Shogi (shōgi 将棋) is the Japanese member of the chess game family. Shogi is often dubbed as Japanese chess. It is played on a 9x9 (cell) board, with a distinctive capture rule making pieces you capture yours to place back on the board.
Shogi is more widely played than go in Japan, especially among young people, but in recent years, has been suffering from the same decline in its playing population. Its history has run parallel to go's since Sansa. It is much less played outside Japan.
See the Wikipedia article on shogi.
- There is in fact a substantial family of shogi games, including Chushogi (中将棋 chūshōgi) which is played on a larger board.
- Honourable mention should also go to Taikyoku Shogi (pictures of a board here).
Shogi sets can be as expensive as go sets. Here are two web sites (Japanese only) for shops in Japan where you can buy sets of pieces from $10 (plastic) to $6000 (finest wood) and boards from $15 to $5000. http://www.nakayama-goban.co.jp and http://homepage2.nifty.com/ohkubogobanten
KurokiGoIshiTen has some very nice Shogi equipment in its Japanese section.
Because the history of shogi has often been intertwined with the history of go, the GoGoD CD contains a decent amount of material on shogi history. It was also John Fairbairn of GoGoD who helped George Hodges of The Shogi Association make available for the first time in English the rules of all the now popular shogi variants.
Servers and software
- 81 Dojo http://81dojo.com/.
- Lishogi https://lishogi.org/ Derived from Lichess chess server. Still in public beta.
- PlayOK https://www.playok.com/en/shogi/
- Shogi and variants (ChuShogi, MiniShogi, TenjikuShogi, ToriShogi, YariShogi) are among the many games played in Richard's PBeM Server ( http://www.gamerz.net/pbmserv/). They can be played by email or online ( http://www.gamerz.net/pbmserv/List.php?Shogi), with helpful graphics so you do not have to learn the movements for each kanji. The server is email-based, so the games are slow paced (the time limit for a move is measured in days), which might be good to try new variants.
- First, download Ruby ( http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/downloads/).
- Now you need to download exerb ( http://downloads.sourceforge.jp/exerb/25874/exerb-4.2.0.zip) and put it in your Ruby installation directory (which should be C:\Ruby by default).
- Finally, download shogi server ( http://cvs.sourceforge.jp/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/shogi-server.tar.gz?view=tar) and put that somewhere or other.
- In your C:\Ruby\exerb-4.2.0 directory, run setup.rb by double-clicking on it.
- Now you need a client. Easiest one is probably the Emacs client ( http://tokyo.cool.ne.jp/progn/shogi-0.12.tgz), which you'll need Emacs for ( http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/).
Computers versus Humans
On April 20 2013, a computer easily defeated the 19th highest rated professional shogi player. GPS Shogi, playing second, defeated Miura Hiroyuki. Miura resigned after 102 moves. Each player had 4 hours and then 1 minute per move. The computer used only 2 hours and 7 minutes. Miura expressed disappointment and said he has yet to figure out where he went wrong. The game was part of the Denousen 2 tournament. GPS Shogi played Miura because GPS Shogi won the 22nd World Computer Shogi Championship on 5 May 2012.
In 2013, it seems the strongest computers are equal to the strongest professional players. The Japan Shogi Association announced the Denousen 3 tournament. The JSA rules are different from expected. The JSA are running a computer elimination tournament and a Denousen 3 tournament. They supply the hardware for both tournaments, so no cluster computers. In effect, they prohibit the best computer shogi players. They are giving the programs to the professional players after the elimination tournament. The JSA prohibits programmers from making program improvements after the elimination tournament. These rules almost guarantee a JSA professional win. This is disappointing.
In spite of the restrictions on the computers at the Denousen 3 tournament, the computers won 4 out 5 games against the professional shogi players. Yashiki Nobuyuki, the 12th highest rated professional shogi player, lost to computer program Ponanza.