9th Dan player Amahiko Sato’s shogi match against Takuya Nagase, who is a four-time undefeated Oza (“Throne”) title holder, started with both players were wearing face masks.
This is in accordance with rules established last February stating that all players must wear face masks during matches “except for temporary occasions” or unless it is unavoidable for health reasons.
By the 112th move, which took place sometime around 11 p.m., Sato was contemplating his next move when he removed his mask so that it was dangling from one ear. He kept the mask in that state for at least 10 minutes before Nagase started repeatedly leaving the room, presumably to mention it to the officials and ask if it wasn’t grounds for losing the game.
Although the game was broadcast live by the Japan Shogi Association, there wasn’t anyone in the room with Sato and Nagase at the time who was authorized to call the game. As a result, it took some time for Association Director Daisuke Suzuki to confer with other officials about what was going on during which time Sato remained maskless for about an hour. In the end, at six minutes past midnight on the 124th move, Sato was handed a loss by foul for violating the mask rules.
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