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Shatranji. A hybrid of Shatranj and Chessgi. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-02-14 UTC

I'm only playing my second game of Shatranji, but I thought the elephants in the setup perhaps caused a bit of a problem for initial development, which even unmoved knights don't in shogi (for themselves and for lances there, as opposed to for the elephants and rooks in this game). I may have a hangup about not wanting to move my elephants initially to a rook's file in this game though, which may be an acceptable solution at times. Also, it's harder to pick off an undeveloped elephant than an undeveloped shogi knight, in order to drop it somewhere with more flexibility for it, I'd imagine. Elephants also cannot promote in this game, unlike for shogi knights, as H.G. alluded to. In Shatranji (or straight Shatranj) only pawns can promote, and then to a lowly ferz rather than the gold-powers one acquires at promotion in shogi. That's an additional reason I'm thinking the idea of a 'Modern Shatranji' variant, based on Joe Joyce's Modern Shatranj (with pawns promoting to generals [aka guards]) might be even more interesting than Shatranji.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-02-13 UTC

I did not try this game, but I know that in Shogi it is hardly a problem that a piece is weak or able to access only a small part of the board (without being dropped). Compare the Shogi Knight, with only two move targets and a very small 'scope', whch certainly is inferior to the Shatranj Elephant. Nevertheless it is a valued piece, and there even is a proverb to the extent of "with three Knights in hand there must be a checkmate". Being able to give an unblockable check from a distace is apparently quite valuable in Shogi.

So I would expect this to be a good game, probably even better than Crazyhouse. Not as good as Shogi, though, because I think having the pieces promote (modestly) is a real asset.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-02-13 UTCGood ★★★★

Shatranj is a cool variant mainly for its historic value, IMO. It's awkward, weak ferz and (especially) alfil (or elephant) pieces make it somewhat frustrating to play for many a modern player, again IMO. The present variant, Shatranji, removes some of this frustration, as dropping either of these weak pieces after they are captured allows the (now not necessarily permanent) binding of them to become less of an issue. However I find the elephant piece still awkward to use, while it is still on the board, in Shatranji, owing to its double binding. I'm wondering if a 'Modern Shatranji' version of Joe Joyce's Modern Shatranj variant (i.e. crossing it with Chessgi-like drops), with Joe's use of guards and modern elephants, rather than ferz' and alfils, might prove at least as good in practice as Shatranji.

[edit: Here's my tentative estimates of the piece values for this variant: E=2.06; P=2; F=2.25; N=3.5; R=4.]

Ivan Roth wrote on 2011-03-15 UTC
Close, but no cigar. Shatranji is, in my opinion, still too powerful piece-wise for a shogi version. However, after some tinkering in Zillions, I realized something: If you just remove the rooks and pawns, it plays beautifully! Try it, and you'll be amazed at the improvement in gameplay. Update: For those who find the above a bit sparse, it works just as well with the pawns in fornt of the king and general left in. This leads to a more restricted opening, but more opportunities in other areas.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-03-10 UTC
The 'ambiguity' you mention exists only from taking the one phrase you quoted out of context. Here is the context: 'The King, Rook, Knight, and Pawn are the same as in Chess, except that Pawns do not have a double move, they cannot capture by en passant, the Pawn may promote only to a General, and the King and Rook cannot castle.' So, with regard to promotion, the Pawn is the same as in Chess except in regard to what it can promote to. Since a Pawn in Chess must promote upon reaching the last rank, and the Pawn in Shatranji is the same in this respect, it too must promote upon reaching the last rank.

Greg Strong wrote on 2011-03-10 UTC
There is a subtle ambiguity in the rules. It says a pawn 'may only promote to general', but does not explicitly say that a pawn must promote upon reaching the last rank. One might not want to promote if it's about to be captured so as not to give the opponent a general. I assume that the intention was that a pawn must promote. Fergus, can you please clarify? I'm in a game now where it's important...

Anonymous wrote on 2010-04-28 UTC
It's not invetion! Any game with captures can be played with Chessgi or Crazyhouse (or even Bughouse) mutators (expect games, wich already have unusual things, wich happens with captured pieces, like Backgammon).

John Smith wrote on 2009-01-22 UTCPoor ★
I am sad to say that I agree, Fergus. A better game would be Sittuyingi.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2009-01-22 UTCBelowAverage ★★

The idea behind the game may be a good one, but I now think the game is flawed. It does address the problem with Chessgi of the pieces being a bit too powerful for a drop game, but it has problems of its own. The main problem is that the King is now surrounded by pieces that can't defend it well against attacks from dropped pieces. In a game I just played, I checked the King with a dropped Pawn, and even though the King, the General, and the Elephants were all in their original position, only the King could have potentially captured the Pawn. The General and Elephants were worse than useless, for besides being unable to do anything, they impeded the King's escape. My Pawn was protected, the King had to flee, and it was checkmate on the next move in a very short game. I now understand why Shogi replaces the General and Elephants with Gold and Silver Generals. These pieces are much more useful for defending the King from dropped pieces. Chessgi could be improved by using weaker pieces, but I no longer think that using Shatranj pieces is the way to go. Shogi pieces are better, but if that is the direction Chessgi must go to get better then I may as well stick with Shogi and not bother trying to fix Chessgi. Perhaps Halfgi, which has already been done, is a better way to go.

John Smith wrote on 2008-12-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Can a player win by stalemating their opponent? Funny thing!; I actually created this variant before I read about it. I guess it's a good idea, then, right?

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-07-06 UTC
Ed is right in pointing out Yonin Shogi, which I myself rated excellent,
but that doesn't exclude other such variants. Yonin Shogi has only
selected piece types, with the pieces arranged:
I am thinking of one with all eight piece types, with the pieces

Ed wrote on 2006-07-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I like shatranji (and also makruk-gi) much better than chessgi. I have wondered how shatranji would play with pawns assigned a promoted value corresponding to the master-piece of the file instead of the uniform promotion to general (but the king's pawn would have to be non-royal!).

As to Mr. Gilman's question, doesn't a popular 4-player shogi variant with a reduced array of pieces on a standard shogi board (Yonin Shogi) already exist?

A house-rules version of 4-handed chaturanga and Chess of the Four Seasons that I know replaces the move of the ship/alfil with the move of the shogi elephant, a move that al-Beruni described as the movement of the piece in 10th-century chaturanga. Both games play much better that way.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-07-04 UTC
Fair enough, if you're happy with it. It's just that to me the name
suggests only the Shatranj aspect of the variant. In fact it's only
because it was updated that I noticed it at all.
	I certainly won't use Shatranjgi for any variant of my own, as none
could match this one for suitability. There is a gap for a variant
applying my Bishogi rules to Shatranj (back-rank pieces promoted by
the Ferz move and all returning unpromoted) but I will call that Filgi.
	The accidental suggestion of Chaturaji has given me an idea of a variant
with 4 reduced Shogi armies on a single Shogi board. This has made me
curious to know the Japanese for 'four kings', as that would be an
name for it.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-06-24 UTC
No, the name should not be Shatranjgi. Shatranji is named in the manner of Chessgi, whose g I pronounce with the j sound, and besides that Shatranjgi is just an ugly, awkward name. Anyway, all gi means in Japanese is game, the same as qi in Chinese. It doesn't mean game with drops. So Shatranjgi would be no more correct than Shatranji in any etymological sense.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-06-24 UTCGood ★★★★
An interesting variant. One point: surely the name should be Shatranjgi. According to a dictionary that I have, the G in Shogi is hard, and Shoji means a paper screen on a wooden frame used as a partition. The one historic variant I know of ending with -ji, Chaturaji, has no Shogi characteristics but is a 4-player Chaturanga whose name means 'Four Kings'.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-06-24 UTC
I had forgotten to upload the include file for Shatranji. It should work now.

Namik Zade wrote on 2006-06-24 UTC
Hi,Fergus. I accepted to play Shatranji but something wrong with preset. I can not do first move.

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