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Kyoto Shogi. Modern 5x5 Shogi variant where pieces promote and unpromote with every move.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2018-04-01 UTC

Thank you for the link.  This seems to clarify everything.  Quote:

There are no restrictions on squares to be dropped on or moved to. In shogi, a piece can only be dropped in its unpromoted state. In kyoto, a player can choose which side up to drop a piece. In shogi, only one unpromoted pawn per player is allowed on each file. In kyoto, two pawns are possible on one file. It is legal to drop a pawn to give mate in Kyoto, but not in shogi, although this rule seems unnecessary as a hifu could be dropped as a rook with the same effect.

It also says:

Tamiya prefers a repetition of a position to be a draw. However this rule is subject to review if playing experience suggests it is better changed. One possibility would be that repeating a position three times would lose for the player whose move brings about the initial position of the sequence, unless the position is repeated by checks, in which case it is a loss for the checking player. These repetition rules are for completeness only and they are very rare cases anyway. Another rule concerns the kings: Tamiya writes, "Exposing the white bells loses," meaning that inverting the king, intentionally or otherwise (!), acts as resignation.

Finally, it also states that the official name of the game is "kyoutoginkakukinkeihifushougi". Good heavens! I think I'll leave this page named as it is so people don't think my cat walked across the keyboard!

John Lawson wrote on 2018-04-01 UTC

I found this Kyoto Shogi page on the Wayback Machine.  I also have the Abstract Games Magazine issue referended, but it's been packed and won't be available for a few weeks.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-04-01 UTC

I think the points raised by Greg are moot:

In Shogi, stalemate is a win, and making an illegal move a loss. That makes win by checkmate equivalent to win by King capture. When I played my mini-Shogi program on 81Dojo, I had to modify it to actually capture the King. Because the server allowed people to play on in a checkmated position, and considered the illegal-move claim that the engine would respond with as an illegal move in itself, awarding the win to the checkmated player. OTOH, the server admin has issued a warning that people who do play on in a checkmated position, rather than resigning, will be banned! Point is that in Shogi etiquette it is essential that the losing player explicitly admits his defeat. So unlike chess, checkmate does not end the game automatically, the losing player must say 'makemashita' in response, and that ends the game. So basically the situation is that there is only one legal response to a checkmate, wich is resigning. Any other response is illegal, and thus forfeits the game. Making illegal moves intentionally is considered unsportsmanlike, and lack of sportsmanship can result in a ban.

As to mate by Pawn drop: pieces can be dropped with either side up. So if you can mate through a Pawn drop, you can certainly mate through a Rook drop instead. So from a game-theoretical point of view a rule forbidding mate by Pawn drop has no effect on the game at all.

A more important question is whether it would be allowed to drop a Pawns in a file where there already is one. My guess is that this would be allowed. You can get two Pawns in the same file anyway by moving a Rook to a file with a Pawn, so forbidding it would achieve little (although it does affect the game in a minor way). You have at most two Pawns, so long strings of Pawns can never arise. In addition, players would not be very happy having a Pawn, when there is a Rook on the flip side. They would prefer to drop as a Rook, and when they have a Pawn, move it as soon as they can to make it a Rook.

The phrase "is played like standard shogi" should be taken with a large grain of salt. Lance,  Knight and Pawn can move to and be dropped on locations where they would not be allowed in regular Shogi, and with the promoted side up. So why not also in files that already contain a Pawn?

John Lawson wrote on 2018-04-01 UTC


Talk about synchonicity, I just came across the Kyoto shogi pieces I got from George Hodges, while packing to move.  I looked around in my stuff, and found the rules are not included in Hodges Ten Shogi Variants, nor is the answer to your checkmate question in the screen print of the moves I have from Steve Evans' SHOGIVAR.  The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, after describing the moves, says "All othe rules as in Shogi". There is also a Zillions implementation by Steve Evans, but I no longer have a working version of ZoG.

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-03-31 UTC

I have created a page for this modern Shogi variant.  I am not 100% certain of a couple of things, though.  I assume the goal is to checkmate, not capture, the King but the wikipedia page does not say and I could find almost no other information.  For a variant with commercial sets, it doesn't look to be very popular, although that could be simply because I'm conducting my web searches in English.  I also do not know if checkmating the King with a Pawn drop is forbidden as it is in conventional Shogi.

If anyone has any additional information about these points, or anything else that should be included for that matter, please post and I will update the page.

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