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Hasami Shogi

I think that this is the most famous shogi variant in Japan. Even those who don't know how to play shogi knows the rule of this variant, because the rules are simple. I don't know when and by whom it was invented. The word "Hasami" means "sandwiching".


We use a usual shogi board (i.e., an uncheckered board of size 9 by 9) and 18 pawns. White puts his 9 pawns on each of the 1st rank squares, and black puts his 9 pawns on each of the 9th rank squares. Black puts his pawns reversively for easily distinguishing white and black pieces, although the white and black pawns have same power. Usually the promoted pawns are printed in red characters, making distinction easy. The opening setup is as follows.

Pawns a1, b1, c1, d1, e1, f1, g1, h1, i1.

Promoted Pawns a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, g9, h9, i9.

Movement of pieces

All the pieces move as the same way as a rook. No rule of "nifu" applies like in normal shogi. (The "nifu" rule is that you can not put two unpromoted pawns at the same column.)


You capture differently from normal shogi in this variant. When you sandwiches opponent's piece(s) by two of your own pieces, you can take the sandwitched piece(s). It is similar to Othello. In Othello, you reverse the sandwiched opponent's pieces, but you capture the pieces instead of reversing them in this variant. Note that in Hasami Shogi, you can sandwich horizontally and vertically, but NOT diagonally. This is different from Othello's sandwich. You can capture any number of the sandwiched pieces; from 1 to 7. When you move your piece such that your pieces are sandwiched by the opponent pieces, your sandwiched pieces are not taken away from the board.


When the opponent has only one piece, you win.


  • When the opponent has four pieces, you win. Some people say that this is the "official" rule.
  • The piece at the edge of the board can be taken by two adjacent pieces; i. e., when white pawn is at a1 and black promoted pawns are at a2 and d1, black can capture white a1 pawn by moving his d1 pawn to b1.


Put your pieces straight along a diagonal line.

Hasami Chess

You can also play Hasami Chess by using a chess board and pieces like Hasami Shogi.


The rules are the same as Hasami Shogi with following exceptions or modifications;
  • The chess board and 8 white pawns and 8 black pawns are used.
  • Initial setup is different, but it can be easily drawn from the initial setup of Hasami Shogi.

Pawn a1, b1, c1, d1, e1, f1, g1, h1.

Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8, e8, f8, g8, h8.

Written by: Katsutoshi Seki, slightly edited by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: January 2, 1998. Last modified: October 13, 1998.