The Chess Variant Pages

Peter Michaelsen writes:

It is a great pleasure for me to introduce the readers of this web site to two new chess variants, which I invented last year. The first of these, Cannon Shogi, was invented in February 1998, and the other, Cannon Chess, in July 1998. In April 1999 I made a slight revision of the initial array of the latter game.

Both games are played on the Shogi 9x9 board, Cannon Shogi with 2x20 pieces, and Cannon Chess with 2x18. If small labels are placed upon and under the pieces, the two games can easily be played with a Shogi set.

It is now also possible to play Cannon Shogi and Cannon Chess by computer. Steve Evans, who wrote the very nice Shogi Variants program, described by Rick Brown in NOST.ALGIA #371, p.30, has implemented both games, using the Zillions of Games program. Zillions, developed by Mark Lefler and Jeff Mallett, contains a generic board-game engine that can learn new games on the spot and play them. Game rules are stored in text documents that can be edited. So far, over 500 puzzles, games and variants have been implemented (for more information, see the home page of Zillions: <>, from where a lot of new implementations can be downloaded).

Cannon Shogi

Cannon Shogi is similar to Ortho-Shogi, but with some differences, as is clear from this picture of the initial array:

The 2x5 Pawns are placed on the a-, c-, e-, g-, and i-files.

A Pawn moves and captures a single square forward or sideways, like the Soldier of Korean Chess. It promotes (optionally) to a Gold General when making a move that begins or ends in the last 3 ranks of the board.

On the 2nd and 8th rank 2x4 cannons are situated. The four cannons of each player are all different.

The diagonal Bishop is flanked by two orthogonal cannons; the orthogonal Rook is flanked by two diagonal cannons.

The Gold Cannons on d2/f8 move like Rooks, by sliding any number of squares along a row or column, but they can capture an enemy only if there is another piece (of either side) in between. Thus to capture they leap over the intervening piece and land on the enemy piece, like a cannonball. This is the same move and capture as the Cannon (Pao) of Chinese Chess (Xiangqi).

The Silver Cannons on c2/g8 capture like Gold Cannons, but can only move by leaping over an intervening piece, called a "screen". They move and capture like the Cannon of Korean Chess.

The Copper Cannons on g2/c8 move like Bishops, by sliding any number of squares along a diagonal, but they can capture an enemy only if there is another piece (of either side) in between. They capture by leaping over an intervening piece, and have the same powers as the Cannon of Chinese Chess, but in a diagonal rather than orthogonal direction.

The Iron Cannons on f2/d8 capture like Copper Cannons, but can only move by leaping over a screen. They have the same powers as the Cannon of Korean Chess, but in a diagonal rather than orthogonal direction.

A Cannon promotes (optionally) to a Flying Cannon when making a move that begins or ends in the last 3 ranks. It acquires additional powers:

A Flying Gold Cannon and a Flying Silver Cannon can move orthogonally over whole rows and is able to leap one piece by moving. The FGC and FSC can also move one square diagonally and, besides, move or capture two squares diagonally, by leaping an adjacent piece.

A Flying Copper Cannon and a Flying Iron Cannon can move diagonally over whole rows and is able to leap one piece by moving. The FCC and FIC can also move one square orthogonally and, besides, move or capture two squares orthogonally, by leaping an adjacent piece.

All other pieces move, capture and promote like Shogi pieces. Captured pieces are added to the capturer's "reserve", an army of pieces which can be reintroduced into play on the capturer's side. Like in Shogi, a Knight or Lance may not be dropped on a square from which it will never be able to move. Contrary to Shogi, there are no Pawn drop restrictions: Pawns may be placed on a file that already contains an unpromoted Pawn, and may also be dropped with mate.

With Steve Evans' Zillions implementation of Cannon Shogi one can play several variants: Cannon Shogi with Pawn drop restrictions, Cannon Shogi with swapped Cannons (GCs on c2/g8, SCs on d2/f8, CCs on f2/d8, ICs on g2/c8), and, finally, Cannon Shogi with "Korean" Cannons, ie.: Cannons cannot leap or capture other Cannons.

With the introduction of the cannons of Chinese and Korean Chess, as well as their diagonal counterparts, I want to add a new dimension to the classical game of Shogi. With a pawn array similar to the one used in Chinese and Korean Chess, the opening game tends to be much more tactical and explosive than in ordinary Shogi. Not only because of their high number, the cannons dominate play more than in Xiangqi and Changgi. Because of the drops, they are more mobile and dangerous in all phases of the game. They may be weakened a little on board, as more and more pieces are captured and kept in hand, but may still be very useful when dropped on the board again, or when other pieces are dropped in front of them.

I made the Pawns move and capture sideways as well as forwards, because I thought that they needed some compensation, being only 2x5 against 2x15 officers.

Game transcripts

I include four games of Cannon Shogi here, in order to give the readers some impression of the game. All games are played by Zillions against itself, on expert level, using 3 min. per move in average. Zillions plays Cannon Shogi better than I do, but its play is probably weak compared to the play of a strong Shogi player. NOST Kerry Handscomb who is a good Shogi player has kindly commented two of the Cannon Shogi games:

I quote: "Cannon Shogi is a wild game. The cannons remind me of the jumping generals of tenjiku shogi. With so little experience of this game it is difficult to evaluate these games properly, and these few comments below are made from a shogi perspective.

Cannon Shogi game 1

1.ICf2-c5 Attacking the GC 1...e7-d7 Defends by removing the shield. 2. ICc5xg9(FIC)+ Probably a bad exchange since the IC should be worth more than a S. 2...Gf9xg9 3. SCc2-e2 SCg8-e8 4. Sg1-f2 Maybe better is Rh2xh8(D), Gg9xh8, S*g9 4...IC*f4 Forks the R and GC 5. Rh2xh8(D) Gg9xh8 6. SCe2xe8 Gd9xe8 7. S*g9 ICf4xd2(FIC) Ignoring the fork is good. 8. Sg9xf8+ Ge8xf8 9. Gd1xd2 If Sc1xd2 Rb8xb2(D) 9...ICd8-b6 Blocks the R. Maybe R*h2 is better, or how about SC*b7? 10. IC*e5 Forking R and G 10...GC*e8 Pins the IC on e5 11. Gd2-e2 ICb6xf2 (FIC) 12. Ge2xf2 Why not Gf1xf2? 12...S*c2 13. SC*g9 R*d1+ Not good as he is forcing the king towards an escape route. 14. Ke1-e2 Rb8xb2(D) 15. Sc1xb2 B*b5+ Ditto. Surely B*h5+ is better? 16. Ke2-f3 Bb5xf1(H) 17. SCg9xi9+(FSC) SC*f9 18. FSCi9xf9 Hf1xg2+ 19. Kf3xg2 Gf8xf9 20. IC*a5+ G*b6 21. ICe5xa9(FIC) A pointless move at this stage. 21... Gb6xa5 22. GC*e5+ Ke9-d9 23. SC*g9+ Good. If Gf9xg9 then R*e9 23... IC*e9 24. GCe5xe9(FGC) SC*d2 25. Kg2-f3 Gf9xg9 26. FGCe9xc9 Another pointless move at this stage. 26...SC*f1+ 27. Gf2xf1 Rd1xf1(D)+ 28. IC*f2 Df1xf2+ 29. Kf3xf2 S*e2+ 30. Kf2-g1 G*f1 mate.

Cannon Shogi game 2

1. c3-b3 CCc8-b7 I don't know what these moves are about [Zillions thinks that a Copper Cannon is worth much more than a Silver Cannon - this could explain the moves - P.M.] 2. SCc2xc9(FSC)+ Surely the S is worth more than the SC? 2...Gd9xc9 3. i3-h3 Another mysterious move as it blocks his R. 3...SC*e6+ 4. Gd1-e2 CCb6xh1(FCC) The CC is worth more than a N, but the point becomes apparent next move. 5. Rh2xh1 N*d3+ 6. Ke1-d1 Nd3xc1(G)+ 7. Bb2xc1 GCf8xf1(FGC) Another consequence of the CC sacrifice. 8. ICf2-i5+ Sg9-f8 9. N*d7+ Meaning? 9...e7xd7 10. CC*e4 Defending the R. 10...FGCf1xh1+ 11. CCe4xh1 R*f1+ 12. GC*e1 SCe6xe2(FSC) 13.Kd1xe2 N*f4+ 14. Ke2-d3 If Ke2xf1 then G*e2 mate 14...S*e2+ This looks like driving the king away from his own attackers. Bad shogi practise. But the GC's provide good defense of the d and e files. 15. Kd3-c2 Se2xe1 16. ICi5xe1 Nf4xg2(G) 17. Sg1xg2 Rf1xe1(D) 18. N*c5 It is difficult to see what this is for, but it is interesting nevertheless to see how much play the N gets with all the powerful new pieces. 18... GC*f2+ 19. GCd2-d5 De1xc1+ Good exchange with the GC on the second rank. 20. Kc2xc1 IC*f4+ 21. e3-f3 G*e3+ It is starting to look fatal for black. 22. Kc1-b2 f3xf4 does not work because of G*d2, etc. 22... g7-f7+ 23. S*g7 I can't see the point of this. Why not now Bh8xg7? 23... B*e2+ 24. R*c2 Bh8xg7+ 25. S*c3 Bg7xc3(H)+ 26. Nb1xc3 S*c1+ 27. Kb2-b1 Kb2-a2 doesn't last any longer. 27... S*b2+ 28. Rc2xb2 Sc1xb2(G) mate.

Because of the power of the cannons there seems to be little point in castling in this game, because the protective pieces could prove to be a liability. It would seem prudent to give the king as much space as possible. The preponderance of powerful pieces would seem to make this a game almost entirely of tactics rather than strategy. However, my knowledge of the game is too little to have any confidence in such statements."

From the first two games one get the impression that the Knight, but not the Lance play a role in Cannon Shogi. The next two games show, however, that the Lance likewise can be an important piece.

Cannon Shogi game 3

1. ICf2xa7 La9xa7 2. i3-h3 ICd8-f6 3. Li1xi7(G) Bh8xi7 4. c3-d3 ICf6xa1 5. Bb2xa1 Rb8xb1 6. Ba1xg7 Nh9xg7 7. SCc2xc8(FSC) Sc9xc8 8. IC*c5 SC*e5+ 9. CC*e4 IC*i5+ 10. Sg1-f2 N*f3+ 11. Ke1-e2 ICi5xf2(FIC) 12. Gf1xf2 SCe5xe3 13. CCe4xb1 SCe3- e8(FSC)+ 14. *e3 e7-d7+ 15. IC*e4 La7xa3(G) 16. ICc5xg9(FIC)+ Gf9xg9 17. Ke2xf3 B*i6+ 18. S*g4 IC*h5+ 19. Sg4xh5 Bi6xh5+ 20. N*g4 L*f4+ 21. Kf3-e2 Lf4xf2(G)+ 22. GCd2xf2 SCg8xg4 23. IC*a5+ G*b6 24. CCg2-f3 SCg4-g1(FSC) 25. ICa5xc7(FIC) Sc8xc7 26. GCf2xf8 Ke9xf8 27. L*e6 FSCe8-e5 28. GC*a9 N*d4+ 29. Ke2-f2 Bi7xe3+ 30. d3xe3 FSCg1-i1 31. R*f6+ Kf8-g8 32. B*h7+ Kg8-h8 33. *i8+ Li9xi8 34. Bh7xi8(H)+ Kh8-g8 35. Hi8-h7+ Kg8-h9 36. *i9+ Kh9xi9 37. Hh7-i8 mate.

Cannon Shogi game 4

1. ICf2xa7(FIC) ICd8xi3(FIC) 2. SCc2xc7(FSC) Nb9xc7 3. Li1xi3 La9xa7 4. Sg1-f2 GCf8xf1 5. Ke1xf1 SC*i1+ 6. *g1 Rb8xb2 7. Sc1xb2 B*b5+ 8. *e2 La7xa3(G) 9. La1xa3 SCi1xg1 10. Kf1xg1 i7-h7 11. Li3xi9(G) Bh8xi9 12. CCg2-b7(FCC) L*h6 13. FCCb7-b6+ Sc9-d8 14. SC*b9+ Ke9-e8 15. GC*e5+ CCc8-e6 16. Rh2xh6 SCg8-g5+ 17. L*g4 h7xh6 18. Lg4xg5 Bb5xe2 19. Gd1xe2 R*d1+ 20. Kg1-g2 Rd1xd2 21. Ge2xd2 *h2+ 22. Kg2-f3 h2xh1(G) 23. SC*a8+ G*c8 24. B*c6+ IC*d7 25. Bc6xd7+ Ke8xd7 26. L*d3+ *d6 27. IC*f5+ Kd7-e8 28. ICf5xc8(FIC)+ Gd9xc8 29. SCa8xd8(FSC) B*c6+ 30. e3-e4 Gc8xd8 31. SCb9xg9 Gf9xg9 32. Ld3xd6 GC*f1+ 33. Kf3-g2 GCf1-d1 34. Gd2xd1 Bc6xe4+ 35. Sf2-f3 *h2+ 36. Kg2-f2 SC*i2+ 37. Kf2-e3 Be4xf3(H)+ 38. Ke3xf3 SC*i3+ 39. *h3 N*d7 40. Ld6xd7(G)+ Ke8xd7 41. L*d4+ *d5 42. GC*b7+ Kd7- c6 43. Ld4xd5 L*f6+ 44. IC*f4 SCi2xb2(FSC) 45. GCb7xb2(FGC) S*g2+ 46. Kf3-e4 S*f5+ 47. Ke4-d3 Kc6xb6 48. G*b5 mate. White could perhaps have prolonged the game a bit with 47. ...IC*h7+, followed by 48. Kd3-e2 *d6 49. S*b7+ Kc6xb6 50. R*b5 mate.

Cannon Chess

Cannon Chess, as I name it, should perhaps be regarded as a Shogi variant. It is much more different from Shogi, however, than most Shogi variants. The pieces of the initial array have no exact counterparts in any other Shogi variant, concerning the way they move and capture (perhaps not even in any other Chess variant). They all have some sort of cannon power, modelled after the combined powers of the Cannon of Chinese Chess and the Cannon of Korean Chess, resulting in some rather unique pieces. Besides, all pieces except the King have two different states and can optionally change state (promote to their alternative form) when making a move that begins or ends in the last 3 ranks, or if making a capture. I got this idea after having tried a modern Japanese variant, Micro (Poppy) Shogi, in which a piece is compulsorily promoted/demoted to its alternative form each time it makes a capture.

Captured pieces may be reintroduced into play on the capturer's side, like in Shogi. Like in Micro Shogi, they may be dropped onto any vacant square on the board in either of the piece's two forms.

One of the most difficult problems one faces in Cannon Chess is to decide, if a piece should change state or not, and if a captured piece should be dropped onto the board again in one state or another.

In Cannon Chess the pieces loose their original cannon power, when they change to their alternative form. As a compensation they gain the power of well-known Orthochess pieces like Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen and King. Of the promoted pieces only the Gold General retains the cannon power it had in its original state (as Silver General), but only at a short distance (=the short cannon leap of the Iron Cannon). In the initial array none of the pieces are able to capture at a long distance, except when making cannon leaps.

This picture shows the standard initial array, but the players are at liberty, before moving, to interchange the positions of their Copper Generals and Copper Cannons on their left OR right side of the board, resulting in 9 possible arrays.

Initial array

Game Pieces

Iron Cannon moves 1 square in 8 directions + 2 squares in 8 directions by leaping an adjacent piece. Captures by making a 2 squares leap in any direction over an adjacent piece. Can optionally change to an Iron General, which moves and captures 1 square in all 8 directions, like the King in Chess/Shogi.

Copper Cannon moves diagonally over whole rows and is able to leap one piece, when moving. Captures diagonally over whole rows by leaping one piece. Can optionally change to a Bishop, which moves and captures diagonally over whole rows, like the Bishop in Chess/Shogi.

Silver Cannon moves orthogonally over whole rows and is able to leap one piece, when moving. Captures orthogonally over whole rows by leaping one piece. Can optionally change to a Rook, which moves and captures orthogonally over whole rows, like the Rook in Chess/Shogi.

Gold Cannon (=Copper Cannon+Silver Cannon) moves diagonally and orthogonally over whole rows and is able to leap one piece, when moving. Captures diagonally and orthogonally over whole rows by leaping one piece. Can optionally change to a Queen (=Bishop+Rook), which moves and captures diagonally and orthogonally over whole rows, like the Queen in Chess/Free King in Chu Shogi.

Copper General (=Iron Cannon+Iron General) moves and captures 1 square in 8 directions + 2 squares in 8 directions by leaping an adjacent piece. Can optionally change to a Knight, which moves and captures directly to the opposite corner of a 2x3 rectangle, like the Knight in Chess.

Silver General (=Gold Cannon+Iron General) moves diagonally and orthogonally over whole rows and is able to leap one piece, when moving. Captures 1 square in 8 directions, and, by leaping one piece, over whole rows in 8 directions. Can optionally change to a Gold General (=Iron Cannon+Queen), which moves and captures diagonally and orthogonally over whole rows and is able to move and capture 2 squares in 8 directions by leaping an adjacent piece.

King (=Gold Cannon+Queen) The King has a much more powerful move than the kings of most chess games. It moves diagonally and orthogonally over whole rows and is able to leap one piece, when moving. It captures diagonally and orthogonally over whole rows and is able to capture both directly and by leaping one piece.

Game transcripts

Cannon Chess is so complex, that it will require much more game experience than I have, to describe its tactics and strategy in any satisfying way. Compared to Cannon Shogi, it is even wilder, and the amount of possible moves in each situation is enormous, up to 800! The high branching factor makes it extremely difficult for Zillions to play the game well. Sometimes it simply stops the game with the message: "Too many moves were generated". This problem will hopefully be solved in a future version of Zillions. The following four Cannon Chess games (standard array), played by Zillions against itself on expert level, using 2 or 3 min. per move in average, give an impression of how this very tactical game can be played.

Cannon Chess game 1

1. SCi1xi7 GCf9xf3(Q) 2. ICh3xf3(IG) ICg7xi7 3. CCc1xi7(B) CCc9xi3(B) 4. GC*b6+ Ke9-f9 5. IGf3-g4+ R*f6 6. GCb6-b5+ IG*c6 7. SCa1xa7(R) ICd7xb5(IG) 8. GCd1xd9 Rf6xf1+ 9. CGh1xf1 SCa9xd9 10. SG*f2+ CCg9-f8 11. R*d8 SG*b4+ 12. ICe3-d2 Bi3xg1 13. Rd8xf8+ SGb4xf8 14. SGf2xf8 Kf9xf8 15. IG*e8+ Kf8-c5 16. Ra7xb7(SC) B*f2+ 17. CGf1xf2 Bg1xf2+ 18. Ke1-e6 CG*g8+ 19. Ke6xb9 SCd9xd2+ 20. IC*c9 SG*i2+ 21. IGg4-f3 GC*f5+ 22. Kb9-b8 IG*a7+ 23. Kb8-f4 IGc6xb7(IC) 24. GG*e5+ Kc5xc9 25. GGe5xc7+ Kc9-b9 26. IG*a9+ Kb9-h3 27. B*g4+ Kh3-f1 28. Bg4xi2(CC) GCf5xf3(Q)+ 29. Kf4xd2 Qf3-g2(GC)+ 30. SC*e2+ Kf1xb1 31. GG*d1+ Kb1-f5 32. N*h4+ Kf5-h5 33. SCe2xg2(R)+ Kh5xe8 34. Q*d8+ Ke8-i4 35. IG*h5+ Ki4-i8 36. IC*i6+ Ki8-e4 37. Qd8xe7+ Ke4-a4 38. ICb3-c4+ Ka4-f9 39. IG*e9 mate.

Cannon Chess game 2

1. SCi1xi7 SCa9xa3(R) 2. SCi7xg7(R) Ra3xa1(SC) 3. Rg7xh7(SC) SCa1xc1+ 4. Ke1xc1 CCg9-i7+ 5. Kc1-a1 R*a5+ 6. Ka1-b2 CC*g7+ 7. SC*e5+ Ra5xe5 8. CCg1-b6+ Ke9-e8 9. IG*f8+ Ke8xf8 10. SCh7xf7(R)+ GCf9xf7 11. SGf1xf7+ ICd7xf7 12. GCd1xd9(Q) Re5-d5+ 13. Kb2-i2 Rd5xd9 14. Ki2xb9 Q*c8+ 15. Kb9-a9 CCc9xi3+ 16. Ka9-e5 Rd9- d6+ 17. Ke5-i1 SG*i4+ 18. Ki1-g1 SC*g4+ 19. ICh3-g2 SCg4xg2(R)+ 20. CGh1xg2 CCg7-d4+ 21. ICe3-d2 Kf8-h6 22. IG*h7+ Kh6xh7 23. N*g5+ Kh7-g6 24. ICf3-g4+ Kg6-f6 25. Ng5xf7(CG)+ Kf6xf7 26. Q*f3+ Rd6-f6 27. GG*d5+ Kf7-g6 28. GGd5-g5+ Kg6-e8 29. GGg5xf6(SG) R*i1+ 30. CGg2-h1 CCi7-e3(B)+ 31. Kg1-c1 CG*e4 32. SGf6-f7(GG)+ Ke8-b5 33. R*b4+ Kb5-i5 34. GGf7xi4+ SCi9xi4 35. GG*e9+ Ki5-i8 36. Qf3xe4+ SCi4xe4 37. R*i5+ Ki8-g6 38. CG*g5+ Kg6-a6 39. IC*c6+ Ka6-e2 40. ICc3xe3(IG) mate.

Cannon Chess game 3

1. SCa1xa7(R) ICc7xa7(IG) 2. SCi1xi7(R) SC*e5+ 3. IC*e2 ICg7xi7(IG) 4. CCg1xa7 Ke9-b6 5. CCa7-d4(B)+ SGd9xd4(GG) 6. GCd1xd4(Q)+ Kb6xd4 7. IG*e4+ Kd4-c5 8. IGe4xe5 GC*h4+ 9. IC*f2 GCh4-h8 10. R*a5+ Kc5-h5 11. IGe5-d6+ Kh5-e8 12. SG*e6+ Ke8-f8 13. IGd6xe7+ CCg9xe7(B) 14. IG*e9+ Kf8-g7 15. SGf1-g1+ SC*g6 16. CCc1-b2+ IC*d4 17. SGe6xb9 SCg6xg1(R)+ 18. CGh1xg1 ICd4xb2(IG) 19. Ra5xa9(SC) GCf9-i6 20. R*g4+ CC*g6 21. N*e8+ Kg7-h6 22. SC*h2+ CCc9-h4 23. Rg4xh4+ Be7xh4 24. SCh2xh4(R)+ Kh6-a6 25. B*b5+ Ka6-a7 26. B*d4+ ICb7-b6 27. SCa9-a6(R)+ Ka7-e7 28. Bd4xh8(CC) GCi6xe2(Q)+ 29. Ke1-a5 IGi7xh8(IC) 30. Q*e4+ IG*e5 31. SGb9-b7+ ICd7-c8 32. Qe4xe5+ Ke7xb7 33. Ra6-b6 mate.

Cannon Chess game 4

1. SCa1xa7(R) SCi9xi3(R) 2. SCi1xi7 Ri3xi7 3. Ra7xa9 CGb9xa9 4. CCc1xi7 ICg7xi7(IG) 5. Ke1-d2 SC*d6+ 6. CCg1-d4 SCd6xd3(R)+ 7. GCd1xd3 CC*h6+ 8. Kd2- b2 SC*b4+ 9. Kb2-i2 SGd9xd4 10. SGf1xf7 SGd4-i9+ 11. SGf7-i4 IGi7-h8+ 12. SGi4- g6 B*i6+ 13. Ki2-a2 SCb4-a4+ 14. Ka2-b2 SGi9-e5+ 15. Kb2-i2 SGe5-i9+ 16. Ki2-h2 SGi9-e5+ 17. Kh2-i2 SGe5-i9+ 18. Ki2-g2 SCa4-g4+ 19. Kg2-h2 IC*f4+ 20. Kh2-b2 CCg9xa3(B)+ 21. Kb2xa3 IG*b4+ 22. Ka3-a6 IGb4-b5+ 23. Ka6-d6 CCc9-b8+ 24. Kd6- a3 IG*b4+ 25. Ka3-a2 IGb4xc3 26. SC*e6+ GCf9-e8 27. GCd3-d9(Q)+ Ke9-i5 28. SGg6xi6+ Ki5-h4 29. SGi6xh6(GG)+ Kh4xh6 30. IG*h5+ ICh7xh5 31. Qd9xe8(GC) IGc3xb3+ 32. Ka2xb3 SG*b4+ 33. Kb3-d3 ICf4-d2(IG)+ 34. Kd3-e4 IGb5-c4+ 35. Ke4-i4 IG*h4+ 36. Ki4-i2 ICh5xh3(IG)+ 37. Ki2-a2 IGh3xg3(IC) 38. ICe3xg3(IG) SGb4-b3+ 39. Ka2-i2 SGi9-i3(GG)+ 40. Ki2-f2 IG*e1 mate.

There are many interesting examples of tactics in these four games. Just to mention a few: In Cannon Chess game 1 White's move 29...Qf3-g2(GC)+ looks like a very smart move. Black defends, however, by dropping a Silver Cannon in front of his Iron Cannon, which now attacks White's King: 30. SC*e2+. After nine more checks, White is checkmate. In Cannon Chess game 2 move 7. SC*e5+ Black also defends by making a check himself. Notice the nice end, in which the White King is finally trapped by two Iron Cannons. A tactical move peculiar to Cannon Chess is demonstrated two times in Cannon Chess game 3. In move 5. CCa7-d4(B)+ the Black Copper Cannon attacks the White King by jumping over it, leaving the promotion zone and promoting to a Bishop. In move 27. SCa9-a6(R)+ the Black Silver Cannon does the same, promoting to a Rook. Cannon Chess game 4 is probably not quite as balanced as the other games. After a problematic move 10. SGf1xf7, Black's King is checked constantly during the next fifteen moves. Black is in trouble in much of the game and moves his king in 24 of the 40 moves, trying to escape White's attack. Shogi can to some extent be regarded as a race-game rather than a war game. This is true also of Cannon Shogi and Cannon Chess, but the latter can also be regarded as an advanced type of hunt-game with one or both kings being chased in all areas of the board. Cannon Chess game 4 is a good example of this. Even if Black loses the game at last, I think that he still had a chance to win, if he had started a new attack in move 38. In stead of ICe3xg3(IG), he should have chosen one of the 534 other possible moves. Perhaps one of the readers of this article is able to find a good continuation?

Here is a picture of the situation after move 37:

Zillions of games files

If you have the Zillions of Games program, you can play these games with the following files, by Steve Evans:
Written by Peter Michaelsen. Conversion to html by David Howe.
WWW page created: January 19, 2000. Last modified: April 11, 2000.