this and send me a message for instruction translation.  but in the meantime, look at this JSF page and dream about your Dan diploma...

This page last updated : 4 years, 11 months ago