Shogi, aka Japanese Chess, is an extremely fun and challenging variant of Chess. Actually the two versions of chess are cousins. Shogi, pronounced SHOW-gee with a hard ‘G’, is the western version of a game that was created in India several centuries ago. Chess is the European version of the same game.
Just as you have many variants on Western Chess, there are several variants of Shogi. The main version of shogi is played on an 9×9 square board (one bigger than chess). Japanese Chess tends to be a bit more challenging than Western Chess, but still very fun for beginners and masters alike.
One of the most interesting
Shogi rules is that tokens that are captured become the enemy’s pieces, and he can then drop them back on the board to strengthen his army. This adds a great deal of strategy to the game as pieces appear from seemingly nowhere to block checks or quickly promote.
I have a very rough beta version of shogi for play online. You can play it by clicking the image below. It will take you to the page, and let you play against the computer. The AI is a bit weak, but I’m working on fixing that in future versions.
Everyone’s introduction to shogi is unique. My introduction was from a friend that was Japanese. He was very tired of me beating him at Western chess, so one day he pulled out a Japanese chess board and said, Let’s try this for a while. He thoroughly beat me many times and then gave me the shogi board as a present.
This was in the days before the Internet, so wrote down the rules for future reference and taught my own children how to play when they were old enough to learn the rules of shogi.
I’m just getting started on this site, so keep checking back for updates.
Years ago, I made up some PDFs you can print out to make shogi tokens and boards. Lots of people around the world have used these to learn shogi without incurring the expense of buying a board and pieces. They are a great cheap way of getting extra shogi boards for a school shogi club, too.
Shogi boards are a little hard to come by outside of Japan. If you’re looking to find one, I would recommend checking any local Oriental/Japanese specialty stores or ask a Japanese friend where he/she would look. Another good source is Ebay. Do a search on Shogi and see what offerings are out there. There are also some sites on the web that sell Shogi boards, but I’ve never used them so can’t give any advise about them.
Shogi boards tend to be made in Japan, for now, so are expensive imports. A good alternative is to make your own. That’s the focus of this page.
English speakers are use to board games that are played on boards made with a similar process as book covers. Think about it. If you examine many board games and compare them to the cover of hard cover books you’ll find they’re the same.
I’m going to upgrade my japanesechess.org server. This whole thing is a bit of a scramble, because my current host is serving up someone else’s pages 50% of the time due to technical difficulties on their end. Migrating servers is always a bit dangerous, … meaning I could lose everything. I don’t have source code for some of the shogi apps on the japanesechess.org site, so you just don’t know what will happen during the upgrade.
I’m mirroring everything to this site as a precaution. If I can get it working here, that is. Then, good or bad, I’m doing the upgrade so that japanesechess.org can support https.
Here’s the current japanesechess.org home page, just in case that gets wiped in the move.
I’m putting together a site of historic board games you can play in your browser. The goal is to publish games you don’t see too often, but have been around 100+ years. First up is Tori Shogi, also called Bird Chess, a game from Japan that is around 200 years old. Be sure to follow the progress on the new Fun Historic Games historic games site.
I still have my beta version of my shogi app up on this site. The beta version of my shogi app runs on most browsers. I am currently working on an update. You guessed it, the update will be on my
historic games site when I’m finished.
(more…) Tsume shogi, or just tsume for short, are Japanese chess mating puzzles. I just created a browsable tsume shogi database, so I thought it might be a good idea to explain tsume rules, background, and their benefits.
Imagine a situation where you are playing a much more skilled shogi player than yourself. You are losing. Your opponent will place you in checkmate in one move. You are desperate. Your only chance is to check your opponent, and keep him in check until you have a checkmate. Otherwise, you will lose the shogi game.
This is a one-move tsume of my own creation. See if you can spot the checkmate.
I’m moving most of my Japanese Chess site over here while I’m migrating to a new server. I used to actually have a large shogi presence here on Gene Davis Software, but let it lapse. I’m working to bring back all the shogi fun to this site.
I’ve been seeing a lot more references to shogi in pop culture and books about chess these last few years. Also, lots of the latest generation reaching adulthood in the United States are familiar with Shogi, even if they don’t know the rules.
Recently, I found a whole section on shogi in pop culture on Wikipedia, which I was surprised was actually incomplete.
In the manga series
, shogi plays an essential part in Shikamaru Nara’s character development. He often plays it with his sensei, Asuma Sarutobi, apparently always beating him. When Asuma is fatally injured in battle, he reminds Shikamaru that the shogi king must always be protected, and draws a parallel between the king in shogi and his yet-unborn daughter, Mirai, whom he wanted Shikamaru to guide. Naruto
Shogi has been a central plot point in the manga and anime
, the manga and anime Shion no Ō , and the manga and television drama March Comes in Like a Lion . 81diver
In the manga and anime
, the information broker Izaya Orihara plays a twisted version of chess, go and shogi, where he mixes all three games into one as a representation of the battles in Ikebukuro. Durarara!!
In the video game
, the Star confidant is a high school shogi player looking to break into the ranks of the professionals. The player character will gain knowledge stat when spending time with the confidant, supposedly from learning to play shogi. The abilities learned from ranking up the confidant comes from Japanese shogi terms. Persona 5
I have to recommend
, by the way. You can find it on Crunchyroll I’ve been watching that anime recently. It’s about a young and rising professional shogi master. Absolutely, a must watch for any Japanese chess fan. March Comes in Like a Lion
Tsumeshogi (詰将棋) is the shogi equivalent of chess puzzles. Chess puzzles and Japanese chess puzzles are both mentally stimulating, and just plain fun. Since I just finished creating my 200th tsume (詰) for my Japanese chess site, I figured this is a great time to share a few more of my thoughts on shogi (将棋) puzzles.
If your’e reading this, you probably know about my book on Japanese chess puzzles. I sell it on amazon and basically every other outlet worldwide. Creating all those puzzles for the book was a real eye opener. I learned a lot more about the movement of knights (桂馬), silver generals (銀将), and capturing kings (王) than I every knew before. The most exciting thing was learning novel ways that the pieces work together. The game is a lot more intricate than the rules imply.