What Are the Rules of Shogi?
Shogi Piece Movement Rules:
- The majority of shogi pieces can only move to a neighboring square. Some pieces may move across the board, and one jump over intervening pieces.
- The lance, bishop, and rook are all versatile pieces: They can move an unlimited number of squares along a straight path, only restricted by adjacent pieces and the board’s edge.
- If an opponent piece intervenes, it can be captured by removing it from the board and replacing it with a moving piece.
- If a friendly piece intervenes, the moving piece must stop short of that square; if the friendly piece is adjacent, the moving piece may not move at all.
- A king (玉/王) moves one square in either an orthogonal or diagonal direction.
- A rook (飛) can move any number of squares orthogonally.
- A bishop (角) can move any number of squares diagonally. Because they cannot move orthogonally, the unpromoted bishops of the players can only reach half of the squares on the board unless one is caught and subsequently dropped.
- A gold general (金) moves forward one square orthogonally or diagonally, giving it six possible destinations. It can’t move diagonally backward.
- A silver general (銀) can move one square diagonally or one square straight forward, giving it five destinations. It is usual to leave unpromoted silver on the far side of the board because unpromoted silver can retreat more readily than promoted silver.
- In a single move, a knight (桂) jumps at an angle between orthogonal and diagonal, resulting in one square straight forward plus one square diagonally forward. As a result, the knight has two possible destinations. In contrast to international chess knights, shogi knights cannot move to the sides or backward. The only piece that ignores intervening pieces on its path to its destination is the knight. It cannot move if the square in front of it is occupied, but it also cannot capture a piece of that square. It is usually better to leave a knight unpromoted on the far side of the board. If a knight reaches any of the two highest ranks, he must promote.
- A lance (香) moves similarly to a rook, except that it cannot move backward or to the sides. It is usually better to leave a lance unpromoted on the far side of the board. If a lance reaches the highest rank, it must promote.
- A pawn (歩) moves one square forward in a straight line. It cannot retreat. In contrast to international chess pawns, shogi pawns capture as they move. If a pawn reaches the highest rank, it must promote. However, in reality, a pawn is normally promoted whenever possible. A pawn can only be dropped in one of two places.
- Except for the knight, all pieces can move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. These directions cannot be combined in a single motion; only one must be selected.
- Every piece prevents all other non-jumping pieces from moving across the square it occupies. A piece can be captured by removing it from the board and replacing it with the opposing piece if it occupies a legal destination for an opposing piece. On that turn, the captured piece may not move beyond that square.
Image Credits: Japan At Hand