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“Japanese chess cedes nothing in depth or beauty to the European game... it is at least as interesting.”
— Alexander Alekhine
(quoted in David Pritchard, The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants)
“... shogi [is] by far the most complex form of chess that has ever achieved widespread popularity.”
— R. Wayne Schmittberger, New Rules for Classic Games
Shogi is the version of chess played in Japan. It is strikingly different from standard chess (which I shall refer to henceforth as “international chess”) and also to all other regional variants, because captured pieces can re-enter play on the side of the capturer. This has several interesting effects on the play of the game:
Shogi is extremely popular in Japan; it has been estimated that 20 million Japanese can play shogi, of which perhaps 1 million are active players. It is even more popular there than the game of go, Japan’s other favorite board game. There are a number of professional players who make a considerable amount of money playing in shogi tournaments, and the game receives extensive newpaper and television coverage. Despite this, the game has yet to become popular outside of Japan. Part of this is because the Kanji characters on the pieces scare away some people, but mostly it’s due, I think, to lack of exposure to the game and to the difficulty of finding opponents. I hope that GNU shogi will help introduce shogi to a wider audience.
|2.1 The rules of shogi|
|2.2 Sample game|
|2.3 Mating problems|
|2.4 Shogi variants|
|2.5 Differences between shogi and chess|
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