|Shogi (also known as Japanese chess) is a two-player board game in the same family as Western chess, Chaturanga, Chinese Xiangqi, and Korean Janggi, and is the most popular of a family of chess variants native to Japan.
|The goal of Shogi is to attack the opponent's King in such a way that the opponent cannot escape from the attack and cannot block it on his next turn.
At the beginning of the game each player has 20 pieces. The pieces of both players are exactly the same. The pieces of the two players do not differ in colour, but instead each faces forward, toward the opposing side. This shows who controls the piece during play. Each piece has its name written on its surface in the form of two kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese). "Westernized" pieces with iconic pictures can also be used.
On the reverse side of each piece (except the king and gold general) are one or two other characters (often in a different colour). This side is turned face up during play to indicate that the piece has been promoted.
Shogi is played on a square board of 9x9 cells.
The initial position of the pieces on the board is shown on the next picture:
Players move alternatively, starting from the Black player (the terms "Black" and "White" are used to differentiate the two sides, but there is no actual difference in the color of the pieces).
No piece can move to a cell occupied by another piece of the same player.
If a piece moves to a cell occupied by an enemy piece the latter is considered to be captured, taken by the capturing player and removed from the board (see Drops). The capture is not mandatory, i.e. if one of the player's pieces can capture some enemy piece it's not required to do so.
If a piece A can capture an enemy piece B it's said that the A attacks B or that the B is under attack.
A player may never leave his king "in check" at the end of his move. The "in check" situation can be eliminated in one of the following ways:
All possible moves for each type of the pieces are explained below.
The Knight can jump two cells vertically forward and one cell sideways from its current position in a single move, giving it two possibilities.The Knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces.
A player's promotion area is the last three rows of the board. If a piece starts or ends its move on one of the cells in the promotion area then the player may choose to promote the piece at the end of the turn. Promotion is indicated by turning the piece over after it moves, revealing the character for the promoted rank.
A promoted piece moves in a different way than the original piece:
Unlike standard Chess, captured pieces in Shogi are taken by the capturing player and can be reused later in the game. On any turn, instead of moving a piece on the board, a player may take a previously captured opponent's piece and place it on any empty cell of the board facing the opposite side. This kind of move is called a Drop.
Dropping a piece must follow the next rules:
|End of Game
If a player puts an enemy king in check and the opponent cannot eliminate it on his next move, then the game ends and the player wins. Such position is called a checkmate. On the following picture the black king is in check (under attack of white gold general) and there is no way for blacks to escape from this situation or capture the attacking piece (the white gold general is protected by the white knight):
A player loses the game if he gives a perpetual check to his opponent, i.e. if the same board position has been repeated four times and each player's move put an enemy king in check.
Without perpetual check, repeating the same board position four times ends the game in a draw..