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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2015-04-20
 By H. G.  Muller. Wa Shogi. Game with many different rather weak pieces, with or without drops. (11x11, Cells: 121) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-02-18 UTC

Thanks for warning me about the diagram; the link for the JavaScript powering it was still pointing to my own website rather than to the version here on CVP. Not sure why that did not work; because the file is still there, and I am sure it worked in the past. Perhaps more stringent security measures of modern browsers prevented the access. Anyway, I altered the link to point at the version of the file here on CVP. (The piece images are still taken from my website, though; I guess I should upload these here as well, so I can change that undesirable state of affairs.)

Games with drops are in general harder for computers, relative to humans. Until last year computers still lost to human experts in Crazyhouse. (And then Stockfish-variant appeared.) For regular Shogi the problem was solved earlier, but only through 'data-mining' the huge data base of human Shogi professionals, and absorbing their knowledge in a neural-network type evaluation. For Wa Shogi such a game data base does not exists. And I know only of one computer program that can seriously play it: my own engine Crazywa. (Some non-searching programs like ShogiVar support it, but these are real push-overs.) But I did not seriously tune it even there, and its strategy is simply a generalization of what it does in Crazyhouse, with purely guessed piece values.

I have no doubt that with Google's AlphaZero technology a super-strong player could be made. Wa Shogi is most certainly too insignificant to interest Google, though, or any large community of owners of computers with state-of-the-art graphics cards that would be needed to mimic such an effort (like the LeelaChess Zero project for Chess). So my guess is that computer Wa-Shogi players will remain relatively weak for a long time to come.

Implementing Wa Shogi in Jocly is on my to-do list; it should not be very difficult now that I have already done regular Shogi, so that its infra-structure for drops can be used. Jocly's AI is also laughably weak, however. But as I also made progress in setting up a Jocly based Game Server, it would offer an opportunity to play Wa Shogi on line.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2019-02-18 UTC

Just a guess, but this kind of version of shogi (i.e. of board size 11x11) might make for the optimally largest board size, if it's desired that games not take arguably too many moves in an average well-played game. I also don't know if Wa Shogi with drops would give computer engines a harder time if they played vs. people than would be the case for regular (9x9) shogi. Maybe Wa Shogi with drops would be hopeless for human players, in the long run in any case, if they're faced with a self-teaching machine.

Also, in the past I've noticed a game where a leading (and still active) Game Courier player remarked that he could not find anywhere to play Wa Shogi with drops against people online, which is the way I think I would much prefer to play it if I ever could give this well-tested game a try on Game Courier. At the moment there is no preset for Wa Shogi, with or without drops.

@ H.G:  In case you've not noticed, the setup diagram for this Wa Shogi rules page currently is not showing up for some reason.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-01-17 UTC

For clarity, because I did not mention that here yet:

I have written an engine 'CrazyWa', which can play various chess variants with drops, amongst which Crazyhouse and Wa Shogi. A package that bundles it with WinBoard as GUI can be downloaded from

bukovski wrote on 2017-01-02 UTC

Dr Muller, thank you for WinBoard wa shogi -- what a nice present for the new year!

H. G. Muller wrote on 2016-08-27 UTC
I made a set of Wa pieces by printing their images on sticker paper, cutting them out, and fixing them on the tiles from a cheap regular Shogi set. Two Shogi sets give just enough tiles to make one Wa and one Tori-Shogi set, with 2 x 2 pieces shared (King and Cloud Eagle /Right Quail, which do not promote,and thus can be oneach other's back side).

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