The game of Japanese Chess or Shogi is played on a board of 81 squares - 9 x 9. The pieces for each player consist of
The pieces are flat counters, all the same hue but with a point. Pieces are laid so that they point towards the opponent.
Each player's nine Pawns are placed on the third nearest row to the player. The Rook and the Bishop are placed on the second row one space in from the edge, the Rook on the right, the Bishop on the left. The remaining pieces are placed on the row nearest to the player in the following way: the Lances in each corner, the Knights on the next square in from the corner, the Silver Generals next to the Knights. The middle square on the nearest row holds the King with the Gold Generals either side of him.
The objective of Japanese Chess is to capture the opposing player's King. The King is never actually taken; instead the aim is put the opponent's King into a position such that the opposing player can do nothing to avoid the King being taken next turn. As soon as this happens, the victorious player who has just moved says "checkmate" and the game is over.
Players take turns to move a piece that belongs to them. Each piece is moved according to different rules but no two pieces can occupy the same square. If a piece moves so that its final position is a square occupied by an opposing piece, the opposing piece is "captured" or "taken" and is removed from the board. Captured pieces should be placed face up within easy view of both players. It is not compulsory to capture.
If a piece other than the Gold General or King makes a move that ends within the promotion zone (the last three rows), then the player can choose to promote that piece. The piece is turned over to reveal the symbol of the promoted piece. If a Pawn or Lance reaches the final row or the Knight reaches the penultimate row, then that piece MUST be promoted. A promoted piece moves as follows:
The fascinating facet of the game that makes Shogi a superior Chess variety in many people's minds, is the fact that captured pieces are allowed to re-enter the game. Aside from maintaining the complexity of the game, it also means that there is no concept of Stalemate or agreed draws in Shogi.
A player with one or more captured pieces can opt to drop a captured piece onto the board instead of moving at any point in the game. The dropped piece can be re-entered onto any vacant square with the following restrictions:
When a piece is moved such that a player's King cannot avoid being captured upon the next turn, that player's King is said to be checkmated and the game is over.
Once it is believed that the opposing player will inevitably win, a player will normally resign to save time.
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Our rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play. If in doubt, always abide by locally-played or house rules.
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