Shogi is an ancient Japanese game that is a local variant of Chess. There are many variants of chess in the country and particularly known for the concept of drops, which allows players to use captured enemy pieces as allied pieces. Shogi, like Chess, requires you to capture the opponent's king, and the player who manages to do that, wins the game.
The History of Shogi
The actual place and period of origin of Shogi is not confirmed, but the oldest mention of this games is in the a book called Kirinsho, that was written in the 1027 A.D. Excavators have also found 16 pieces made of Hinoki wood, which resemble the modern day shogi pieces. In 1230 A.D., the descriptions of two different types of Shogi games were found, with one of them having eight rows with eight to nine squares in each of them and the other one had thirteen rows with thirteen columns in each one of them.
Two other versions of Shogi were found to be from 1300 B.C. These were written by a monk and were called Dai Shogi and Sho Shogi and these versions of Shogi had 130 and 21 pieces, respectively. Sho Shogi, later became the widely accepted version of Shogi.
Players take turns to move their piece and the moves are directed towards promoting a piece or capturing the opponent's piece, both these actions in the same turn are also possible. The players may also drop one of the pieces, which have been captured by them, back on the board in their turn. One unique feature of this game, which differentiates it from Chess, is that the pieces of both players are of the same colour.
Today, Shogi is also played professionally and rivals Go in terms of fan following. Such games are played in the format of professional chess, which are timed, and players have to make their moves within the given time limit. On paper, Shogi may sound very easy, but it is actually the most difficult version of Chess. As in this game, the captured pieces can be put against your opponent and thus, the level of strategy and planning required while playing, increases to a great extent.
But despite the difficulty, Shogi is still a very popular board game and you can find your own set of Shogi in a hobby or sports shop near you. The rules and regulations are available on the internet and you can also find a lot of literature on this game in book stores. If you are already familiar with Chess then Shogi will be a breeze for you.