Shogi - Japanese chess

by Krishnanand S
(Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.)

Shogi - Japanese Chess

Shogi - Japanese Chess

Are you a chess lover who plays a lot of chess? Are you getting bored with playing it for a long time and need a change? Hopefully I can help you find a solution. Shogi, meaning the game of general’s in Japanese, traces back its origin from India.

Perhaps this could be one of the similarities between Chess and Shogi. Chaturanga, the Indian chess game spread its wings through several forms to Japan and became the general’s game. Chaturanga is an Indian chess game listed in Indian epic stories. The Indian chess game, like Shogi, is all about making strategies.

Chaturanga was invented during the 7th century AD in India. Chaturanga in Sanskrit means ‘having four parts’ and in Tamil, it means a square (derived from the word ‘saturam’). Spreading its way across Arabia, Europe, Korea and China, it reached Tokyo as Shogi. Today the game serves as a national identity for Japan. Even the rules that are formed during the 16th century are followed till now.

Shogi is a two player game which tests one’s logical thinking skills. We call the board we play chess on, the chess board and if you play Shogi, call it a Shogi-ban, its Japanese name. The Shogi-ban is a 9x9 board which has 9 rows and 9 columns unlike Chaturanga which has only 8 rows and 8 columns, usually rectangular in shape and rarely in square. Like the game of chess, Shogi involves capturing kingdoms with strategy.

Of course, it has drop rules too. Lost your valuable player during the game? Don’t worry. We can bring him alive using its drop rule. Keep concentrating on the opposite player’s kingdom and never forget to capture the opposing king. It is interesting to have a difference from chess for Shogi has lots of drops with larger game tree complexity. Kanji, the Chinese character used in Japanese writing, helps to write the names on the pieces. Start the game by allowing Black to move first or the side moving first is always called Black.

People of recent times use modernization as their tool. Today, after the arrival of computers and internet, the world has become a global village. The computer gaming industry attracts all the computer users. Knowing this, Shogi has also entered into the era of computer gaming. Apart from making our children to sit in front of the computer for long hours with violent games without creativity, we can make them develop their logical thinking skills by asking them to play Shogi. This will sharpen their brains too. The game is played in many parks and streets all over Tokyo and it has been a part of Japanese life for 1000 years.

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