Dai shogi

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Dai shōgi (大将棋, 'large chess') is a board game native to Japan. It is similar to standard shogi (sometimes called Japanese chess) in its rules and game play. Dai shogi is only one of several large board shogi variants. Its name means large shogi, from a time when there were three sizes of shogi games. Early versions of dai shogi can be traced back the end of the Heian period about AD 1230.

Rules of the game[edit]

Other than the additional pieces, and the often weaker promotions, the rules of dai shogi are thought to have corresponded very closely to those of chu shogi.

Objective[edit]

The objective of the game is to capture the opponent's king and, if present, the crown prince, which counts as a second king; or to capture all the other pieces leaving a bare king or bare crown prince. Unlike standard shogi, pieces may not be dropped back into play after capture.

Game play[edit]

Two players alternate, making a move with Black moving first. (The pieces are not differentiated by color; the traditional chess terms "Black" and "White" are only used to indicate who plays first, and to differentiate the sides during discussions of the game.) A move consists of moving a piece either to an empty square on the board or to a square occupied by an opposing piece, thus capturing that piece; and optionally of promoting the moving piece, if all or part of its move lies in the promotion zone.

Game equipment[edit]

Two players, Black and White (or 先手 sente and 後手 gote), play on a board ruled into a grid of 15 ranks (rows) and 15 files (columns) with a total of 225 squares. The squares are undifferentiated by marking or color, unlike a Western chess board.

Each player has a set of 65 pieces of 29 different types. In all, a player must remember 36 different moves. Each piece has its name written on it in Japanese kanji. The writing is typically in black. On the reverse side of most pieces there are characters to indicate the piece's promoted rank, typically written in red. The pieces are wedge-shaped and their orientation indicates which player they belong to, as they point toward the opposing side. The pieces are of slightly different sizes, from largest to smallest (most to least powerful) they are:

Setup[edit]

Below is a diagram showing the initial setup of the board.

15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1  
















 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 






























       
         
       
 
 
                           
 
 
                           
 
 
                           
       
         
       
































 
 
 




 
 
 

 
 
 


 
 
 

















15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1  
L N St I C S G K G S C I St N L a
RC   CS   FL   BT DE BT   FL   CS   RC b
  VO   AB   EW Ph Ln Kr EW   AB   VO   c
R FD SM VM B DH DK FK DK DH B VM SM FD R d
p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p e
        GB           GB         f
                              g
                              h
                              i
        GB           GB         j
p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p k
R FD SM VM B DH DK FK DK DH B VM SM FD R l
  VO   AB   EW Kr Ln Ph EW   AB   VO   m
RC   CS   FL   BT DE BT   FL   CS   RC n
L N St I C S G K G S C I St N L o
 
Legend
AB: angry boar B: bishop BT: blind tiger
C: copper general CS: cat sword DE: drunken elephant
DH: dragon horse DK: dragon king EW: evil wolf
FD: flying dragon FK: free king FL: ferocious leopard
GB: go-between G: gold general I: iron general
K: king Kr: kirin L: lance
Ln: lion N: knight p: pawn
Ph: phoenix R: rook RC: reverse chariot
S: silver general SM: side mover St: stone general
VM: vertical mover VO: violent ox  

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, that is, by 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 and knight are exceptions in that they do not move, or are not required to move, in a straight line.

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.

The step movers are the king, drunken elephant, blind tiger, ferocious leopard, generals, angry boar, cat sword, evil wolf, go between and the 15 pawns on each side.

Limited ranging pieces[edit]

The violent ox and flying dragon can move along a limited number (2) 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 knight.

Ranging pieces[edit]

Many pieces can move any number of empty squares along a straight orthogonal or diagonal 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.

The ranging pieces are the free king, dragon king, dragon horse, rook, bishop, vertical mover, side mover, reverse chariot and lance. Only the free king can range along all eight directions.

Lion moves (multiple captures)[edit]

The lion has sequential multiple-capture ability, called a 'lion move', as do the soaring eagle and horned falcon (promoted dragon king and dragon horse) to a lesser extent. The details of these powerful moves are described for the lion below.

Promotion[edit]

The promotion zone is the 'enemy camp', the farthest five ranks of the board, which are mostly occupied by the opposing player's pieces when the board is first set up. When a promotable piece makes a move within the promotion zone—including entering, leaving, or moving entirely within the zone—it has the option of "promoting" to a more powerful rank. Promotion is effected by turning the piece over after it moves, revealing the name of its promoted rank. Promotion is not mandatory if the unpromoted piece could move further on a later turn, and in some cases it may be beneficial to leave the piece unpromoted. Promotion is permanent and promoted pieces may not revert to their original rank.

Promoting a piece has the effect of changing how that piece moves. See below.

If a piece that cannot retreat or move aside advances across the board until it reaches the other side, it must promote. This applies to the pawn, stone general, iron general, knight and lance.

Individual pieces[edit]

Following are diagrams that indicate the movement of each piece. Pieces are listed in order, from back to front rows, from the center out. Pieces are paired with their promotion and those with a grey heading start out in the game; promoted pieces have a blue heading. Pieces with an asterisk ("*") only appear on the board as a promoted piece. Names are rough translations that have become somewhat standardized in English. Betza's funny notation has been included in brackets for easier reference, with the extension that the letter d indicates doublemove pieces and dh indicates limited doublemove pieces (doublemove pieces that must continue on the same path they started on, moving either forwards or backwards).

Notation
Steps to an adjacent square or has a limited range
Jumps to a non-adjacent square, bypassing any intervening piece
Ranges along a straight line, crossing any number of empty squares
! igui (capture without moving)
King (reigning) • 王将 ōshō King (challenging) • 玉将 gyokushō
Step: The king can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. (K)

The king general goes to the superior player.

         
   
   
   
         
Step: The king can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. (K)

The jeweled general goes to the inferior player.

         
   
   
   
         
Gold General • 金将 kinshō Rook • 飛車 hisha
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Range: The rook can move any number of free squares along any of the four orthogonal directions. (R)
       
       
       
       
Silver General • 銀将 ginshō Vertical Mover • 竪行 shugyō
Step: The silver general can step one square in one of the four diagonal directions; or, one square straight forward, giving it five possibilities. (FfW)
         
   
       
     
         
Range: The vertical mover can move any number of free squares orthogonally forward or backward.

Step: It can step one square orthogonally sideways. (fbRW)

       
       
   
       
       
Copper General • 銅将 dōshō Side Mover • 横行 ōgyō
Step: The copper general can step one square directly forward or backward, or one square diagonally forward, giving it four possibilities. (fbWfF)
         
   
       
       
         
Range: The side mover can move any number of free squares orthogonally sideways.

Step: It can move one square orthogonally forward or backward. (fbWR)

         
       
       
         
Iron General • 鉄将 tesshō Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Step: The iron general can move one square forward, orthogonally or diagonally, giving it three possibilities.

An iron general that reaches the furthest rank must promote. (fWfF)

         
   
       
         
         
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Stone General • 石将 sekishō Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Step: The stone general can step one square diagonally forward, giving it two possibilities.

A stone general can only reach a fraction of the board. A stone general that reaches the furthest rank must promote. (fF)

         
     
       
         
         
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Knight • 桂馬 keima Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Jump: The knight jumps at an angle intermediate between orthogonal and diagonal, amounting to one square forward plus one square diagonally forward, in a single motion, ignoring any intervening piece. That is, it has a choice of two forward destinations.

A knight that reaches the furthest rank must promote. (ffN)

     
         
       
         
         
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Lance • 香車 kyōsha *White Horse • 白駒 hakku
Range: The lance can move any number of free squares straight forward.

It must promote upon reaching the farthest row. (fR)

       
       
       
         
         
Range: The white horse can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward; or, it can move any number of free squares diagonally forward. (fbRfB)
   
   
       
       
       
Drunken Elephant • 酔象 suizō *Crown Prince • 太子 taishi
Step: The drunken elephant can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal, except directly backward. (FfrlW)
         
   
   
     
         
Step: The crown prince can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. (K)

If your opponent has a crown prince in play, both it and the king must be captured to win.

         
   
   
   
         
Blind Tiger • 盲虎 mōko *Flying Stag • 飛鹿 hiroku
Step: The blind tiger can step one square in any direction except orthogonally forward. (FrlbW)
         
     
   
   
         
Range: The flying stag can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward.

Step: It can move one square sideways or along one of the four diagonals. (fbRK)

       
   
  鹿  
   
       
Ferocious Leopard • 猛豹 mōhyō Bishop • 角行 kakugyō
Step: The ferocious leopard can step to any of the six squares ahead or behind it, but not directly to the side. (FfbW)
         
   
       
   
         
Range: The bishop can move any number of free squares along any of the four diagonal directions.

Because it cannot move orthogonally, an unpromoted bishop can only reach half the squares on the board. (B)

     
     
       
     
     
Cat Sword • 猫刄 myōjin Gold General • 金将 kinshō
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.

         
     
       
     
         
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Reverse Chariot • 反車 hensha *Whale • 鯨鯢 keigei
Range: The reverse chariot can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward. (fbR)
       
       
       
       
       
Range: The whale can move any number of free squares directly forward or backward; or; it can move any number of free squares diagonally backward. (fbRbB)
       
       
       
   
   
Lion • 獅子 shishi
Area move/double capture: The lion can step one square in any direction up to twice in a turn. It can change directions after its first step, and is not restricted to following one of the eight orthogonal or diagonal directions. That is, it can also step to one of the in-between squares that a knight jumps to in Western chess.

It can continue after a capture on the first step, potentially capturing two pieces on each turn. 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". A similar move without capturing leaves the board unchanged, which is a way to pass a turn.

Jump: The lion can jump anywhere within two squares. 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.

The lion does not promote. (KNADdK)

! ! !
! !
! ! !
Phoenix • 鳳凰 hōō Free King • 奔王 honnō
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)

     
       
   
       
     
Range: The free king can move any number of free squares along any one of the eight orthogonal or diagonal directions. (Q)
   
   
   
   
Kirin • 麒麟 kirin Lion • 獅子 shishi
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.

Because of its unusual movement, an unpromoted kirin can only reach half the squares on the board. (FD)

       
     
   
     
       
See Lion above for text description. (KNADdK)
! ! !
! !
! ! !
Evil Wolf • 悪狼 akurō Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Step: The evil wolf can step one square orthogonally sideways or forward, or diagonally forward. (frlWfF)
         
   
   
         
         
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Angry Boar • 嗔猪 shincho Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Step: The angry boar can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions. (W)
         
       
   
       
         
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Violent Ox • 猛牛 mōgyū Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Limited range: The violent ox can move one or two squares along one of the four orthogonal directions. (R2)
       
       
       
       
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Free King • 奔王 honnō  
Range: The free king can move any number of free squares along any one of the eight orthogonal or diagonal directions. (Q)
   
   
   
   
The free king does not promote.
Dragon King • 龍王 ryūō *Soaring Eagle • 飛鷲 hijū
Range: The dragon king can move any number of free squares along any of the four orthogonal directions.

Step: It can move one square in any diagonal direction. (FR)

       
   
   
       
Range: The soaring eagle can move any number of free squares in a straight line in any direction except the forward diagonals.

Lion move: It can move or jump one or two squares along either forward diagonal, potentially capturing two pieces. This power includes igui and skipping a turn (see "Lion"), but not moving off the diagonal. (RbBdhfFfA)

   
  ! !  
   
   
Dragon Horse • 龍馬 ryūme *Horned Falcon • 角鷹 kakuō
Range: The dragon horse can move any number of free squares along any of the four diagonal directions.

Step: It can move one square in any orthogonal direction. (WB)

     
   
   
   
     
Range: The horned falcon can move any number of free squares in a straight line in any direction except directly forwards.

Lion move: It can move or jump one or two squares along a line directly forward, potentially capturing two pieces. This power includes igui and skipping a turn (see "Lion"), but not moving off the orthogonal. (BrlbRdhfWfD)

   
  !  
   
   
Bishop • 角行 kakugyō Dragon Horse • 龍馬 ryūme
Range: The bishop can move any number of free squares along any of the four diagonal directions.

Because it cannot move orthogonally, an unpromoted bishop can only reach half the squares on the board. (B)

     
     
       
     
     
Range: The dragon horse can move any number of free squares along any of the four diagonal directions.

Step: It can move one square in any orthogonal direction. (WB)

     
   
   
   
     
Vertical Mover • 竪行 shugyō *Flying Ox • 飛牛 higyū
Range: The vertical mover can move any number of free squares orthogonally forward or backward.

Step: It can step one square orthogonally sideways. (fbRW)

       
       
   
       
       
Range: The flying ox can move any number of free squares along one of the four diagonal directions; or, it can move any number of free squares orthogonally forward or backward. (fbRB)
   
   
       
   
   
Side Mover • 横行 ōgyō *Free Boar • 奔猪 honcho
Range: The side mover can move any number of free squares orthogonally sideways.

Step: It can move one square orthogonally forward or backward. (rlRW)

         
       
       
         
Range: The free boar can move any number of free squares along one of the four diagonal directions, or along either orthogonal sideways. (BrlR)
     
     
     
     
Flying Dragon • 飛龍 hiryū Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Limited range: The flying dragon can move one or two squares along one of the four diagonal directions. (B2)
     
     
   
   
     
     
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Rook • 飛車 hisha Dragon King • 龍王 ryūō
Range: The rook can move any number of free squares along any of the four orthogonal directions. (R)
       
       
       
       
Range: The dragon king can move any number of free squares along any of the four orthogonal directions.

Step: It can move one square in any diagonal direction. (FR)

       
   
   
       
Pawn • 歩兵 fuhyō Gold General • 金将 kinshō
Step: The pawn can only step one square directly forward.

It must promote upon reaching the farthest rank of the board. (fW)

         
       
       
         
         
Step: The gold general can step one square in one of the four orthogonal directions; or, one square diagonally forward, giving it six possibilities. (WfF)
         
   
   
       
         
Go Between • 仲人 chūnin Drunk Elephant • 酔象 suizō
Step: The go between can move one square orthogonally forward or backward. (fbW)
         
       
       
       
         
Step: The drunken elephant can step one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal, except directly backward. (FfrlW)
         
   
   
     
         

Check and mate[edit]

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

Unlike Western chess, a player need not move out of check in dai shogi, and indeed may even move into check. Although obviously not often a good idea, a player with more than one royal may occasionally sacrifice one of these pieces as part of a gambit.

A player is not allowed to give perpetual check.

Game end[edit]

A player who captures the opponent's sole remaining king or crown prince wins the game. In practice this rarely happens, as a player will resign when checkmated, as otherwise when loss is inevitable.

A player who has only one piece left (a bare king or bare crown prince) loses unless he can bare or mate his opponent in the next move.[citation needed]

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

There are two other possible (but fairly uncommon) ways for a game to end: repetition (千日手 sennichite) and impasse (持将棋 jishōgi).

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

The game reaches an impasse if both kings, or crown princes have advanced into their respective promotion zones and neither player can hope to mate the other or to gain any further material.

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 modifications have been made for dai shogi.

A typical example is P-8f. The first letter represents the piece moved (see setup above). Promoted pieces have a + added in front of the letter. e.g., +P for a gold general (promoted pawn). 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 15o 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 move entitles the player to promote the piece, then a + is added to the end to signify that the promotion was taken, or an = to indicate that it was declined. For example, Nx7d= indicates a knight capturing on 7d without 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.

When a 'Lion', 'Horned Falcon' or 'Soaring Eagle' captures by 'igui' (that is, without moving), the square of the piece being captured is used instead of the destination square, and this is preceded by the symbol '!'. For example, a Lion on 8c capturing a piece on 9d would be shown as Lnx!9d.

When a piece makes a double capture with 'Lion' powers, both captures are shown in the order that they were made. For example, a Lion on 3g, capturing a piece on 3h and then capturing another on 2i, would be represented by Lnx3hx2i.

Moves are commonly numbered as in chess.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]