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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-06-10
 Author: Jared B. McComb. Inventor: Ota  Mitsuyasu. Yonin Shogi. 4-handed Shogi variant. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
(zzo38) A. Black wrote on 2011-11-25 UTC
I will tell you partner rules:
  • If you checkmate another player, your team wins immediately.
  • It is permitted to capture your partner's pieces (and use them as your own later on, same as if you are capturing opponent's pieces).
  • Your partner is always across from you.
  • Order of play is clockwise.
  • It is not allowed to move into check, even checked from your partner.
  • It is not allowed to put partner in check, even from your own pieces.
  • If you put an opponent in check, it becomes their turn immediately (possibly skipping other turn).

Garth Wallace wrote on 2009-12-14 UTC
To belatedly answer Charles Gilman's question about yo vs. yon: those lists of numbers in Japanese tend to gloss over a lot of things. Japanese actually has two full sets of numerals, one native and one originally borrowed from Chinese, but uses the same kanji for both (Japanese actually does this for a lot of things besides numbers: most kanji have both on-yomi, or Chinese readings, and kun-yomi, or Japanese readings, and may have more than one of each). The set used most commonly is the Sino-Japanese set: ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyuu, juu. In the modern language the native terms are more obscure (but do show up in certain restricted contexts, such as the 'tsu' counter and the first few counters for people) with the exception of 'yon' (4) and 'nana' (7), which are more or less interchangeable with the Sino-Japanese numerals when used stand-alone. In most kun-yomi compounds, though, the kanji meaning 4 appears as 'yo', sometimes doubling the following consonant (as in 'yottsu', 'four things'). I don't know the history of the language that well, but if I were to guess I'd say that 'yo' is the original form (or derived directly from the original form), and the '-n' was added just to the form that is used stand-alone and in compounds with on-yomi. 'Yon' is about as common as 'shi' (unlike most other numbers) because 'shi' is also an on-yomi for the kanji meaning 'die', and is therefore considered unlucky. This homophony was inherited when the kanji and their on-yomi were borrowed from Chinese, which has the same superstition about the number 4. Not sure why 'nana' is also an exception. There is no kanji with the reading 'n'. All of them can function as a complete syllable. (Syllable-final 'n' in Japanese is sometimes referred to as 'syllabic N' but it really isn't, it just gets its own kana unlike the syllable-initial N, and makes the syllable long)

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-10-06 UTC
I wasn't advocating any one website over another, I just went to the first one that the search engine listed. Having received no reply to my main question I decided to search for lists of Japanese numbers. According to these four is the yon that you stated in your reply to my request on another page, rather than the yo that Yonin and Sannin suggests, with yo and n as two separate kanji (so a syllabic n?) but a different yo from that in Yonin! This leaves me even more confused; I could understand san/yo/Sannin/Yonin, or san/yon/Sannin/Yonnin, or even san/yon/Sanin/Yonin by elision. Any clarification is welcome.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-10-05 UTC
As an aside, answers.com is just a mirror for Wikipedia. Here are some interesting Wikipedia articles on Japanese chess variants: Heian shogi Microshogi Minishogi Kyoto shogi Whale shogi Tori shogi (I actually contributed a lot to this particular article back when I was a Wikipedia editor) Yari shogi Sho shogi Cannon shogi Hasami shogi Hand shogi Annan shogi Unashogi Wa shogi Chu shogi Heian dai shogi Dai shogi Tenjiku shogi Dai dai shogi Maka dai dai shogi Ko shogi Tai shogi Yonin shogi Sannin shogi (This was discussed, but the rules were not detailed, in New Rules for Classic Games) Shogi, and, oh, for something different, Capablanca chess (The fact that my one and only Chess variant is on this last page has nothing to do with the fact I have added this to the list of Shogi games).

- Sam

Edit: More links added.


Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-10-05 UTC
So it is, I stand corrected. I didn't think to look under the longer name. Thanks for that.

Mike wrote on 2006-10-04 UTC
Charles, Is this the same as the 3-player game that you seek: http://www.chessvariants.org/shogivariants.dir/3-handed_shogi.html ?

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-10-04 UTC
It's interesting to see the origins of this variant. It inspired me to stick its name into a search engine and see what other websites there were on it. I found several others, including http://www.answers.com/topic/yonin-shogi which linked to http://www.answers.com/topic/sannin-shogi on a still-older three-player hex Shogi. That led me to check whether Sannin Shogi had a page on this site, which it doesn't, but Sankaku Shogi does. On checking that one I saw that san was confirmed as meaning three - so it would seem that yo rather that yon is the bit meaning four in Yonin. So... would the correct translation of Chaturaji (four kings) into Japanese be... Yoo?

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-02-10 UTC

If you like multiplayer Shogi variants, you might enjoy my own Three Player Hex Shogi.


(zzo38) A. Black wrote on 2005-11-14 UTC
I also play the super famicom game '4 Nin Shogi', I think you flip 4 pawns to see who can go first. Also, I played and one player took forever to play his move, even in super-fast mode.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2005-06-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It is just about possible to play with one stadard Shogi set, with one piece aside represented by two physical pieces one atop the other, and unused piece types doubling up as used ones.

Jared McComb wrote on 2005-06-13 UTC
Page updated. Ed, could you please provide your last name so you can be properly credited?

Jared McComb wrote on 2005-06-13 UTC
The comment directly below this one is mine. Oops.

Anonymous wrote on 2005-06-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This is one of my favorite Shogi variants and four-player games (not just 4PCVs) as well. I would personally move for Recognized status for Yonin, but I think some of the regulars around here would need to get acquainted with it first. Anyone reading this comment, I urge you to give this game a shot. <p>I've thought quite a bit on how to expand this game so it would contain the other Shogi pieces, as you mentioned, but I don't know whether that would keep the playability and 'fun factor' intact. <p>And yes, I can give this page an 'Excellent' because I didn't invent the game. ;)

Ed wrote on 2005-06-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I have played Yonin Shogi over the board and with the Super Famicom cartridge that Mr. McComb mentions. It is surprising how very much quicker than in shogi the pace is in Yonin Shogi. I think that of the four-player chess variants like four-handed chaturanga and chess of the four seasons, this is by far the most enjoyable, but that is personal opinion (I do like four-handed chaturanga quite a bit, though). <p>George Hodges produced a rules leaflet for this variant that included a sample game. The players were professionals at regular shogi. In that leaflet Mr. Hodges credits the invention of the game to Ota Mitsuyasu, the 1-dan mayor of Hirata City. <p>My usual opponents and I have speculated how one could handicap in this game: alternate piece arrangement, removal of pieces, or substitution of pieces that are out of play from normal shogi, like the knight, lance, or the bishop. <p>I wonder if anyone has ever attempted the three-player shogi that John Fairbairn described in _Shogi_ magazine. The game was presented in a version adapted to an hexagonal board, but the diagram also showed a board arrangement similar to what one sees for three-handed xiangqi. I seem to remember that the game featured a promoted king, a Sun-King, which had a special move: capture by 'illumination.' I seem to remember that this power was gained by reaching a special square at the juncture of three half-boards, or the center of the hexagonal board, the Pleasure Garden. I cannot say whether that game is more or less playable than Yonin Shogi.

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