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Help for Shogi


Welcome to the network Shogi server. The rules for Shogi are below. The shogi "challenge", "move", and "set" commands are described here. Other commands are the same for all games.

shogi challenge userid1 userid2 [ -handicap=xxx]
Start a new game between userid1 and userid2

You may use the -handicap option to specify handicaps in several ways.

Handicaps specified by piece will remove White's pieces starting with the leftmost piece.
Handicaps specified by rank&file will remove any specified piece.
Rather than removing a piece, this syntax places or replaces a piece (a Gold General at 8b).
The above syntaxes may be used together. This example removes the Rook, Bishop, and King's Pawn, and changes the Silver Generals to Gold Generals.
Standard Shogi handicaps (2 piece, 3 piece, etc) may be abbreviated as 2p, 3p, etc.

The removal of the handicaps is considered to be the first move traditionally, hence White makes the first move in handicapped games. As an alternative to using -handicap in the challenge command, Black may instead send "handicap=XXXX" as his first move. Of course, White is free to resign on his first move without penalty.

One may preview a handicap using the preview command, for example: "shogi preview new 2 -handicap=6p"

Handicapped games are not included in the server's ratings.

shogi move board userid password move[#moveno]
Make a move. A move is one of the following forms:


The shogi board consists of files (vertical columns) labeled a-i from top to bottom, and ranks (horizontal rows) labeled 1-9 from right to left.

<from> and <to> are file and rank coordinates. If both <from> and <to> are specified they must use the same order (rank-file or file-rank).

<piece> is a single letter abbreviation of the piece name, K for king, G for gold general, S for silver general, N for knight, L for lance, R for rook, B for bishop, and P for pawn. The letter may be proceeded by a plus sign (+) to indicate a promoted piece.

A hyphen (-) indicates a normal move, and is optional.
An x indicates a capture move.
An asterix (*) or single quote (') indicates a drop move.

A plus sign (+) following the move indicates that the piece should promote on completion of its move. An equal sign (=) indicates that the player chooses not to promote the piece. If the player has the opportunity to promote, either + or = must by specified.

shogi set userid password [options]
These are the available options.
    flip      : Rotate the board if you are playing White (default)
    noflip    : Black is always on the bottom

    standard  : default board style     |\ N/|/+P\| 
    alternate : Shogi-L board style     | wN |+bP | 
    small     : Small board display     |wN bG bP+|
S H O G I  R U L E S

Shogi is a Japanese board game played by two players.
The object of the game is to capture the opponent's King.
Shogi is played on a nine-by-nine board. The vertical rows are called files,
the horizontal ones ranks or just rows. Each player has twenty pieces:
one King, two Gold Generals, two Silver Generals, two kNights,
two Lances, one Rook, one Bishop and nine Pawns.
The player moving up the board and making the first move is referred to as
black and his opponent white, although in Shogi sets all pieces have the
same colour. They are differentiated only in direction: pieces pointing
away from a player are his. The pieces lie flat on the board and have
their Japanese name written on them.
The notation system and the initial setup in ASCII representation can be
found in the file SHOGI.BOARD.


King:           one step in any direction per move
Gold General:   one step per move any way except diagonally backward
                (as a king but not diagonally backward)
Silver General: one step per move forwards or diagonally
                (as a king but not sideways or vertically backward)
Knight:         one step to left or right, and two steps forward
                (the only piece which may jump over other pieces)
Rook:           moves vertically or horizontally any distance
Bishop:         moves diagonally any distance
Lance:          moves forward any distance
Pawn:           one step forward

Apart from the King and the Gold General all pieces can promote.
After promotion their moves are as follows:
+ Promoted Silver, promoted kNight, promoted Lance and promoted Pawn all
  move as a Gold.
+ The promoted Rook in addition to the moves of the unpromoted Rook can
  move one step in the diagonal directions. It either moves like a Rook
  or like a King.
+ The promoted Bishop in addition to the moves of the unpromoted Bishop
  can move one step horizontally or vertically. It either moves like a
  Bishop or like a King.


The three rows furthest away from a player are called the promotion zone. Apart
from the King and the Gold, any piece can be promoted to a more powerful piece
when it makes a move completely or partly in the promotion zone. So, when a
piece moves into, out of or fully inside the promotion zone it may be promoted
upon completion of its move. Promotion is optional, provided that the piece
still can make a legal move in case it is not promoted: if a Pawn or a Lance
move to the last row, or a Knight moves to either of the last two rows, it must
be promoted. In Shogi sets promoting a piece is done by turning this piece
upside down. Its promoted name is written on its other side.


When one piece moves onto the same square as an opponent's piece, the
opponent's piece is captured. All pieces capture in the same way that they
move. Captured pieces become part of the capturer's force. In a later move,
instead of moving a piece on the board, a player may put a piece that he
has captured from his opponent back onto the board, in an empty square.
This is called dropping a piece. Pieces are always dropped unpromoted: if
a promoted piece is captured, it reverts to its unpromoted rank.
Pieces may be dropped on any empty square on the board with only three
 1) After dropping a piece it must be able to make a legal move. This applies
    to Pawns, Knights or Lances. They may not be dropped onto a square from
    which they will never be able to move.
 2) Attacking the King by dropping a Pawn on the square in front of him is not
    allowed if the King cannot prevent being captured on the following move.
    To use the Chess expression: checkmating the King with a Pawn drop is
 3) A pawn may only be dropped on a file (vertical row) if there is no other
    unpromoted pawn of the same player on that file.


The game of Shogi has very few draws (roughly 1 percent), mainly because of
the possibility to drop pieces. Draws cannot be offered and can arise from
two situations:
 1) A position (including the pieces in hand) occurs 4 times with the same
    player to move ("Sennichite"). However, if this is caused by consecutive
    checks (direct attacks on the King, threatening to capture it on the next
    move) by one side, the player giving these checks loses the game.
 2) Both players have moved their King into the the promotion zone (or they
    cannot be prevented to do so) and the Kings cannot be checkmated. In
    that case the players may decide to count their pieces where the King does
    not count, the Rook and Bishop count as 5 points, and all other pieces as
    one point. Promotion is disregarded. If both players have at least 24
    points the game is a draw ("Jishogi"). If a player has less, he loses the
    Of course, a player can refuse to count pieces when he still has mating
    chances or chances to gain material which would affect the outcome of the
    counting. There is no strict rule about what to do if this is not the case,
    but nonetheless a player refuses to count up (e.g. because he does not have
    enough points for a draw). It has been generally accepted that in such a
    case the game ends and the pieces are counted after one player has managed
    to get all his pieces protected in the promotion zone.

Chris Sterritt and Pieter Stouten, 12-th June 1990.
Last revision 9-th October 1991 - Draws (Jishogi rule).

This document is used with permission from Pieter Stouten. For more information on Shogi, please see Pieter Stouten's excellent web page at

N O T A T I O N  A N D  I N I T I A L  S E T U P


Moves are represented by the abbreviation of a piece, followed by the 
indication of the square where the piece goes to. Abbreviations are: 
K = King, R = Rook, B = Bishop, G = Gold, S = Silver, N = kNight, 
L = Lance, P = Pawn. If the representation is ambiguous then the starting
square is given too (e.g. G4a-5b). Captures are indicated by an x
(e.g. Px5e). Drops are indicated by ' or * (e.g. P'8f or P*8f). Since an
asterisk can easily be mistaken for an "x", the preferred notation for
drops is an apostrophe (e.g. P'8f). Promotion is indicated by a + behind
the move (e.g. B7g+). A promoted piece is represented by a + followed by
the abbreviation of the unpromoted piece (e.g. +S3d). Sometimes not
promoting a piece that could have promoted is indicated by = behind the
move (e.g. S3c=).


The representation of the board with the initial setup (which has become
the de facto standard in electronic correspondence Shogi) is given below.
The w and b in front of the abbreviations indicate white and black
respectively. When a piece promotes, it will be shown on the e-mail board
with a preceding "+", as in "+bL".
Captured pieces are kept in the boxes at the right side of the board.
When sending games back and forth between players, the moves are listed
above the board. This works well, as you can see the latest moves and the
board as well at the bottom of the file.

   9    8    7    6    5    4    3    2    1
+--------------------------------------------+       White in hand:
| wL | wN | wS | wG | wK | wG | wS | wN | wL |  a   +---------------+
+--------------------------------------------+      |               |
|    | wR |    |    |    |    |    | wB |    |  b   |               |
+--------------------------------------------+      +---------------+
| wP | wP | wP | wP | wP | wP | wP | wP | wP |  c
|    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |  d
|    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |  e
|    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |  f
| bP | bP | bP | bP | bP | bP | bP | bP | bP |  g
+--------------------------------------------+      Black in hand:
|    | bB |    |    |    |    |    | bR |    |  h   +---------------+
+--------------------------------------------+      |               |
| bL | bN | bS | bG | bK | bG | bS | bN | bL |  i   |               |
+--------------------------------------------+      +---------------+

The rules of Shogi can be found in the file "shogi.rules".

Chris Sterritt and Pieter Stouten, 13-th June 1990.
Last revision 1-st July 1990 - Preferred notation for drops.

This document is used with permission from Pieter Stouten. For more information on Shogi, please see Pieter Stouten's excellent web page at


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