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Japanese chess: rules of the game
Japanese chess: rules of the game

Japanese chess is played at leisure in the Land of the Rising Sun - an analogue of European chess, but with certain differences. Amateurs and professionals will easily master the new technique, as there is nothing complicated in it. The main thing to remember is that shogi is a logic game, and the rest will come with practice.

Historical review

The prototype on the basis of which our chess and Japanese shogi were born was popular in Ancient India. At the initial stage of formation, there was a checkered board, along which identical figures were moved in one order or another.

Over the centuries, this chess field migrated first to the West, and later to China, from where it reached Japan. In all parts of the world, this logic game, oddly enough, had similar rules. The fundamental differences, it would seem, lie in the figures themselves, because we use chiseled, like silhouettes, and in the east they use plates with hieroglyphs. But even here there are similarities, because these same hieroglyphs in translation mean almost the same names as ours: King, Knight, Rook, pawn, etc.

Japanese chess

Playing field

Description directly of the Japanese version of chess, let's start from the basics, that is, from the battlefield. shogi boardconsists of 81 cells, that is, 9x9, and they are not marked in any way, neither by letters, nor by numbers. There are no color differences on it, each cell is no different from all the others.

It is important to know that a shogiban is not a folding board, but a table with legs, on the surface of which the playing field itself is carved. On the right side of each player is a komadai. This is another small table where captured pieces are placed.

In their own country, Japanese chess is a sacred game, it can even be of a ritual nature. Therefore, high-quality and rare shogibans are often the most worthy decoration of houses. Naturally, such "tables" sometimes cost a fortune.

shogi board

Names and features of figures

The game of Japanese chess is complicated not only by the lack of numbering on the field, but also by the complete identity of the pieces. All of them are equally sharpened under the pentahedron and differ from each other only in the hieroglyphs that are depicted on them.

You are even more surprised when you discover that black and white is an ephemeral concept. The belonging of a figure is determined by the direction of its pointed edge - it always looks at the enemy.

The pawns themselves have exactly the same color. The game involves 20 pieces for each player, including 8 items. They are distinguished by the patterns of moves, value and strength. Below is an illustration that translates the meaning of each character found in the game shogi.

shogi japanese chess

In the middle of the fieldthe Transformation Zone was carried out. By moving your piece into enemy territory, you increase its value. How exactly, we will tell later.

Arranging pieces and walking

In principle, it is not so difficult to memorize all Japanese chess. How to play them, by what rules to move? This is the next question to consider. So:

  1. The King's move is similar to his move in classical chess.
  2. The golden general exactly repeats the pattern of the king's move, but he cannot move backward diagonally.
  3. A silver general can move one square forward and diagonally in any direction, but again one square.
  4. The horse moves, like ours, along the letter "G", but only in a straight line.
  5. The spear moves vertically only forward and to any number of fields.
  6. Pawns in all versions of the game move identically. Only if you play Japanese chess, you will have to beat not obliquely, but directly.
  7. The rook in Japan is moved like ours, vertically and horizontally by any number of cells. It is noteworthy that when crossing the Transformation Zone, he becomes the Dragon King and can also move one space diagonally in any direction.
  8. The bishop, as in chess, can move diagonally to any distance, unless its path is blocked by other pieces. On the territory of the enemy, it becomes a Dragon Horse and moves not only as before, but also directly one square in any direction.
how to play japanese chess

How the transformation happens

You probably noticed in the above description that some pieces, reaching the opponent's house, change their properties - these were Rook and Bishop. But it is important to add that metamorphoses occur with all participants of the shogiban, with the exception of the King and the Golden General. It turns out that the Silver General, Knight, Spear and pawns also acquire new properties by moving through the center line, and to be more precise, they become Golden Generals. To do this, simply turn the corresponding five-sided plate over. Of course, they also acquire new move properties inherent in a more valuable piece.

logic game

Let's start playing Japanese chess

The rules of the game practically duplicate those familiar to us in chess. Each participant in turn makes his move to one of the figures, taking into account the rules of its movement. Both opponents are striving for the same goal - to checkmate the enemy King.

Checkmate in chess is the position of the King under the attack of the opponent's piece. There is either a direct fight, or he has no way to escape from the blow.

Capture pieces

But, as we have already said, “broken” pawns are placed on a special small table, which, oddly enough, can also be used. Having defeated one of the opponent's pieces, you can put it on the field, and it will be yours. When using a taken piece, it is worth remembering simple rules:

  • A pawn must not appear on the same file as another pawn that has not yet been promoted.
  • You cannot place a piece in such a way that it does notcould not make a single move.
  • It is forbidden to checkmate with the pawn you are setting up. Be like her at least once.
japanese chess game

Assessing the significance of figures

Chess players around the world do not count by the number of pieces they have, but by their importance. The unit of measure is the pawn, that is, its value is 1. Bishop and Knight are equal to 3, the value of the Rook is 5, and the Queen gets as much as 9. Japanese chess is calculated by a completely different method.

shogi japanese chess

Shogi is a game in which one should take into account the specific position of a piece on the board, and only based on this, determine its value. This is due to the transformations we talked about earlier. Let's find out what is the assessment of the main characters in this game:

  • Pawn - equals 1 point.
  • Spear - valued at 5.
  • The horse is equal to 6.
  • The silver general was awarded 8.
  • Golden General - 9.
  • The Transformed Silver General is a Gold General, so it is equal to 9.
  • The transformed spear is counted as 10.
  • The transformed horse is also equal to 10.
  • A promoted pawn is worth 12 points.
  • Elephant is 13.
  • Rook - 15 points.
  • The transformed bishop is 15.
  • Rook Transformed - 17, the most valuable character.

Game over

Like any other board games, Japanese chess ends either in the victory of one of the participants or in a draw. You can end the game atunder the following circumstances:

  1. More than four repetitions of a turn. In order to avoid losing, players can deliberately repeat the same moves. If this phenomenon is duplicated 4 times, the game ends in a draw.
  2. In the case when each of the Kings is in the opponent's camp, it is impossible to checkmate. Figures are counted according to their value. If the number of points for each participant is higher than 24, a draw is declared. Whoever has less than this number is the loser.
  3. Perpetual check is forbidden in shogi, you cannot use it to force a draw. By repeating the same position three times, the player must change tactics, or he must declare himself the loser.
  4. The last option for the end of the game is, of course, mate.

Tactical features of the game

Having mastered some basic rules, we will try to uncover some of the secrets of shogi, which allow us to take a broader look at the essence of what is happening. Firstly, Japanese chess is a very tense action, in which the situation escalates literally with every move. The reason for this is the “captured” pieces, which the opponent can put on the field as his own.

In theory, such a game can last forever, because there is no place for a standard chess endgame in it. But, as practice shows, opponents most often need from 60 to 180 moves (compared with the terminology of our chess, half moves, because in segs one whole move is considered a half move).

japanese chess game rules

Thanks to this range of actions, you, as a player, can take advantage of a little secret thatwill allow you to gain an advantage over your opponent. Try to "kill" the maximum number of enemy pieces, because later they will become transformed, therefore, more valuable directly to you. For such an advantage, you will have to sacrifice your camp, so do it wisely. Do not substitute pawns for battle (after all, their value in the hands of the enemy will increase significantly).

The second trick is to protect the king. The piece is priceless, because it should be surrounded as much as possible in order to block all the moves of the opponent around it. This technique is called building a fortress and sometimes requires a premature exchange of pieces, in particular - bishops.

shogi secrets

The third secret is old and simple. It doesn't matter if you play European chess, Japanese chess, or even just checkers or backgammon - you should carefully calculate your opponent's moves. Keep a record of exactly what your pieces he has got and what value they will gain when they appear again on the battlefield. After all, now their forces will be directed against you.

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