Dai dai shogi

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Dai dai shōgi (大大将棋 'huge chess') is a large board variant of shogi (Japanese chess). The game dates back to the 15th century and is based on the earlier dai shogi. Apart from its size, the major difference is in the range of the pieces and the “promotion by capture” rule. It is the smallest board variant to use this rule.

Rules of the game[edit]

Objective[edit]

The objective is to capture the opponent's king. Unlike standard shogi, pieces may not be dropped back into play after being captured.

Game equipment[edit]

Two players, Black and White (or sente and gōte), play on a board composed of squares in a grid of 17 ranks (rows) by 17 files (columns) with a total of 289 squares. The squares are undifferentiated by marking or color.

Each player has a set of 96 wedge-shaped pieces of 64 different types. In all, the players must remember 68 different moves. The pieces are of slightly different sizes, from largest to smallest (or roughly most to least powerful) they are:

Many of the English-language names are chosen to correspond to their rough equivalents in Western chess, not necessarily as translations of the Japanese names.

Each piece has its name in the form of two Japanese characters marked on its face. On the reverse side of some pieces are one or two other characters, often in a different color (e.g., red instead of black); this reverse side is used to indicate that the piece has been promoted during play. The pieces of the two sides do not differ in color, but instead each piece is shaped like a wedge, and faces forward, toward the opposing side. This shows who controls the piece during play.

Listed below are the pieces of the game and, if they promote, which pieces they promote to.

Table of pieces[edit]

Relatively few pieces promote (or demote) in dai dai shogi. A few pieces (*asterisked) only appear upon promotion.

Piece Kanji Rōmaji Abbrev. Promotes to
Jeweled general 玉将 gyokushō K
King general 王将 ōshō K
Angry boar 嗔猪 shincho AB
Bishop 角行 kakugyō B
Blind monkey 盲猿 mōen BM mountain witch
Blue dragon 青龍 seiryū BD
Cat sword 猫刄 myōjin CS dragon horse
Copper general 銅将 dōshō C
Dove 鳩槃 kyūhan Do
Dragon horse 龍馬 ryūme DH
Dragon king 龍王 ryūō DK
Eastern barbarian 東夷 tōi Ea lion
Enchanted badger 変狸 henri EB dove
Enchanted fox 変狐 henko EF she-devil
Evil wolf 悪狼 akurō EW
Ferocious leopard 猛豹 mōhyō FL
Flying dragon 飛龍 hiryū FD dragon king
Flying horse 馬麟 barin FH free king
Fragrant elephant 香象 kōzō FE
Free demon 奔鬼 honki Fr
Free king 奔王 honnō FK
Free dream-eater 奔獏 honbaku FT
*Furious fiend 奮迅 funjin FF
Gold general 金将 kinshō G
Golden bird 金翅 kinshi GB
Great dragon 大龍 dairyū GD
*Great elephant 大象 taizō GE
Hook mover 鉤行 kōgyō HM
Howling dog 𠵇犬 † kiken HD 𠵇
Iron general 鉄将 tesshō I
Kirin 麒麟 kirin Kr great dragon
Lance 香車 kyōsha L
Left chariot 左車 sasha LC
Left general 左将 sashō LG
Lion 獅子 shishi Ln furious fiend
Lion dog 狛犬 komainu LD great elephant
Long-nosed goblin 天狗 tengu Lo
*Mountain witch 山母 sambo MW
Neighboring king 近王 kinnō NK standard bearer
Northern barbarian 北狄 hokuteki No fragrant elephant
Old kite 古鵄 kotetsu OK long-nosed goblin
Old rat 老鼠 rōso OR wizard stork
Pawn 歩兵 fuhyō p
Phoenix 鳳凰 hōō Ph golden bird
Poisonous snake 毒蛇 dokuja Po hook mover
Prancing stag 踊鹿 yōroku PS 鹿 square mover
Racing chariot 走車 sōsha Ra
Reverse chariot 反車 hensha Rv
Right chariot 右車 usha RC
Right general 右将 ushō RG
Rook 飛車 hisha R
Rushing bird 行鳥 gyōchō RB free demon
Savage tiger 猛虎 mōko ST
She-devil 夜叉 yasha SD
Side mover 横行 ōgyō SM
Silver general 銀将 ginshō S
Southern barbarian 南蛮 namban So white elephant
Square mover 方行 hōgyō Sq
Standard bearer 前旗 zenki SB
Stone general 石将 sekishō St
Vertical mover 竪行 shugyō VM
Violent bear 猛熊 mōyū VB
Violent ox 猛牛 mōgyū VO
Water buffalo 水牛 suigyū WB free dream-eater
Western barbarian 西戎 seijū We 西 lion dog
White elephant 白象 hakuzō WE
White tiger 白虎 byakko WT
*Wizard stork 仙鶴 senkaku WS
Wood general 木将 mokushō W

† The first kanji of Howling Dog may not appear in some fonts. It is a combined 口 and 奇.

Setup[edit]

Below is a diagram showing the setup of one player's pieces. The way one player sees their own pieces is the same way the opposing player will see their pieces.

Board layout
                                 
          HD           HD          
p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p
LC SM VO AB EW VB FL ST SB ST FL VB EW AB VO SM RC
BD FE No We W St I C GB C I St W Ea So WE WT
  VM   EF   WB   S GD S   FH   EB   B  
Rv OK Ln OR PS CS Ph G NK G Kr RB FD BM LD Po Rv
L Lo SD Ra DH Fr FK LG K RG FT DK Sq R Dv HM L

Game play[edit]

The players alternate making a move, with Black moving first. (The traditional terms 'black' and 'white' are used to differentiate the sides during discussion of the game, but are not literally correct.) A move consists of moving a piece on the board and potentially promoting the piece. Each of these options is detailed below.

Promotion[edit]

Unusually for a large-board shogi variant, only a minority of pieces (20 of 64) are able to promote. The rule for promotion in these larger games is different from smaller board variants.

A piece promotes at the end of its first move to make a capture. Promotion has the effect of changing how the piece moves (see the table above for what each piece promotes to), and is effected by turning the piece over after it moves, revealing the name of its promoted rank. Promotion for pieces able to do so is both compulsory and permanent.

This is very different from smaller shogi variants, where pieces promote when they cross a promotion zone (the enemy camp), and where promotion is optional. The dots on the dai dai shogi board that would represent promotion zones in other games only function as placement guides for the initial setup of the two camps.

Most promoting pieces promote to a piece that exists in the initial setup of the board. However, such a promoted piece cannot then promote a second time as its namesake does. For example, a lion promotes to a furious fiend. However, while an eastern barbarian promotes to a lion on its first capturing move, it does not further promote to a furious fiend on its second. Rather, it remains a lion for the rest of the game. This should be obvious from the game pieces, which only have two sides.

If a piece which is only able to move forward (a pawn, lance, stone general, wood general, or iron general) reaches the far rank, it is unable to move further and must remain there until captured.

Movement and capture[edit]

An opposing piece is captured by displacement: That is, if a piece moves to a square occupied by an opposing piece, the opposing piece is displaced and removed from the board. A piece cannot move to a square occupied by a friendly piece (meaning another piece controlled by the moving player).

Each piece on the game moves in a characteristic pattern. Pieces move either orthogonally (that is, forward, backward, left, or right, in the direction of one of the arms of a plus sign, +), or diagonally (in the direction of one of the arms of a multiplication sign, ×). The lion, lion dog, and furious fiend are exceptions, in that they do not move, or are not required to move, in a straight line.

If a piece that cannot retreat or move aside advances across the board until it can no longer move, it must remain there until captured. This applies to the pawn, lance, stone general, wood general, and iron general.

Many pieces are capable of several kinds of movement, with the type of movement most often depending on the direction in which they move. The movement categories are:

Step movers[edit]

Some pieces move only one square at a time. (If a friendly piece occupies an adjacent square, the moving piece may not move in that direction; if an opposing piece is there, it may be displaced and captured.)

Limited ranging pieces[edit]

Some pieces can move along a limited number (2, 3, or 5) of free (empty) squares along a straight line in certain directions. Other than the limited distance, they move like ranging pieces (see below).

Jumping pieces[edit]

Several pieces can jump, that is, they can pass over any intervening piece, whether friend or foe, with no effect on either. These are the lion, kirin, phoenix, and possibly the poisonous snake.

Ranging pieces[edit]

Many pieces can move any number of empty squares along a straight line, limited only by the edge of the board. If an opposing piece intervenes, it may be captured by moving to that square and removing it from the board. A ranging piece must stop where it captures, and cannot bypass a piece that is in its way. If a friendly piece intervenes, the moving piece is limited to a distance that stops short of the intervening piece; if the friendly piece is adjacent, it cannot move in that direction at all.

Hook moves (changing tack)[edit]

The hook mover and long-nosed goblin (tengu) can move any number of squares along a straight line, as a normal ranging piece, but may also abruptly change tack left or right by 90° at any one place along the route, and then continue as a ranging piece. Turning a corner like this is optional.

The range covered by a hook move is the equivalent of two moves by a rook, or two moves by a bishop, depending the piece. However, a hook move is functionally a single move: The piece cannot capture twice in one move, nor may it capture and then move on. It must stop before an intervening piece (unless it first changes direction to avoid it), and must stop when it captures, just like any other ranging piece. It can only change direction once per move.

Lion moves (multiple captures)[edit]

The lion, lion dog, and furious fiend have sequential multiple-capture abilities, called "lion moves". The details of these powerful moves are described for the lion, below.

Individual pieces[edit]

In the diagrams below, the different types of moves are coded by symbol and by color: Blue for step moves, yellow for jumps, green for multiple capture, and gray for range moves, as follows:

Notation
Steps a limited number of squares along a straight line.
Jumps to this square, bypassing any intervening piece.
! Igui (capture without moving). Counts as two steps.
May jump directly to this square, or reach it through a multiple-step move.
Ranges along a straight line, crossing any number of empty squares
May turn 90° at this square.

Piece names with a grey background are present at the start of the game; the four with a blue background only appear with promotion. Betza's funny notation has been included in brackets for easier reference, with the extension that the notation xxxayyyK stands for an xxxK move followed by an yyyK move, not necessarily in the same direction. Larger numbers of 'legs' can be indicated by repeated application of 'a'. Directional modifiers on continuation legs must be interpreted relative to the previous leg, where 'f' means 'continue in the same direction'; default is 'all directions'. The default modality of the final leg is the usual 'mc', but on non-final legs also includes a hop over an obstacle at their end-point, provided the path does not bend back on itself there. Other (combinations of) modalities would have to be written explicitly.

King (challenging) 玉将 gyokushō King (reigning) 王将 ōshō
             
             
       
       
       
             
             
  • Step: The king can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. (K)
             
             
       
       
       
             
             
  • Step: The king can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. (K)
Promoting pieces
Long-nosed goblin 天狗 tengu Hook mover 鉤行 kōgyō
         
         
       
       
       
         
         
  • Hook move: The tengu can move any number of free squares along one of the four diagonal directions, then (optionally) make a 90° turn and move any number of free squares in a perpendicular diagonal direction.
It may only change directions once per move.
  • Step: It can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions. (KmaB)
           
           
           
           
           
           
  • Hook move: The hook mover can move any number of free squares along one of the four orthogonal directions, then (optionally) make a 90° turn and move any number of free squares in a perpendicular orthogonal direction. (RmasR)
It may only change directions once per move.
Old kite 古鵄 kotetsu Poisonous snake 毒蛇 dokuja
Two different movements claimed for the old kite
             
           
       
   
           
           
             
English sources

This is how Japanese Wikipedia describes the move in tai shogi. The two games normally have the same moves.

  • Limited range: The old kite can step one or two squares in one of the four orthogonals.
  • Step: It can step one square diagonally forward. (R2fF)

         
         
         
   
             
             
             
Japanese Wikipedia
  • Range: The old kite can move any number of free squares diagonally forward.
  • Limited range: It can step one or two squares orthogonally sideways. (BrlR2)

Either way, the old kite promotes to a tengu (above).

Two different movements claimed for the poison snake
             
           
             
       
             
         
             
English sources
  • Jump: The poisonous snake can jump to the second square directly forward or diagonally backward.
  • Step: It can step one square to either side. (rlWfDbA)

             
           
       
   
           
             
             
Japanese Wikipedia

Japanese Wikipedia gives the same move for this piece in both dai dai shogi and tai shogi, unlike the old kite.

  • Limited range: The poisonous snake can step one or two squares directly forward or to either side.
  • Step: It can step one square diagonally forward or directly backward. (frlR2fFbW)

Either way, the poisonous snake promotes to a hook mover (above).

Great elephant 大象 taizō Furious fiend 奮迅 funjin
           
       
       
大象
       
       
       
Japanese Wikipedia
  • Range: The great elephant can move any number of free squares along one of the four orthogonal directions, or diagonally backward.
  • Limited range: It can move up to two free squares along either of the forward diagonals. (RbBfB2)

                     
                     
               
               
               
大象
               
               
               
                 
                 
English-language sources
  • First limited range: The great elephant can move up to five free squares directly sideways or diagonally backward.
  • Second limited range: It can move up to three free squares directly forward or backward, or diagonally forward. (rlR5bB5fbR3fB3)

The great elephant does not exist except as a promoted lion dog (below).

       
   
  ! ! !  
! !
  ! ! !  
   
       
  • Lion move: The furious fiend can move as a lion anywhere within a two-square distance, including jumps, double capture, igui, and passing a turn.
  • Limited range: It can move (but not jump) up to three free squares along one of the eight diagonals or orthogonals. (aKnHnG)

The furious fiend does not exist except as a promoted lion (below).

Lion dog 狛犬 komainu Lion 獅子 shishi
       
       
    ! ! !    
! !
    ! ! !    
       
       
Japanese Wikipedia
  • Lion move/triple capture: The lion dog can make a three-step lion move along any one of the eight orthogonal or diagonal directions. That is, unlike the lion itself, but like the soaring eagle and horned falcon, it is restricted to moving along a straight line and cannot move to the in-between squares. This lion power includes jumping, igui, and skipping a turn.
    • A piece may be captured on all three steps.
    • The lion dog may capture a piece on the first and second square, and then retreat to the first square. Or it may snatch a piece off the first square as in normal igui. (Note however that it may not then continue in the opposite direction: it is restricted to one orthogonal or diagonal.)
    • It may jump to the second square, and then continue to the third square, capturing up to two pieces. Or it may jump directly to the third square.
    • It is not required to take all three steps. (KavKafavK)

As it finishes a capturing move, the lion dog promotes to a great elephant (above).


       
       
       
       
       
       
English-language sources
  • Limited range: The lion dog may move up to three squares in any direction.
(This makes the promotion to great elephant beneficial, rather than a demotion as it is in the version above.) (Q3)

As it finishes a capturing move, the lion dog promotes to a great elephant (above).

             
   
  ! ! !  
  ! !  
  ! ! !  
   
             
  • Double move: The lion can step in any direction, and capture, up to twice a turn. The two steps do not need to be in the same direction, so this move is equivalent to two turns of a king. As a piece does not promote until its turn ends, an unpromoted lion has a chance for a double capture.
    • By moving back to its starting square, it can effectively capture a piece on an adjacent square without moving. This is called 居喰い igui "stationary feeding".
    • It can also do the same to an empty square, without capturing anything. This is traditionally indicated by tapping the lion and leaving it in place.
  • Jump: A lion can jump anywhere within a distance of two squares: That is, anywhere it could reach in two step-moves on an empty board, though of course it cannot land on a square occupied by a friendly piece. This is equivalent to jumping in any of the eight diagonal or orthogonal directions, or making any of the jumps of a knight in Western chess. (aK)

As it finishes a capturing move, the lion promotes to a furious fiend (above).

Western barbarian 西戎 seijū Eastern barbarian 東夷 tōi
             
             
       
  西  
           
             
             
  • Limited range: The western barbarian can move one or two squares orthogonally sideways.
  • Step: It can step one square directly forward or backward, or diagonally forward. (rlR2fbWfF)

The western barbarian promotes to a lion dog (above).

             
           
     ?  ?    
     ?    
           
           
             
English-language sources
  • Limited range: The eastern barbarian can move one or two squares directly forward or backward.
  • Step: It can step one square orthogonally sideways or diagonally forward. (fbR2rlWfF)
(Japanese Wikipedia only attributes this move to the piece in taikyoku shogi, which generally has different moves from dai-dai shogi.)
Japanese Wikipedia
  • Limited range: The eastern barbarian can move one or two squares directly forward or backward.
  • Step: It can step one square directly to the right. (fbR2rW)
(This makes the eastern and western barbarians asymmetrical, unlike the symmetrical northern and southern barbarians. However, this cannot wholly be ruled out.)

The eastern barbarian promotes to a lion (above).

Fragrant elephant 香象 kōzō White elephant 白象 hakuzō
         
       
       
   
       
       
             
  • Range: The fragrant elephant can move any number of free squares along either of the forward diagonals.
  • Limited range: It can move one or two squares along any of the other directions (orthogonally, or diagonally backwards). (fBR2bB2)
             
       
       
  白象  
       
       
         
  • Range: The white elephant can move any number of free squares diagonally backward.
  • Limited range: It can move one or two square in one of the other six diagonal or orthogonal directions. (bBR2fB2)
Northern barbarian 北狄 hokuteki Southern barbarian 南蛮 namban
             
         
         
       
         
             
             
  • Limited range: The northern barbarian can move one or two squares diagonally forward.
  • Step: It can step one square orthogonally sideways or diagonally backward. (fB2rlWF)

The northern barbarian promotes to a fragrant elephant (above).

             
             
         
       
         
         
             
  • Limited range: The southern barbarian can move one or two squares diagonally backward.
  • Step: It can step one square orthogonally sideways or diagonally forward. (bB2rlWF)

The southern barbarian promotes to a white elephant (above).

Free dream-eater 奔獏 honbaku Free demon 奔鬼 honki
               
               
               
               
               
         ?  ?        
       ?      ?      
     ?          ?    
   ?              ?  
 ?                  ?
Japanese Wikipedia
  • Range: The free dream-eater can move any number of free squares in the two forward diagonal directions, directly forward, or directly backward.
  • Limited range: It can move one to five squares orthogonally sideways. (fbRfBrlR5)
English-language sources

English-language sources show ranging moves along all four diagonals. (fbRBrlR5)

Japanese Wikipedia only describes the piece this way for taikyoku shogi, which generally has different movements from dai-dai shogi.
               
               
               
               
               
         ?  ?        
       ?      ?      
     ?          ?    
   ?              ?  
 ?                  ?
Japanese Wikipedia
  • Range: The free demon can move any number of free squares in the two forward diagonal directions, or directly sideways.
  • Limited range: It can move one to five squares directly forward or backward. (rlRfBfbR5)
English-language sources

English-language sources show ranging moves along all four diagonals. (rlRBfbR5)

Japanese Wikipedia only describes the piece this way for taikyoku shogi, which generally has different movements from dai-dai shogi.
Water buffalo 水牛 suigyū Rushing bird 行鳥 gyōchō
         
       
       
       
       
         
  • Range: The water buffalo can move any number of free squares in the four diagonal directions, or orthogonally sideways.
  • Limited range: It can move one or two squares directly forward or backward. (rlRBfbR2)

The water buffalo promotes to a free dream-eater (above).

       
       
       
         
         
         
  • Range: The rushing bird can move any number of free squares in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal, except directly backwards. (BfrlR)

The rushing bird promotes to a free demon (above).

Free king 奔王 honnō Standard bearer 前旗 zenki
The free king moves like a queen in Western chess.
       
       
       
奔王
       
       
       
  • Range: The free king can move any number of free squares in any of the eight directions, orthogonal or diagonal. (Q)
       
       
       
   
       
       
             
  • Range: The standard bearer can move any number of free squares along any of the three forward directions (diagonal or orthogonal).
  • Limited range: It can step one or two squares along any of the other directions (orthogonally sideways, diagonally backwards, or directly backwards). (Q2fQ)
Flying horse 馬麟 barin Neighboring king 近王 kinnō
             
         
       
       
           
             
             
  • Limited range: The flying horse can step one or two squares diagonally forward.
  • Step: It can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions. (fB2W)

The flying horse promotes to a free king (above).

             
             
       
       
     ?    
             
             
  • Step: The neighbor king can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal [except directly backwards?]. (FfrlW if not backward, K otherwise)
Note: English-language sources state that the neighbor king can step in any direction except directly backward, like the drunk elephant in other shogi variants. However, Japanese Wikipedia only describes the piece this way for taikyoku shogi, which generally has different movements from dai-dai shogi.

The neighboring king promotes to a standard bearer (above).

Mountain witch 山母 sambo Wizard stork 仙鶴 senkaku
         
         
       
           
       
       
       
  • Range: The mountain witch can move any number of free squares along one of the four diagonal directions, or directly backward; or,
  • Step: It can step one square directly forward. (BbRfW)

The mountain witch does not exist except as a promoted blind monkey (below).

       
       
     ?    
           
       
         
         
  • Range: The wizard stork can move any number of free squares along one of the four diagonal directions, or directly forward; or,
  • Step: It can step one square directly backward.

The wizard stork does not exist except as a promoted old rat (below). (BfRbW)

Note: Japanese Wikipedia does not show the forward move for this piece in dai dai shogi, though it does have it in other versions of the game. This may be an error, as it would be unsymmetrical with the mountain witch, and it would make this the only piece that moves differently in dai dai and maka dai dai shogi.
Blind monkey 盲猿 mōen Old rat老鼠 rōso
             
             
         
       
         
             
  • Step: The blind monkey can step one square in one of the four diagonal directions or either orthogonal sideways. (FrlW)

The blind monkey promotes to a mountain witch (above).

             
         
         
           
           
           
             
  • Limited range: The old rat can move one or two squares along a forward diagonal or the rear orthogonal, giving it three directions of movement. (fB2bR2)

The old rat has the same move as the enchanted fox (see below), but the old rat promotes to a wizard stork (above).

Dove 鳩槃 kyūhan She-devil 夜叉 yasha
                 
                 
                 
               
               
           
               
               
                 
                 
                 
  • First limited range: The dove can move one to five squares in one of the four diagonal directions.
  • Second limited range: It can step one or two squares in one of the four orthogonal directions. (R2B5)
                   
                   
                   
               
               
               
               
                   
                   
                   
  • First limited range: The she-devil can move one to five squares along one of the four orthogonal directions.
  • Second limited range: It can step one or two squares along one of the four diagonal directions. (R5B2)
Enchanted badger 変狸 henri Enchanted fox 変狐 henko
             
           
           
   
             
             
             
  • Limited range: The enchanted badger can move one or two squares orthogonally forward or sideways. (frlR2)

The enchanted badger promotes to a dove (above).

             
         
         
           
           
           
             
  • Limited range: The enchanted fox can move one or two squares along a forward diagonal or the rear orthogonal, giving it three directions of movement. (fB2bR2)
This is the same move as the old rat (see above), but the enchanted fox promotes to a she-devil (above).
Dragon horse 龍馬 ryūme Dragon king 龍王 ryūō
The dragon horse moves as either a bishop or a king.
         
         
       
       
       
         
         
  • Range: The dragon horse can move any number of free squares along any of the four diagonal directions.
  • Step: It can step one square in any orthogonal direction. (WB)
The dragon king moves as either a rook or a king.
           
           
       
       
           
           
  • Range: The dragon king can move any number of free squares along any of the four orthogonal directions.
  • Step: It can step one square in any diagonal direction. (FR)
Cat sword 猫刄 myōjin Flying dragon 飛龍 hiryū
             
             
         
           
         
             
             
  • Step: The cat sword can move one square in one of the four diagonal directions. (F)
Because it cannot move orthogonally, an unpromoted cat sword can only reach half the squares on the board.

The cat sword promotes to a dragon horse (above).

             
         
         
           
         
         
             
  • Step: The flying dragon can move one or two squares along one of the four diagonal directions. (B2)
Because it cannot move orthogonally, an unpromoted flying dragon can only reach half the squares on the board.

The flying dragon promotes to a dragon king (above).

Racing chariot 走車 sōsha Square mover 方行 hōgyō
           
           
           
       
           
           
  • Range: The racing chariot can move any number of free squares along one of the four orthogonal directions.
  • Step: It can step one square diagonally behind. (RbF)

Nothing promotes into a racing chariot, but it was included here due to the symmetry of its move with that of the square mover (right).

In several English sources the name of this piece is mistranslated as "side chariot".
           
           
       
           
           
           
  • Range: The square mover can move any number of free squares along one of the four orthogonal directions.
  • Step: It can step one square on either forward diagonal. (RfF)
  Prancing stag 踊鹿 yōroku
 
             
             
       
  鹿  
         
             
             
  • Limited range: The prancing stag can move one or two squares directly sideways.
  • Step: It can step one square in one of the four diagonal directions, or directly forward. (rlR2FfW)
It cannot move directly backwards.

The prancing stag promotes to a square mover (above).

Golden bird 金翅 kinshi Great dragon 大龍 dairyū
       
       
       
   
       
       
       
  • Range: The golden bird can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward.
  • 1st limited range: It can move one to three squares along any one of the four diagonals.
  • 2nd limited range: It can move one or two squares directly sideways. (fbRB3rlR2)
         
       
       
       
       
         
  • Range: The great dragon can move any number of free squares directly to the side.
  • 1st limited range: It can move one to three squares along any one of the four diagonals.
  • 2nd limited range: It can move one or two squares directly forward or backward. (rlRB3fbR2)
This is the description in English-language sources and also how Japanese Wikipedia describes the great dragon as a promoted kirin. However, Japanese Wikipedia describes the starting great dragon as moving as shown in tai shogi. Promoted pieces move the same as their unpromoted namesakes, so one of these is in error. The weight of the evidence—the English-language sources, half of Japanese Wikipedia descriptions, and symmetry with the golden bird—point to the description given here.
Phoenix 鳳凰 hōō Kirin 麒麟 kirin
             
         
           
       
           
         
             
  • Step: The phoenix can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions.
  • Jump: It can jump to the second square in one of the four diagonal directions. (WA)

The phoenix promotes to a golden bird (above).

             
           
         
       
         
           
             
  • Step: The kirin can step one square in one of the four diagonal directions.
  • Jump: It can jump to the second square in one of the four orthogonal directions. (FD)
Because of its unusual movement, an unpromoted kirin can only reach half the squares on the board.

The kirin promotes to a great dragon (above).

Non-promoting pieces
Bishop 角行 kakugyō Rook 飛車 hisha
         
         
         
           
         
         
         
  • Range: The bishop can move any number of free squares along any of the four diagonal directions. (B)

Because it cannot move orthogonally or promote, a bishop can only reach half the squares on the board.

           
           
           
           
           
           
  • Range: The rook can move any number of free squares along any of the four orthogonal directions. (R)
Left chariot 左車 sasha Right chariot 右車 usha
         
         
         
      左車      
         
           
           
  • Range: The left chariot can move any number of free squares straight forward, or along the forward left or rear right diagonals. (fR[fl][br]BbW)
  • Step: It can step one square directly backward.
         
         
         
      右車      
         
           
           
  • Range: The right chariot can move any number of free squares straight forward, or along the forward right or rear left diagonals.
  • Step: It can step one square directly backward. (fR[fr][bl]BbW)
White tiger 白虎 byakko Blue dragon 青龍 seiryū
         
         
       
  白虎  
           
           
           
  • Range: The white tiger can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward, or along the forward left diagonal.
  • Limited range: It can step one or two squares directly sideways. (fbR[fl]BrlR2fF)
  • Step: It can step one square diagonally forward to the right.
           
         
       
           
           
             
  • Range: The blue dragon can move any number of free squares directly to either side, or along the forward right diagonal.
  • Limited range: It can step one or two squares directly forward or backward. (rlR[fr]BfbR2fF)
  • Step: It can step one square diagonally forward to the left.
Side mover 横行 ōgyō Vertical mover 竪行 shugyō
             
             
           
           
             
             
  • Range: The side mover can move any number of free squares directly sideways.
  • Step: It can move one square directly forward or backward. (rlRW)
           
           
           
       
           
           
           
  • Range: The vertical mover can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward.
  • Step: It can move one square directly sideways. (fbRW)
Howling Dog 𠵇犬 kiken Reverse chariot 反車 hensha
           
           
           
      𠵇      
           
             
             
  • Range: The howling dog can move any number of free squares directly forward.
  • Step: It can step one square directly backwards. (fRbW)
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
  • Range: The reverse chariot can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward, giving it two directions of movement. (fbR)
Violent ox 猛牛 mōgyū Lance 香車 kyōsha
             
           
           
   
           
           
             
  • Limited range: The violent ox can move one or two squares in one of the four orthogonal directions. (R2)
           
           
           
           
             
             
             
  • Range: The lance can move any number of free squares directly forward, giving it only one direction of movement. (fR)

A lance that reaches the far rank is trapped.

Angry boar 嗔猪 shincho Violent bear 猛熊 mōyū
             
             
           
       
           
             
             
  • Step: The angry boar can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions. (W)
             
         
         
       
             
             
             
  • Limited range: The violent bear can move one or two squares diagonally forward, or,
  • Step: It can step one square orthogonally sideways. (fB2rlW)
Left general 左将 sashō Right general 右将 ushō
             
             
       
      左将    
       
             
             
  • Step: The left general can move one square in any direction except directly left. It is called the left general because it guards the left side of the board. (FfrbW)
             
             
       
    右将      
       
             
             
  • Step: The right general can step one square in any direction except directly right. It is called the right general because it guards the right side of the board. (FflbW)
Gold general 金将 kinshō Ferocious leopard 猛豹 mōhyō
             
             
       
       
           
             
             
  • Step: The gold general can step one square in the four orthogonal directions, or diagonally forward, giving it six directions of movement. (WfF)
It cannot move diagonally backward.
             
             
       
           
       
             
             
  • Step: The leopard can step one square in the four diagonal directions, or directly forward or backward, giving it six directions of movement. (FfbW)
That is, it can move to any of the six adjacent squares ahead or behind it.
Silver general 銀将 ginshō Evil wolf 悪狼 akurō
             
             
       
           
         
             
             
  • Step: The silver general can move one square in the four diagonal directions, or directly forward, giving it five directions of movement. (FfW)
             
             
       
       
             
             
             
  • Step: The evil wolf can step one square orthogonally sideways or forward, or diagonally forward. (frlK)
Copper general 銅将 dōshō Savage tiger 猛虎 mōko
             
             
       
           
           
             
             
  • Step: The copper general can move one square directly forward or backward, or one square diagonally forward, giving it four directions of movement. (fFfbW)
             
   ?      ?  
       
           
           
           
             
English-language sources
  • Limited range: The savage tiger can move one or two squares orthogonally forward or backward
  • Step: It can step one square diagonally forward. (fbR2fF)
Japanese Wikipedia
  • Limited range: The savage tiger can move one or two squares orthogonally forward or backward, or diagonally forward. (fbR2fB2)
Iron general 鉄将 tesshō Wood general 木将 mokushō
             
             
       
           
             
             
             
  • Step: The iron general can move one square forward, either orthogonally or diagonally, giving it three directions of movement. (fK)
An iron general that reaches the far rank is trapped.
             
         
         
           
             
             
             
  • Limited range: The wood general can move one or two squares along a forward diagonal. (fB2)
A wood general that reaches the far rank is trapped.
Stone general 石将 sekishō Pawn 歩兵 fuhyō
             
             
         
           
             
             
             
  • Step: The stone general can step one square diagonally forward, giving it two possibilities. (fF)
A stone general that reaches the far rank is trapped.
             
             
           
           
             
             
             
  • Step: A pawn can step one square directly forward. (fW)
A pawn that reaches the far rank is trapped.

Check and mate[edit]

When a player makes a move such that the opponent's king could be captured on the following move, the move is said to give check to the king; the king is said to be in check. If a player's king is in check and no legal move by that player will get the king out of check, the checking move is also a mate, and effectively wins the game.

A player is not allowed to give perpetual check.

Game end[edit]

A player who captures the opponent's king wins the game. In practice this rarely happens; a player will resign when loss is inevitable and the king will be taken on the opponent's next move (as in International Chess) because of the tradition that it is seen as an embarrassment to lose.

A player who makes an illegal move loses immediately. (This rule may be relaxed in casual games.)

If the same position occurs four times with the same player to play (sennichite), then the game is no contest. (Recall, however, the prohibition against perpetual check.)

Game notation[edit]

The method used in English-language texts to express shogi moves was established by George Hodges in 1976. It is derived from the algebraic notation used for chess, but differs in several respects. Modifications have been made for dai dai shogi.

A typical example is P-8g. The first letter represents the piece moved (see above). Promoted pieces have a + added in front of the letter. (e.g., +BM for a mountain witch, or promoted blind monkey). The designation of the piece is followed by a symbol indicating the type of move: - for an ordinary move or x for a capture. Next is the designation for the square on which the piece lands. This consists of a number representing the file and a lowercase letter representing the rank, with 1a being the top right corner (as seen from Black's point of view) and 17q being the bottom left corner. (This method of designating squares is based on Japanese convention, which, however, uses Japanese numerals instead of letters. For example, the square 2c is denoted by 2三 in Japanese.)

If a lion captures by 'igūi’, the square of the piece being captured is used instead of the destination square, and this is preceded by the symbol '!'. If a double capture is made, than it is added after the first capture.

If a capture mandates the player to promote the piece, then a + is added to the end to signify that the promotion was taken. For example, CSx7c+ indicates a cat sword capturing on 7c and promoting.

In cases where the above notation would be ambiguous, the designation of the start square is added after the designation for the piece in order to make clear which piece is meant.

Moves are commonly numbered as in chess.

Strategy[edit]

Piece values[edit]

According to the German Chu Shogi Association, the average values of the pieces are (using the interpretations of the English-language sources):

Average piece values
Piece name Approximate value Promotion Approximate value
King 4
Hook Mover 84
Long-Nosed Goblin 34
Lion 22 Furious Fiend 22
Free King 15
Rushing Bird 14 Free Demon 14
Free Dream-Eater 14
Free Demon 14
Water Buffalo 13 Free Dream-Eater 14
Standard Bearer 11
Golden Bird 10
Fragrant Elephant 10
Great Dragon 9
Dove 9
White Tiger 9
She-Devil 9
Lion Dog 8 Great Elephant 9
White Elephant 7
Dragon King 10
Dragon Horse 10
Square Mover 9
Blue Dragon 8
Rook 8
Bishop 7
Left Chariot 7
Right Chariot 7
Racing Chariot 6
Vertical Mover 5
Side Mover 5
Old Kite 4 Long-Nosed Goblin 34
Poisonous Snake 1 Hook Mover 84
Eastern Barbarian 4 Lion 22
Prancing Stag 4 Square Mover 9
Flying Horse 3 Free King 15
Neighbouring King 3 Standard Bearer 11
Northern Barbarian 3 Fragrant Elephant 10
Western Barbarian 3 Lion Dog 8
Southern Barbarian 3 White Elephant 7
Kirin 3 Great Dragon 9
Phoenix 3 Golden Bird 10
Old Rat 2 Wizard Stork 11
Blind Monkey 2 Mountain Witch 9
Enchanted Badger 2 Dove 9
Enchanted Fox 2 She-Devil 9
Flying Dragon 3 Dragon King 10
Cat Sword 2 Dragon Horse 10
Reverse Chariot 4
Lance 3
Howling Dog 3
Left General 3
Right General 3
Gold General 3
Violent Ox 3
Ferocious Leopard 3
Savage Tiger 3
Violent Bear 3
Evil Wolf 3
Silver General 2
Copper General 2
Wood General 2
Iron General 2
Angry Boar 2
Stone General 1
Pawn 1

These average values do not take into account the special status of the king as a royal piece. They have also been normalized so that the pawn is worth 1 point to avoid fractions. Additionally, pieces gain in value if they have a good chance of promotion. This is particularly significant for the old kite and poisonous snake, which promote to the two most powerful pieces in the game.

Notes[edit]

  • 'Sho Shogi Zushiki', Nishzawa Teijin, 1694


See also[edit]

External links[edit]