The Chess Variant Pages

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This page is written by the game's inventor, Charles Gilman.

Flyover Shogi

This variant is inspired by the likes of Chess for 3, 3 Handed Chess, 3 Player Chess, and Yalta - 3-player versions of FIDE Chess in which, give or take advantages of move order, each of the six relations of player x to player y is the same. This cannot be achieved with a 4-player FIDE as relations betweem opposite-colour players always differ from those between adjacent-colour players. The reason is that 8 of a player's files can be divided into 2 equal groups of 4 shared with each of 2 other players, but not into 3 equal groups shared with each of 3 other players. It then occurred to me that the 9 files of Shogi can be divided into 3 equal groups of 3 for a 4-player variant, with suitable treatment of the middle ranks. Again like e.g. Yalta it preserves the piece density and file length of its 2-player original.

Here is my effort in that direction. As one group of centre files flies over the other (hence the name) it is not a normal 2d variant but, like L. J. Weijden's Novo Chess and my own Flyover Xiang Qi, nor is it like conventional 3d variants. I have therefore not ticked a dimension number. There are differences between Flyover Shogi and Flyover Xiang Qi, for while both the Shogi board and the Xiang Qi board comprise 3 groups of 3 files the Shogi board also comprises 3 groups of 3 ranks, where as the Xiang Qi board comprises 2 groups of 5 ranks. In both Flyover variants each camp has complete 9-cell ranks, but in Flyover Shogi it is only the camps, with the middle sections being 3x3 blocks isolated from other files, whereas in Flyover Xiang Qi it is the whole half-boards, with only the Rivers being just 3 files long and isolated from other files.


Generic graphics on these pages are not suited to this variant, so I have created my own large image. Pieces are depicted based on their moves. For each player the 18 files divide into two equal groups, though they are different groups for different players. Home files are those with the player's own camp at one end and an enemy camp at the other, and Away files those with an enemy camp at each end.

The exact breakdown is as follows, with a capital letter indicating a Home file with the relevant piece at the end, and a dash represents an Away file:
        abcdefghi jklmnopqr
Red     WHSGKG--- ------SHW
Orange  ------SHW ---GKGSHW
Green   ---GKGSHW WHS------
Blue    WHS------ WHSGKG---

Whether there is any sensible way of numbering ranks is another matter...


Pieces are the same as in Shogi itself. Forward is taken to mean toward the nearest enemy camp. On a Home file this means away from one's own camp, on an Away file away from the middle rank. From the middle cell of an Away file, both ways along the file are forward. Diagonal moves can pass through the corners of 3x3 supersquares, so that the Red and Green Bishops remain in line and likewise the Orange and Blue ones. Oblique leaps are taken to be sideways then forward when leaving one's camp, forward then sideways when entering an enemy one. This is to maximise the range of such moves.

In physical representation each piece should be kept pointing away from its own player, rather than turning to follow the files. This is to avoid confusing the different players' pieces when in enemy camps. Should a computer graphics representation ever be done for this variant (now there's a challenge for you) they can of course be made to change colour.


Red moves first, and play proceeds in anticlockwise order. Rules are largely as in Shogi. Players can capture anyone else's pieces and reintroduce them, but can do so only on Home files. As in Shogi, they return unpromoted on a cell where they have an unpromoted move.

A player in Check to the next player to move is Checkmated and their pieces, on the board and in hand, are then put into a neutral Super Pool in unpromoted form. Each kind of capturable piece in the Super Pool is then divided equally between remaining players for future reintroduction. Any remainder after the first Checkmate stay in the Super Pool to include in the share out after the second Checkmate. This is to compensate for the relatively low piece density compared to 125% Shogi. Victory is by the third Checkmate.


The same array could be used for a Flyover version of Totaishi Shogi, as the additional oblique leaps in this are also more forward than sideways.

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 Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2006-07-03. Web page last updated: 2015-05-23