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12-year-old Rikka Mitsuyama becomes Japan Women's Chess Champion 2022

by Mayur Gondhalekar - 12/10/2022

12-year-old Rikka Mitsuyama scored an impressive 5/6 to become the newest Japan Women's Chess Champion 2022. She remained undefeated and finished a half point ahead of the competition. Melody Takayasu and WCM Azumi Sakai scored 4.5/6 and 4/6 respectively to secure second and third place respectively. Japan Senior Chess Championship 2022 also took place simultaneously, which was won by Takeshi Gishi. He started with five straight wins before splitting the point in the final round to win the tournament 5.5/6. Top seed of the tournament Teruomi Higashishiba and Seiichi Ogasa were placed second and third scoring 5/6 and 4.5/6 respectively. Mayur Gondhalekar writes the report of both events. Photo: National Chess Society of Japan

Takeshi Gishi is the Japan Senior Chess Champion 2022

Japan’s Chess calendar has some important events penciled in for each year. The Womens’ Chess Championship, and Seniors’ Chess Championship being two of them. This year, both events were held on the heels of the 44th Chess Olympiad held in Chennai, India.

Japan Women's Chess Champion 2022 - Rikka Mitsuyama 5/6 | Photo: National Chess Society of Japan

The National Chess Society of Japan organized the Women’s Chess Championship 2022, right on the heels of the 44th Chess Olympiad, on August 20th and 21st. The tournament consisted of six rounds, with a time control of 45 minutes + 30 seconds/move from move 1.

Japan Women's Chess Championship 2022 Top 3 (L to R) - 3rd WCM Azumi Sakai, 1st Rikka Mitsuyama and 2nd Melody Takayasu | Photo: National Chess Society of Japan

Three members of the Olympiad team – Mitsuyama Rikka, Sakai Azumi, and Misawa Yuki – participated in this tournament, which saw an overall participation of thirteen players. As luck would have it, Rikka and Azumi faced off in the first round. What a game it was! They went into a Rook and Pawns endgame on move 36, with Rikka being the defensive side. After a long fight, on move 100, she found a very nice mad-rook stalemate trick eventually drawing the game after 107 moves! Both o them made up for this ‘slow’ start with fantastic performances in the further rounds.


In the article introducing Japan’s Chess Olympiad teams, about Rikka, I had written “A player to watch, for sure!”. She played impressive games at the Olympiad but had difficulty in the conversions. Back on home turf, she showed her class. A win against the leader Ishizuka Mirai in Round 4 put her in sole lead.

But a draw in the next round meant that a last round win was needed to win the tournament outright. That is exactly what happened, and Japan got its newest (and probably the youngest) Women’s Champion, in 2022: Mitsuyama Rikka all of age 12 who won with a staggering 5.0/6.


Takayasu Melody, who played in the online Olympiad for Japan previously, made a good comeback to finish second with 4.5/6, while Sakai Azumi won third place on tie-breaks with 4.0/6.


Winners and top finishers in this tournament also qualify for Chess Olympiad, as well as Japan Chess Championship for the following year. Mitsuyama Rikka qualified for both, while Takayasu Melody qualified for the Japan Chess Championship 2023.

Replay all Japan Women's Championship 2022 games

Final standings in Japan Women's Chess Championship 2022

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgNClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
16Mitsuyama RikkaJPN1277052017,516,257098
22Takayasu MelodyJPN176704,519,51714,007098
31WCMSakai AzumiJPN17830422,52014,257114
43Ishizuka MiraiJPN169404222012,507028
54WCMHasegawa EmiJPN158904181710,005729
65Misawa YukiJPN134003,522,521,512,008110
77Fujiwara KaoriJPN11410321,519,58,005882
813Okabe YukiJPN00320,518,57,505615
911Nakamura JunkoJPN750R1 bye315146,753193
108Yamada MisakiJPN1140R1 bye2,522,519,57,504827
1110Inoue SatomiJPN91202,517,516,54,505161
129Mihara SonokaJPN10550216,515,54,003747
1312Bhatia Ramneet KaurJPN00118163,004896


The National Chess Society of Japan organized the Seniors’ Chess Championship 2022, a little over a week after the 44th Chess Olympiad, on August 20th and 21st running parallel to the Womens’ Chess Championship 2022. The tournament consisted of six rounds, with a time control of 45 minutes + 30 seconds/move from move 1 and participants had to be above 50 years of age to participate.

Japan Senior Chess Champion 2022 - Takeshi Gishi 5.5/6 | Photo: National Chess Society of Japan

This tournament saw the participation of seventeen players where Mr. Gishi Takeshi (55) ran away with the tournament with a score of 5.5/6. He scored five wins in the first five rounds, and only settled for a draw in the last round against Mr. Ogasa Seiichi (68) from Chiba Chess Club.

Japan Senior Chess Championship 2022 Top 3 (L to R) - 3rd Seiichi Ogasa, 1st Takeshi Gishi and 2nd Teruomi Higashishiba | Photo: National Chess Society of Japan

Mr. Manabe Hiroshi, the Director of NCS Japan also participated in the tournament and finished at a respectable sixth place.

The winners with fellow participant and Director of NCS Japan, Mr. Hiroshi Manabe (left most) | Photo: National Chess Society of Japan

The top three winners were Gishi Takeshi with 5.5/6, Higashishiba Teruomi with 5.0/6 both of whom qualified for Japan Chess Championship 2022, and Ogasa Seiichi with 4.5/6. Mr. Ogasa also won first place in Over 65 category.


The winners of both tournaments had performances which were quite like this pretty mountain, standing high up above the rest…

Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest (3776 m), with the summit above the clouds! | Photo: Mayur Gondhalekar

Replay Japan Senior Chess Championship 2022 games

Final standings of Japan Senior Chess Championship 2022

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgNClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
13Gishi TakeshiJPN197505,519,521,519,258827
21AIMHigashishiba TeruomiJPN205705192115,509079
39Ogasa SeiichiJPN163004,519,521,513,758907
410Aoki YasuhiroJPN15780418,52112,259036
513Bhatia PraveenJPN13280415,517,510,758037
62Manabe HiroshiJPN199903,520,52310,508758
76Robertson PhilJPN17270318,5219,258005
88Koyama NobuyukiJPN17030316,517,55,508146
912Matsumoto KenshinJPN14330316176,506664
107Ishii IchiroJPN17150315165,507926
115Mizumoto TakahiroJPN17660314156,257652
124Kanda DaigoJPN177202,518217,508819
1311Takayasu NobuyukiJPN156302,517,519,56,506499
1414Kanehara HiromichiJPN126302,516,519,58,006874
1517Matsumoto ShinjiJPN11590219204,007310
1616Obata AkitoshiJPN11800217,5205,506662
1715Suzuki TomojiJPN12620115173,006617


About the Author

Mayur is an IT engineer and a chess enthusiast from Mumbai, working in Japan since 2013. He has played over-the-board tournaments in India, USA and Japan. He has also been a top three finisher in a one-day OTB events in Japan in 2013, 2015, 2017 and online blitz in 2020. Currently he is making use of online platforms for chess improvement and learning Ayurveda. He loves salsa dancing, reading, traveling and teaching.

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