Shogi Basics

By an_m_t_clip2017-02-14 03:07

From some of my earlier posts I have learned that a few people here are interested in learning Shogi, so I thought I'd teach everyone the basics here.

I have previously owned and played Shogi myself but I am by no means a master. Shogi shares a lot of similarities with Western Chess however a few additional rules make it a little more difficult to master.


We'll start with explaining the board setup. Different from Western Chess a Shogi board is 9x9 and your pieces take up the first 3 Ranks instead of 2. From top/down and left/right.

The first rank is your pawns, the second rank is Bishop and Rook. Then the third rank is Lance, Knight, Silver General, Gold General and King.


The Pawn: The pawn in Shogi is slightly different in that it can only move one space forward at a time and captures forward instead of diagonal.


The Bishop: In Shogi the Bishop moves the same as in western chess, diagonals any amount of spaces.


The Rook: Also the same as in western Chess, Forward Back and Sides any amount.


The Lance: The first of the pieces that doesn't exist in western Chess. The Lance is only able to move forward but can move any number of spaces.


The Knight: Unlike the Western Knight, in Shogi it is only able to move in the front 2 positions. Forward 2 and to a side 1 jumping pieces along the way.


The Silver General: Forward one and all diagonals by 1.


The Gold General: The Gold General is able to move any direction except the back diagonals by one.


The King: This is the exact same piece as in Western Chess, it can move Omnidirectional by 1 space and the goal is to checkmate the opponents.

Next up is the additional rules let's start with Promotion as it has a bearing on units movements.

When a unit moves into, out of, or within the enemies 3 Ranks you can promote it, flipping over the piece and changing its movement. If a piece were to have no more available moves in enemy ranks it is forced to promote.


The only 2 pieces you have to really learn for promotion are the Bishop (above) and the Rook (below) they each keep there original and gain a one space movement of the others.


The King and Gold General do not have promotions and any other piece once promoted transforms it's movement into that of a Gold General.



The other addition to Shogi is Dropping, and this is what serves to make Shogi a little more complex as there are many things that can and can't be done with it.

When you capture an enemy piece in Shogi it becomes yours, you can then use one of your moves to Drop the piece on the board with a few exceptions.

1) A piece cannot be Dropped anywhere where it will not have any available moves. This means Knights cannot be Dropped on the last 2 ranks of the board, and Pawn/Lance cannot be dropped on the last rank.

2) Pawns cannot be dropped on a file where there is another allied pawn.

3) You cannot drop a Pawn where it would checkmate the enemy King. However you can drop any other piece into a checkmate position.

Well that was a lot to type up. I tried to grab uniform images to show you the pieces and their movements however Google Images refused to agree with me.

If any one has any questions please do comment them or send me a message, I'll be sure to answer Asap.

Tag Shogi Tutorial Strategy Game

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