Shogi, The General’s Board Game – Board and Gameplay
In our previous posts about shogi, we learned its history and the pieces that make the game. In this post, we will learn more about the moves of each piece.
Shogi Game Setup
Each player sets up his pieces facing forward (toward his opponent).
In the rank/line nearest the player:
- the king is placed in the center file;
- the two gold generals are placed in files adjacent to the king;
- the two silver generals are placed adjacent to each gold general;
- the two knights are placed adjacent to each silver general;
- the two lances are placed in the corners, adjacent to each knight.
In the second rank, each player places:
- the bishop in the same file as the left knight;
- the rook in the same file as the right knight.
In the third rank, the nine pawns are placed one per file.
Traditionally, even the order of placing the pieces on the board is determined. There are two commonly used orders, Ohashi and Ito. Placement sets pieces with multiples (generals, knights, lances) from left to right in all cases, and follows the order: king, gold generals, silver generals, knights. In ito, the player now places: pawns (left to right starting from the leftmost file), lances, bishop, and rook. In ohashi, the player places first the lances, bishop, rook, and then the pawns (starting from center file, then alternating left to right one file at a time).
One player takes Black and moves first; then players alternate turns. (The terms “Black” and “White” are used to differentiate sides although there is no difference in the color of the pieces.) For each turn a player may either move a piece that is currently on the board (and potentially promote it, capture an opposing piece, or both) or else “drop” a piece that has been previously captured onto an empty square of the board.
Shogi Pieces Movements
Like the chess, each different piece has its own movement.
King – Can move one space in any direction.
Rook – Can move any number of spaces horizontally or vertically. When promoted, can also move one space diagonally.
Bishop – Can move any number of spaces diagonally. When promoted, can also move one space horizontally.
Gold General – Moves one space, but not backwards diagonal.
Silver General – Can’t move sideways or backwards. Becomes a Gold General upon promotion.
Knight – Moves like a knight in chess, but only in a forward direction. Becomes a Gold General upon promotion.
Lance – Can only move forward. Becomes a Gold General upon promotion.
Pawn – Can only move one step forward. Becomes a Gold General upon promotion.
Normally when moving a piece, a player snaps it to the board with the ends of the fingers of the same hand. This makes a sudden sound effect, bringing the piece to the attention of the opponent. This is also true for capturing and dropping pieces. On a traditional shogi-ban, the pitch of the snap is deeper, delivering a subtler effect.
As you noticed, a piece’s move can be altered through promotion. What is promotion?
A player’s promotion zone consists of the furthest one-third of the board – the three ranks occupied by the opponent’s pieces at setup. When a piece is moved, if part of the piece’s path lies within the promotion zone, then the player has the option to promote the piece at the end of the turn. Promotion is indicated by turning the piece over after it moves, revealing the character of the promoted piece.
If a pawn or lance is moved to the furthest rank, or a knight is moved to either of the two furthest ranks, that piece must promote (otherwise, it would have no legal move on subsequent turns). A silver general is never required to promote.
We’ll discuss more of shogi terms in our next post!
1. Shogi. Wikipedia.
2. Images from Wikimedia Commons.
The Go board game became popular not only in Asia but also in other countries. It also spawned many work of art and fictions. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text – […]
After visiting the port of Miyanoura on the west coast of the island of Naoshima. We decided to visit the port of Honmura located on the islands east coast. Home to the Art House Project. To get around the island tourist could take various forms of transportation such as the bus or rental bikes. Rental […]
Dog in Japan One of the very popular animals in Japanese old tales. As long as I remember, usually drawn as a white medium-size Japanese dog in a book, with a curled tail and erect, triangular ears like a Kishu dog. The dogs are always loyal, take the good men’s side. I can’t remember any […]
Japan is one of the countries located along the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. Countries along the “Pacific Ring of Fire” have high seismic and volcanic activity. This explains why earthquakes are common in the “Land of the Rising Sun”. There are many volcanoes in Japan. In fact, approximately ten percent of the world’s active volcanoes […]
For some other parts of the world, Christmas is the time for sending holiday greetings through postcards and mail. It is not much like that in Japan though. The Japanese receive holiday greeting cards in New Year’s Day (January 1), thus called Nengajou or the New Year’s Card. The New Year’s Card or Nengajou The […]
Continuing our feature about Japan’s Golden Week, this post will feature the second and third holidays, the Constitution Memorial Day and Greenery Day. Constitution Memorial Day The Constitution Memorial Day, or Kenpō Kinenbi (憲法記念日) as it is known in Japan, is a national holiday in Japan that is celebrated every May 3. The date signifies […]
Ninja walk : “Ashi-nami Jyukkajyou” (Ten walking methods) There is a ninjutsu-sho (a book about ninja’s tricks) entitled “Shouninki” or “Seininki” (literal meaning is “The notes of correct ninja”), written by a military expert in the “Kishuu” domain (the present Wakayama and a part of Mie area) in 1681. In this book, there are ten […]
As we learned about the history of Judo in our previous post, this time we will learn more about the sport and martial art, particularly on the practitioners (called judoka). The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 […]
I thought we already reached our destination after losing liters of sweat pushing our bicycles and ourselves following the steep road going up to the mountain. I was wrong. We just reached the wide parking area and there we were still half way from the top. But even so, the scenery from there was already very […]
As we mentioned in our hatsumoude post, everything you do in the first days of the New Year can mean something or will affect the whole year. Hatsu (初) or “first” of something are important according to Japanese culture: the first shrine visit, first dreams, and the first sunrise have impacts on how your year […]