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Shogi

Shogi is the Japanese equivalent of western chess and it is a game that can be enjoyed by a total of two players per game. The overall method of play is similar to normal chess with a few variations that I have displayed below. The game is deemed over either when a player checks mates the king, a draw occurs or an impasse. An impasse is when the kings are located in the opposing promotions zones and there is slim chance of gaining new pieces or checking. If an impasse does eventuate the losing player is determined with points. Points are gifted via the remaining pieces on the board with the rook and bishop worth 5 and all other players excluding the king are worth 1 point. The player who has less than 28 points loses the game, if the circumstance arises where both players score more than 28 than it is classed as a draw.

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How to play Shogi

For this game you will require a traditional Shogi chessboard. This board differs from the western chess with it being one unified colour, rectangular in shape and in size it should be 9×9. Alongside this board you will need the 40 wedge shaped pieces, 20 for each player. Written on the surface of each of these wedges is the name of the piece, these are detailed below in order of rank:

The wedges that you will be playing with are double side; on the side detailed in black ink the above names are assigned. But when a piece is promoted it is flipped over to reveal a character in red. Listed below is the pieces original names and what they are termed after promotion.

Movement of pieces

  • King: the king can move one space in any direction
  • Rook: can move an unlimited amount of spaces in an orthogonal direction.
  • Bishop: can move diagonally for an unlimited amount of spaces.
  • Gold Generals: one space in an orthogonal direction or one space diagonally forward.
  • Silver General: one space forward either in an orthogonal or diagonally direction.
  • Knight: One space forward plus and one space diagonally forward.
  • Lance: any amount of spaces directly forward.
  • Pawns: one space forward. Also when they want to take an opposing players piece they still move in a forward direction.

Promotion

Once a piece is promoted by moving into the furthermost three rows of the board, the movement of the players is subsequently altered, though only for the rook and bishop the rest move in their original manner. The only player that cannot be promoted is the king but the remaining pieces have the capabilities.

Set up

Before you commence the game you will need to accurately position the pieces on the board. The king will go in the centre position at the row closet to the player. The two gold generals are place directly next to the king one on either side furthermore the silver generals are placed next to the gold ones in the same manner. Following this on the same row the Knights and lastly the lances are placed. This completes the first row.

In the second row there will only be the bishop and the rook. The bishop will be placed directly in front of the left knight whereas the rook will be positioned in front of the right knight.

In the third and final row all nine pawns will be positioned on the board.

Drops

Unlike western chess, in shogi when a piece is captured it can still return to the game. This is achieved by a player placing a piece they have seized on an empty space on the board. If placed in the promotion zone they do not get promoted on the drop but on subsequent turns they may.

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