The Chess Variant Pages

Book: L U Kisljuk, The Japanese Heroes' Game

Ivan A.Derzhanski wrote about a Russian book on chess variants, he bought July 2000. The book has been published between 1996 and 2000 in Moscow.

L U Kisljuk
The Japanese Heroes' Game
The Japanese Shogi Chess Game and Its Closest `Relatives'
Moscow: Universitetskaja Kniga.


Very detailed descriptions of Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Thai chess, including numerous comments on the native names of pieces and their etymology, the appearance of traditional game sets, rules and conventions governing the behaviour of players, as well as discussions of the cultural and historical origin or significance of this or that detail.

A brief description (with some mistakes) of Chu Shogi.

Brief mention of the existence of some other variants of the games, such as Maka-Dai-Dai Shôgi and three-handed Xiangqi; also of Hasami Shôgi, Tobi Shôgi (with overtake capture, as in draughts) and Gunjin Shôgi (with incomplete information: in the initial setup all pieces are turned upside down, and every one's reverse side is blank, so a player doesn't know how his opponent's army is allocated).

Concise information on some old Chinese CV which is called _Semedo_ (if that was ever a Chinese word, it's been distorted very strongly) in Thomas Hyde's book _Mandragorias, seu Historia shahiludii_, Oxford, 1694. Board is 5 (files) by 8 (ranks); play is on the squares, not on the intersections. Setup: 1 general (c1), 2 mandarins (b1, d1), 2 horses (a1, e1), 2 rockets (cannons? a2, e2), 5 pawns (a3, b-d2, e3); mutatis mutandis ditto for the other player.

A note on the fact that a large Xiangqi version has been invented recently (PRC patent 91301156.8, _Bulletin of Industrial Samples of the PRC_ 11.12. 1991). Board is 13 (ranks) by 14 (files), each player starts the game with 26 pieces, incl. such as are not in Xiangqi.

Also a note on the existence of a game called Large Korean Chess, on a 14 by 15 board. The author says that game bore some similarity to Dai Shôgi, but he doesn't say whether it extended to more than the size of the board.

A description of a game of the author's own invention, called Crown, and a more complex version thereof, called Crown-2. Those are very close to Orthochess, but involve incomplete information: some things about your army are not known to your opponent, and he must deduce them by observing the behaviour of your pieces.

Based upon email by Ivan A Derzhanski. Web page posted by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: July 6, 2000.