The Chess Variant Pages



Check out Marseillais Chess, our featured variant for February, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, A. M. DeWitt. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Chu Seireigi

Chu Seireigi (中精霊棋 chu seireigi, "middle spirit's game") is a Shogi variant that is essentially a version of Chu Shogi that is playable with drops. Because of this, most unpromoted pieces have a forward bias in their movements, and the Lion move is replaced by an stinging move. The stinging move allows the moving piece to move to an adjacent square, and if this move captures something, optionally make a second, non-capturing step in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. It was conceived from wanting to make such a game that also had the promotions from normal Seireigi. It took quite a bit of work, but I was successful.

Play Chu Seireigi with others or against an AI via the Ludii Player

Play Chu Seireigi against others via Game Courier

Setup

An interactive diagram has been provided (The Javascript source code was written by H. G. Muller) to make it easier to understand how each piece moves. The Mnemonic pieces are enlarged versions of H. G. Muller's Mnemonic pieces. The Shogi pieces used in the diagram and the Pieces section are from Eric Silverman's 1kanji set, which were originally made for use in Stephen Tavener's Ai Ai. The Chess-like images are from Bob Greenwade's graphics set for the Seireigi games.

Only the location of the pieces of one side are mentioned below. The setup for the other side can be obtained by rotating the board 180 degrees. The promotion and XBetza notation of each piece has been included for easier reference.

Lines below can be clicked to see how the pieces move:

First Rank

  • 12l, 1l Lance (fR) -> Free Tiger (sRvWsN)
  • 11l, 2l Ram's-Head Soldier (fB) -> Great Stag (vRsWvN)
  • 10l, 3l Copper General (fFvW) -> Great Leopard (sRfFbW)
  • 9l, 4l Silver General (FfW) -> Running Wolf (vRfFsW)
  • 8l, 5l Gold General (WfF) -> Great Elephant (fBbFsfW)
  • 7l King (K)
  • 6l Great Elephant (fBbFsfW) -> Teaching King (fBvRbFsW)

Second Rank

  • 11k, 2k Knight (fN) -> Heavenly Horse (FfWbNfAfD)
  • 9k, 4k Strong Bear (FsbWfsN) -> Free Pup (fBfRbFbWbsN)
  • 7k Strutting Crow (FAD) -> Flying Falcon (BWDcavW)
  • 6k Swooping Owl (WN) -> Cloud Eagle (RFAcavF)

Third Rank

  • 12j, 1j Flying Swallow (fAfD) -> Golden Bird (fFvWfhNbAsbD)
  • 11j, 2j Great Leopard (sRfFbW) -> Flying Ox (BvR)
  • 10j, 3j Running Wolf (vRfFsW) -> Free Boar (BsR)
  • 9j, 4j Running Rabbit (fBfR) -> Treacherous Fox (fBbRbFfW)
  • 8j Bishop (B) -> Dragon Horse (BW)
  • 7j Lion (KNADca(b)1K)
  • 6j Queen (Q)
  • 5j Rook (R) -> Dragon King (RF)

Fourth Rank

  • 12i-1i Pawn (fW) -> Tokin (WfF)

Pieces

The following table shows the moves of the pieces. XBetza notation is included for easier reference.

Piece Promoted Piece



k King
王将/玉将
ōshō/gyokushō

The King moves one space in any direction, but not into check. (K)

The King does not promote.



Lion
獅子
shishi

The Lion can jump anywhere within a distance of two squares, or make a "full Lion move" - it can step to an adjacent square, and if that move captures something, it can then optionally make a second step from this square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. (KNADca(b)1K)

The Lion does not promote.



Queen
奔王
honnō

The Queen moves as it does in Chess - it slides orthogonally or diagonally. (Q)

The Queen does not promote.



Rook
飛車
hisha

The Rook moves as it does in Chess - it slides orthogonally. (R)




Dragon King
龍王
ryūō

The Dragon King moves as it does in Shogi - it can move as a Rook or as a King. (RF)




Bishop
角行
kakugyō

The Bishop moves as it does in Chess - it slides diagonally. (B)




Dragon Horse
龍馬
ryūma

The Dragon Horse moves as it does in Shogi - it can move as a Bishop or as a King. (BW)




Swooping Owl
鴟行
shigyō

The Swooping Owl jumps one square orthogonally and then one square diagonally outward, or moves one square in any orthogonal direction. (WN)




Cloud Eagle
雲鷲
unjū

The Cloud Eagle can slide orthogonally, or move one square, or jump two squares, in any diagonal direction. In addition, it can make a "linear Lion move" along any diagonal. That is, it can step one square diagonally forward, and if that move captures something, it can then optionally return to the starting square or make a second step from this square in the same direction. (RFAcavF)




Strutting Crow
烏行
ukō

The Strutting Crow jumps to the second square in any orthogonal or diagonal direction, or moves one square in any diagonal direction. (FAD)




Flying Falcon
飛鷹
hiyō

The Flying Falcon can slide diagonally, or move one square, or jump two squares, in any orthogonal direction. In addition, it can make a "linear Lion move" along any orthogonal. That is, it can step one square directly forward, and if that move captures something, it can then optionally return to the starting square or make a second step from this square in the same direction. (BWDcavW)




Great Elephant
大象
taizō

The Great Elephant slides diagonally forward. In addition, it can move one square diagonally backward, sideways, or directly forward. (fBbFsfW)




Teaching King
教王
kyōō

The Teaching King slides vertically or forward. In addition, it can move one square sideways or diagonally backward. (fBvRbFsW)




Running Wolf
走狼
sōrō

The Running Wolf slides vertically. In addition, it can move one square sideways or diagonally forward. (vRfFsW)




Free Boar
奔猪
honcho

The Free Boar slides sideways or diagonally. (BsR)




Great Leopard
大豹
daihyō

The Great Leopard slides orthogonally sideways. In addition, it can move one square diagonally forward, or directly backward. (sRfFbW)




Flying Ox
飛牛
higyū

The Flying Ox slides vertically or diagonally. (BvR)




Strong Bear
強熊
kyōyū

The Strong Bear moves one square diagonally, sideways, or backward, or jumps one square sideways and then one square diagonally forward. (FsbWfsN)




Free Pup
奔狗
honku

The Free Pup can slide in any forward direction, move one square in any backward direction, or jump one square sideways and then one square diagonally backward. (fBfRbFbWbsN)




Gold General
金将
kinshō

The Gold General moves as it does in Shogi - it moves one square orthogonally, or diagonally forward. (WfF)




Great Elephant
大象
taizō

The Great Elephant slides diagonally forward. In addition, it can move one square diagonally backward, sideways, or directly forward. (fBbFsfW)




Silver General
銀将
ginshō

The Silver General moves as it does in Shogi - it moves one square diagonally, or directly forward. (FfW)




Running Wolf
走狼
sōrō

The Running Wolf slides vertically. In addition, it can move one square sideways or diagonally forward. (vRfFsW)




Copper General
銅将
dōshō

The Copper General moves as it does in Chu Shogi - it moves one square vertically, or diagonally forward. (fFvW)




Great Leopard
大豹
daihyō

The Great Leopard slides orthogonally sideways. In addition, it can move one square diagonally forward, or directly backward. (sRfFbW)




Flying Swallow
飛燕
hien

The Flying Swallow jumps to the second square in any forward direction. (fAfD)




Golden Bird
金翅
kinshi

The Golden Bird can step one square in any vertical or forward direction, jump two squares along any sideways or backward direction, or jump one square diagonally forward and then one square orthogonally outward. (fFvWfhNbAsbD)




Knight
桂馬
keima

The Knight moves as it does in Shogi - it jumps one square forward and then one square diagonally outward. (fN)




Heavenly Horse
天馬
temma

The Heavenly Horse can step one square in any diagonal or forward direction, jump two squares along any forward direction, or jump one square backward and then one square diagonally outward. (FfWbNfAfD)




Running Rabbit
走兎
sōto

The Running Rabbit slides in any forward direction. (fBfR)




Treacherous Fox
隠狐
inko

The Treacherous Fox can slide diagonally forward or directly backward, or move one square diagonally backward or directly forward. (fBbRbFfW)




Ram's-Head Soldier
羊兵
yōhei

The Ram's-Head Soldier slides diagonally forward. (fB)




Great Stag
大鹿
dairoku

The Great Stag can slide vertically, step one square sideways, or jump one square vertically and then one square diagonally outward. (vRsWvN)




Lance
香車
kyōsha

The Lance moves as it does in Shogi - it slides directly forward. (fR)




Free Tiger
奔虎
honko

The Free Tiger can slide sideways, step one square vertically, or jump one square sideways and then one square diagonally outward. (sRvWsN)




Pawn
歩兵
fuhyō

The Pawn moves as it does in Shogi - one square orthogonally forward. (fW)




Tokin
と金
tokin

The Tokin moves as it does in Shogi - as a Gold General. (WfF)

Rules

All rules, unless stated otherwise, are identical to those of standard Shogi.

Promotion Zone

The promotion zone is the farthest four ranks of the board.

Promotion and Drop Restrictions

These rules are the same as in standard Shogi. However, the ones that do not specifically apply to Pawns apply to a different set of pieces, specifically to the Pawn, Lance, Ram's-Head Soldier, and Running Rabbit on the last rank, and to the Knight and Flying Swallow on the last two ranks.

Check

It is illegal to make a move that places or leaves the friendly King in check during any part of the move, even if said King does not end up in check after the move. Some special cases regarding Lion moves are worth noting:

Impasse

This rule is the same as in standard Shogi, except that the minimum number of points needed to not lose is 58. Each Lion, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Phoenix, or Kirin, promoted or not, scores 5 points for the owning player, and all other pieces except Kings score 1 point each.

Notes

Similar Games

Backstory

Chu Seireigi was initially conceived after deciding that I wanted to make a version of Chu Shogi that was playable with drops, while also incorporating the promotions from normal Seireigi. I experimented with this idea and eventually came up with a first draft. I eventually replaced the placeholders there with sideways-and-forwards-only versions of the Side Mover and Vertical Mover. However, Edward Webb had some good points in his critique, shown below.

This looks good. You could remove the Side Movers as they make the game too defensive, and the Coppers that promote to them at the same time. Lances that promote to Great Tigers cover at least the same movement capability as Side Movers.

Knights could move to where the Coppers are, allowing them to move freely in the opening.

The Drunk Elephant could also be removed as its promotion to Crown Prince would drag the game out needlessly.

A defender is needed for the second pawn (in particular) and second-to-last pawn. The Dragon Horse can capture and promote without being captured otherwise.

At that time, I had already finalized the Copper General's promotion to Great Leopard, and was in the processing of finalizing the name for the promoted Lance. However, after some more experimentation, I made a new iteration with the Side Mover and Vertical Mover present in only a single copy, and limited ranging pieces in place of the initial Side Mover and Vertical Mover pairs. After that, I decided that the limited range was too irregular and that there were too many moves to remember, and went through another experimentation phase, and after that an overhaul phase because I wasn't happy that the Lion was an exception to the consistency of the simple move set of sliding, steping, jumping, and Lion (originally stinging) moves. Eventually I found a solution that worked, arriving at the current, final form.

Thoughts on the Pieces

The Pieces with Lion Moves (Lion, Flying Falcon, Cloud Eagle)

vs Chu Shogi counterparts

The Lion move is identical to its Chu Shogi counterpart, except it cannot be used to skip a turn, as the second step can only be taken on a capture. This makes the pieces that have it very powerful. However, the primordial Lion is even deadlier when in the hand. A well-placed Lion drop can rip huge holes in the opponent's defenses, and the effects are compounded further with multiple Lions, and to a lesser extent with Falcons and/or Eagles. However, the rest of the army is far from defenseless against these pieces. Many pieces are fully capable of resisting frontal Lion moves, and several are quite good at defending agaist sideways Lion moves as well. Furthermore, only the Lions can be dropped as is, and nothing promotes to Lion, while the Flying Falcon and Cloud Eagle demote on capture. This prevents the Lion moves from overwhelming defenses via sheer numbers alone.

Lion Trading

Unlike in Chu Shogi, in Chu Seireigi it is perfectly legal to trade two Lions off the board. Because the drop rule ensures that no piece goes entirely out of play, including the Lions, such trading restrictions are useless.

Balancing

The turn-skipping ability was removed from Chu Seireigi to prevent players from abusing it in order to force a draw. Chu Shogi solves this by banning repetition, which allows the turn-skipping ability to escape a zugzwang, or even force one on the opponent. However, Chu Seireigi uses the repetition rule from standard Shogi (repetition is a draw except perpetual check loses), which makes this ability an overpowered draw-producing machine. Furthermore, the drop rule basically eliminates the rest of its usefulness if even one piece is in the opponent's hand.

The Promotions

Initially, unlike in Chu Shogi, none of the pieces promoted to something that appears in the initial setup. This was done to allow the promoted pieces to be highlighted red in Ludii using the system found in that program's Shogi ludeme. This also explains why initially, the Strutting Crow was a Kirin promoting to Horned Falcon, and the Swooping Own a Phoenix promoting to Soaring Eagle. I wanted to include Falcon and Eagle pieces with multi-move abilities, but the Dragon Horse, Dragon King, Queen, and Lion were already taken, so I slapped these two promotions onto the Kirin and Phoenix instead. After deciding that there were too many moves to remember, I rearranged the promotions so that some pieces promote in three-piece promotion chains, and no piece promotes to Lion but the Kirin and Phoenix equivalents, the Crow and Owl, promoted to pieces with linear Lion Moves, and devised a new system in Ludii to account for the former.

The Great Elephant replaces the Drunk Elephant in this game, as the latter's promotion to Prince would drag the game on needlessly, as the Prince is a royal piece. However, without this special status, the promotion to Prince has no impact on the game, and thus it made no sense to include it here. To compensate, the Great Elephant combines the Drunk Elephant's move with that of the Ram's Head Soldier. At the suggestion of Bob Greenwade of including a promotion for the Great Elephant, I added the promotion to Teaching King, which I got from the fact that elephants are often seen as symbols of strength and wisdom, and the fact that the piece's kanji translate to pope when put into Google Translate.



This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.


By A. M. DeWitt.

Last revised by A. M. DeWitt.


Web page created: 2023-10-07. Web page last updated: 2023-10-07