Nishida points out that Taichi's strength and weakness is seeing karuta only as a mental contest. He says Taichi needs to start taking practice swings, so he can learn the distance to the cards. At the eastern qualifier, Sudō tells Chihaya that colleges give scholarships to students who place first or second in national tournaments. Chihaya inadvertently bets Sudō that the first one of them to lose must shave their head. In the first round, Chihaya faces Ririka Tachikawa, a child prodigy hailed as the next Shinobu. Chihaya focuses on timing before switching back to speed and winning the round. Harada tells Tsuboguchi that he wants Chihaya to have more weapons than just her talent. At the western qualifier, Shinichi Murao, Arata's usual karuta partner, loses in the first round and tells Arata that no one can beat Hisashi Suō, the current master, anyway. Taichi texts Arata saying that Chihaya won the first round and that he expects Arata to be the western finalist.