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This page is written by the game's inventor, A. M. DeWitt.

Shoko Shogi

Shoko Shogi (小鉤将棋 shōkō shōgi, "small hook shogi") is inspired by Hook Shogi, which is probably one of the wildest games I have ever conceived. Hook Shogi can be a bit intimidating, though, with 78 pieces of 36 types on a 16x16 board. Shoko Shogi is an attempt to shrink Hook Shogi to a smaller game, with only 54 pieces of 31 types on a 13x13 board, without losing much of the flavor of the original game.


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 piece directory uses H. G. Muller's Mnemonic pieces. The white Shogi pieces used in the diagram and the Pieces section are my own pieces, made using a free online pixel art drawing tool called Pixilart.

files=13 ranks=13 holdingsType=1 promoOffset=31 promoZone=0 maxPromote=28 promoChoice=+ royal=31 captureMatrix=/"27/.29??.12??/"//"11/.29??.12??/" stalemate=win graphicsDir=/membergraphics/MSsuzumushogi/ whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b lightShade=#FFFF80 darkShade=#FFFF80 graphicsType=png squareSize=33 symmetry=rotate firstRank=1 rimColor=#000000 coordColor=#FFFFFF newClick=1 pawn:P:fW:p:a4-m4 go between:GB:vW:gb:d5,j5 tile general:T:fFfW:t:b1,l1 deva:DV:rbfFlW:dv:f1 dark spirit:DS:lbfFrW:ds:h1 copper general:C:fFvW:c:c1,k1 evil wolf:EW:fFsfW:ew:e2,i2 gold general:G:WfF:g:d1,j1 blind tiger:BT:FsbW:bt:e1,i1 flying horse:FH:F2:fh:d2 flying dragon:FY:W2:fy:j2 old kite:OK:F2sW:ok:c2 poisonous snake:PS:W2fF:ps:k2 kirin:KY:FD:ky:f2 phoenix:PH:WA:ph:h2 roaring dog:RD:KjQ3:rd:g2 lance:L:fRbW2:l:a1,m1 side mover:SM:vWsR:sm:a3,m3 vertical chariot:VC:FvR:vc:a2,m2 bishop:B:B:b:c3,k3 rook:R:R:r:b3,l3 dragon horse:DH:BW:dh:d3 dragon king:DK:RF:dk:j3 violent falcon:VF:BN:vf:e3 fierce eagle:VE:RN:ve:i3 lion dog:LD:KADGHcavKabKcmpafcavKcafcmpafK:ld:g3 lion:LN:KNADcaKmcabK:ln:f3 queen:Q:Q:q:h3 tengu:TG:WBasB:tg:b2 hook mover:HM:RasR:hm:l2 king:K:K:k:g1 tokin:+P:WfF:p2: drunk elephant:+GB:FsfW:gb2: vertical chariot:+T:FvR:t2: teaching king:+DV:QADGHcavKabKcmpafcavKcafcmpafK:dv2: divine spirit:+DS:QNADcaKmcabK:ds2: side mover:+C:vWsR:c2: free wolf:+EW:FvWsR:ew2: rook:+G:R:g2: flying stag:+BT:FsWvR:bt2: violent falcon:+FH:BN:fh2: fierce eagle:+FY:RN:fy2: tengu:+OK:WBasB:ok2: hook mover:+PS:RasR:ps2: lion:+KY:KNADcaKmcabK:ky2: queen:+PH:Q:ph2: lion dog:+RD:KADGHcavKabKcmpafcavKcafcmpafK:rd2: white horse:+L:fBvR:l2: free boar:+SM:BsR:sm2: free dream eater:+VC:BvRsW5:vc2: dragon horse:+B:BW:b2: dragon king:+R:RF:r2: horned falcon:+DH:BsbRfWfDfcavWfabW:dh2: soaring eagle:+DK:RbBfFfAfcavFfabF:dk2: great falcon:+VF:BjBsbRjsbRshbmpafmpyafKfWfDfHfcavWfabWfcmpafcavWfcafcmpafW:vf2: great eagle:+VE:RjRbBjbBbfbhsmpafmpyafKfFfAfGfcavFfabFfcmpafcavFfcafcmpafF:ve2: great elephant:+LD:KNADGHcaKmcabKcmpafcavKcafcmpafK:ld2: lion hawk:+LN:BWNADcaKmcabK:ln2: free eagle:+Q:QADcaFmcabF:q2:

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 in brackets for easier reference ([R] indicates that the piece has restrictions on its movement or abilities, and [C] indicates a piece that has a contagious promotion).

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

First rank

  • a1, m1 Lance (fRbW2) -> White Horse (fBvR)
  • b1, l1 Tile General (fFfW) -> Vertical Chariot
  • c1, k1 Copper General (fFvW) -> Side Mover
  • d1, j1 Gold General (WfF) -> Rook
  • e2, i2 Blind Tiger (FbsW) -> Flying Stag (FsWvR)
  • f1 Deva (rbfFlW[C]) -> Teaching King (QADGHcavKabKcmpafcavKcafcmpafK[C])
  • g1 King (K)
  • h1 Dark Spirit (lbfFrW[C]) -> Divine Spirit (QNADcaKmcabK[C])

Second rank

  • a2, m2 Vertical Chariot (FvR) -> Free Demon (BvRsW5)
  • b2 Tengu (WBasB[R])
  • c2 Old Kite (F2sW) -> Tengu
  • d2 Flying Horse (F2) -> Violent Falcon
  • e2, i2 Evil Wolf (fFsfW) -> Free Wolf (FvWWsR)
  • f2 Kirin (FD) -> Lion
  • g2 Roaring Dog (KjQ3) -> Lion Dog
  • h2 Phoenix (WA) - Queen
  • j2 Flying Dragon (W2) -> Fierce Eagle
  • k2 Poisonous Snake (W2fF) -> Hook Mover
  • l2 Hook Mover (RasR[R])

Third rank

  • a3, m3 Side Mover (vWsR) -> Free Boar (BsR)
  • b3, l3 Rook (R) -> Dragon King
  • c3, k3 Bishop (B) -> Dragon Horse
  • d3 Dragon Horse (BW) -> Horned Falcon (BsbRfWfDfcavWfabW)
  • e3 Violent Falcon (BN) -> Great Falcon (BjBsbRjsbRshbmpafmpyafKfWfDfHfcavWfabWfcmpafcavWfcafcmpafW)
  • f3 Lion (KNADcaKmcabK) -> Lion Hawk (BWNADcaKmcabK)
  • g3 Lion Dog (KADGHcavKabKcmpafcavKcafcmpafK) -> Great Elephant (KNADGHcaKmcabKcmpafcavKcafcmpafK)
  • h3 Queen (Q) - Free Eagle (QADcaFmcabF)
  • i3 Fierce Eagle (RN) -> Great Eagle (RjRbBjbBbfbhsmpafmpyafKfFfAfGfcavFfabFfcmpafcavFfcafcmpafF)
  • j3 Dragon King (RF) -> Soaring Eagle (RbBfFfAfcavFfabF)

Fourth and fifth ranks

  • a4-m4 Pawns (fW) -> Tokin (Gold General)
  • d5, j5 Go Between (vW) -> Drunk Elephant (FsfW)


The move of pieces from the initial setup is already given in Betza notation above, and should also be clear from the mnemonic piece glyphs in the diagram. Some pieces that move in special ways are discussed below.

Hook Mover

The Hook Mover is a Rook that can (but does not have to) make one 90-degree turn in its path. Like any slider, it has to stop at the point where it captures, and the (bent) path it moves along must be empty up to that point.

It cannot capture a Hook Mover or Tengu.


The Tengu is a Bishop that can (but does not have to) make one 90-degree turn in its path. Like any slider, it has to stop at the point where it captures, and the (bent) path it moves along must be empty up to that point. In addition, it can move one square orthogonally.

It cannot capture a Hook Mover or Tengu.

Lion, Lion Hawk, and Divine Spirit

The Lion, Lion Hawk, and Divine Spirit are double movers: they can make up to 2 King steps per turn, changing direction between them, even when this returns them to their starting square. They can make the first step as a jump, when they choose to do so. So each of them can:

The Lion Hawk and Divine Spirit can in addition move as a normal Bishop and Queen, respectively.

Lion Dog, Great Elephant, and Teaching King

The Lion Dog, Great Elephant, and Teaching King can make up to three steps along any ray passing through it. It can return to, but not overshoot its starting square. Each of the steps can be a move, a capture or a hop, with the exception that it cannot hop back to its starting square. So it can:

So it can:

The Great Elephant and Teaching King can in addition move as a normal Lion and Queen, respectively.

Free Eagle

The Free Eagle can move as a Queen, but as an alternative can make two diagonal steps, in independently chosen directions, even when this makes it return to its starting square. It can make the first step as jump, when it chooses to do so. So it can:

In other words, the Free Eagle is a Queen enhanced by the diagonal moves of a Lion.

Great Eagle and Great Falcon

The Great Eagle and Great Falcon move as Queen, and can jump to the second or third square before sliding in the same direction, except that in some directions they do not slide or jump and slide, but have a 'stinging' move, which can:

They can do any of this while capturing an opponent on the final square, or when moving to an empty square. The Great Falcon does this only straight forward, and the Great Eagle in the two diagonally forward directions.

Soaring Eagle and Horned Falcon

The Soaring Eagle and Horned Falcon move as Queen, except that in some directions they do not slide, but have a 'stinging' move, which can:

They can do any of this while capturing an opponent on the final square, or when moving to an empty square. The Horned Falcon does this only straight forward, and the Soaring Eagle in the two diagonally forward directions.

Violent Falcon and Fierce Eagle

The Violent Falcon and Fierce Eagle move as Bishop and Rook, respectively. In addition, they can make a (1,2) leap in any direction.

Vertical Chariot

The Vertical Chariot slide vertically. In addition, they can step one square diagonally.

Free Wolf

The Free Wolf can slide sideways or move one square in any direction.


The Lance, in addition to sliding directly forward, can slide up to two squares directly backward.

Roaring Dog

The Roaring Dog can step one square in any direction. In addition, it can jump to the second square in any direction before optionally stepping one square in the same direction.

Poisonous Snake

The Poisonous Snake can step up to two square orthogonally, or one square diagonally forward.

Old Kite

The Old Kite can step up to two square diagonally, or one square sideways.

Flying Horse and Flying Dragon

The Flying Horse and Flying Dragon move up to two squares diagonally and orthogonally, respectively.

Tile General

The Tile General can step one square in any forward direction.


The Pawn occurs in its Shogi form, moving as well as capturing one square directly forward.


Deciding who moves first

furigoma (振り駒 piece toss) is used to decide who moves first. One of the players tosses five pawns. If the number of tokins (promoted pawns, と) facing up is higher than unpromoted Pawns (歩), then the player who tossed the pawns plays Gote (後手 White) (that is, getting the second move).

The players may also decide who goes first through a game of chance or a mutual agreement.

Sente (先手 Black) moves first, then players alternate making a move. Making a move is required – skipping a move is illegal, even when having to move is detrimental. Play continues until a player's last remaining royal piece is captured, a player resigns, or a draw is declared.

Skipping a turn

The Divine Spirit, Teaching King, Great Eagle, Great Falcon, Lion Hawk, Free Eagle, Great Elephant, Lion, Lion Dog, Soaring Eagle, and Horned Falcon can all skip a turn if at least one adjacent igui square is empty. However, it is illegal for a player to skip two consecutive turns. Note that if a piece promotes without moving, this does not count as skipping a turn.


Whenever a piece captures something, it promotes. Promotion is indicated by turning the piece over after it moves, revealing the character of the promoted piece. Promotion is compulsory when possible; it is illegal to defer a promotion upon capturing, or promote without capturing.

The pieces promote as follows:

  • Poisonous Snake -> Hook Mover
  • Deva -> Teaching King
  • Fierce Eagle -> Great Eagle
  • Flying Dragon -> Fierce Eagle
  • Lion -> Lion Hawk
  • Kirin -> Lion
  • Queen -> Free Eagle
  • Phoenix -> Queen
  • Lion Dog -> Great Elephant
  • Roaring Dog -> Lion Dog
  • Dragon King -> Soaring Eagle
  • Rook -> Dragon King
  • Gold General -> Rook
  • Pawn -> Tokin
  • Evil Wolf -> Free Wolf
  • Old Kite -> Tengu
  • Dark Spirit -> Divine Spirit
  • Violent Falcon -> Great Falcon
  • Flying Horse -> Violent Falcon
  • Dragon Horse -> Horned Falcon
  • Bishop -> Dragon Horse
  • Vertical Chariot -> Free Dream Eater
  • Tile General -> Vertical Chariot
  • Lance -> White Horse
  • Blind Tiger -> Flying Stag
  • Go Between -> Drunk Elephant
  • Side Mover -> Free Boar
  • Copper General -> Side Mover

Because promotion doesn't happen until the end of the turn, multi-capturing pieces that promote have a chance to make a multi-capture.

The King, Hook Mover, and Tengu do not promote, nor can already promoted pieces promote further, with the following exception:

Any piece, promoted or not, that captures a Deva or Teaching King promotes to a Teaching King. This is effected by replacing it on the board with the captured piece. Similarly, any piece that captures a Dark Spirit or Divine Spirit promotes to a Divine Spirit. This is sometimes expressed as the piece being contagious: when something captures a contagious piece type, it becomes that piece type. Multi-capturing pieces that capture two different contagious pieces promote to the promoted form of the last contagious piece that they capture. The only exception to this is the kings, which stay as they are.


When a player’s King is under immediate attack by at least one enemy piece, it is in check. A player who's King is in check is not required to remove the the check, but this is almost always the best option, since a player who has no more royal pieces on the board loses the game. A check can be removed in one of three ways, depending on the situation:

The King need not move out of check, and can even move into check, though this is almost always a blunder. If it is not possible for a player to get out of check, that piece is checkmated and the game is effectively over.

Illegal Move

A player who makes an illegal move loses immediately. Illegal moves include:

This rule may be relaxed in casual games, where a player can take back the illegal move and make a legal move.

End of the game

A player who captures the opponent's King wins the game.

Checkmate and Stalemate

If a player’s King is placed in check and there is no legal move that will resolve the check, the checking move is also checkmate, and effectively wins the game.

If a player’s King is not in check but that player has no legal moves, the game is a stalemate. Stalemate, like checkmate, leads to a win for the stalemating player.


At any point in the game, a player may resign and their opponent wins the game.


There are only two ways for a draw to occur - 千日手 sennichite (repetition) and impasse.

Repetition Draw 千日手 sennichite - If the same game position occurs four times with the same player to move, then the game ends in a draw, as long as the positions are not due to turn-skipping violations.

Impasse – If neither player can hope to force checkmate or stalemate on the other player’s last remaining royal piece or gain any further material through a series of legal moves, the players may agree to a draw.


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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: 2023-02-18. Web page last updated: 2023-04-22