SHOGI is the smallest of the Japanese versions of
the game Chess. The game was developed from the same roots as chess
and therefore has many similarities but also major differences.
The board is a 9 x 9 square and is uniformly
coloured, making diagonal attacks harder to see. The pieces are
traditionally made of wood and have Japanese characters carved in
them, then black lacquer applied to make the characters stand out.
The pieces are of uniform colour, wedge shaped and pointed at the
front to denote ownership, your pieces pointing towards your
opponent and his pointing to you.
The program has what I hope are complete
instructions with simple diagrams to explain the moves so I won't go
into too many details here. Captured pieces may be returned to the
board as part of your forces, which is why they possess no
identifying colour. All pieces, except the King and Gold, may be
promoted when they make all or part of their move in your opponents
setup area. When promoted the pieces are turned over to reveal
different characters. All the characters must be learnt in the
normal and reversed positions i.e. for your opponents pieces. This
makes it harder for westerners to learn Shogi.
The two sides are called Black and White with
Black moving up the board and starting each game. In Shogi sets,
often only the Black King possesses the extra spot as shown in the
program and the player drawing this piece starts the game.
There are many different styles of characters used
on the pieces and sets may therefore differ from the characters
shown in the program. The set I have is a pocket version and the
characters for the promoted pieces do not correspond to those used
in the program. The designs of characters and the understanding of
the rules of the game came mainly from SHOGI magazine published by
THE SHOGI ASSOCIATION Ltd., P.O.BOX 77, BROMLEY, KENT and GAMES AND
PUZZLES magazine issue No.24 May 1974. All the magazines I have are
before 1979 and I do not know if the Shogi Association still exists,
but if anybody wishes to know more about Shogi and the other
versions of Japanese Chess it would be worthwhile trying to contact
The program allows two players to play Shogi, with
the computer checking move legality, giving a description of the
move played and checking for check. The program will only allow legal
moves. It does not check for checkmate since this would be too time
consuming but if you cannot get out of check by entering a move then
obviously you have been checkmated.
The moves are entered using algebraic notation,
the letters and numbers reversed from normal Chess notation. Sample
games are included in the program to help aid learning the game.
They are all taken from Japanese championship tournaments and
extended where necessary so that the games end in checkmate.
Before typing in the sample game lines POKE 82,0
to make them fit into the computer's standard line. The moves will
then line up into neat columns.