Sixteen-year-old shogi prodigy Sota Fujii's winning streak since his debut in rank-deciding competitions was snapped Tuesday at 18, just short of a 52-year record of 19.
Fujii lost to Seiya Kondo, 22, in a match held in Osaka. The previous record of 18 consecutive wins in such competitions was established in 1967 by Makoto Nakahara, who is now 71.
Debuting as the youngest-ever professional shogi player at age 14 in October 2016, Fujii has been taking the shogi world by storm, smashing a series of records including becoming the youngest professional player to advance to the rank of seventh "dan" in May and to reach his 100th victory in official matches of the Japanese board game in December.
Fujii's 50-year-old teacher holding the same dan, Masataka Sugimoto, also lost a match Tuesday.
Their victory would have paved the way for their simultaneous advances to an upper class, the first such case in 32 years.
There are five classes in the tournament, and the winner of the top class can challenge the master.
Fujii climbed up from the lowest-ranking class to the class above after winning all 10 matches the previous season. Sugimoto is also in the same fourth-ranking class.