Kozune (koh zoo nay) is inspired by Shatranj and Shogi. Playing these games, I found - to my surprise - that I enjoyed using the short-range pieces. Every piece in Kozune is a short-range leaper. This increases the importance of position and strategy relative to combinations and tactics.
Kozune is played on a 9x9 board. Each player begins with 2 Ko, 2 Zu, 2 Ne, 1 Kozu, 1 Kone, 1 Zune, 1 Sho, and 9 pawns. The Sho (general - kozune's king) is placed on the center square of each player's first rank. The 9 pawns are placed on the third rank, as in Shogi. Players alternate placing one piece at a time within their first two ranks, with white placing first. When all pieces are on the board, players take turns moving; first white, then black.
The Sho moves as an Orthodox King. Pawns move as in Shogi - one square forward, capturing in the same manner that they move. The Ko leaps one or two spaces orthogonally (Wazir-Dababa). The Zu leaps one or two spaces diagonally (Ferz-Alfil). The Ne moves as an Orthodox Knight. The Kozu moves as a Ko or Zu (Wazir-Dabbaba-Ferz-Alfil). The Kone moves as a Ko or Ne (Wazir-Dabbaba-Knight). The Zune moves as a Zu or Ne (Ferz-Alfil-Knight). The Kozune moves as a Ko, Zu, or Ne (Wazir-Dabbaba-Ferz-Alfil-Knight).
The goal of Kozune is to checkmate the Sho. Pawns that reach the 7th rank may promote to a Ko, Zu, or Ne. Pawns that reach the 8th rank may promote to a Kozu, Kone, or Zune. Pawns that reach the 9th rank become a mighty KOZUNE. An honorable player will shout "Kozune!" and crack his or her knuckles when this is accomplished. The Sho can create pawns! In place of a normal move, the Sho may create a pawn on any space to which he could move. As in Shogi, however, no player may have more than one pawn per file. There is no castling or en passant. Stalemate is a loss.
The original plan was to use simple short-range rooks and bishops, but R2s and B2s are too weak compared to the knight. Ralph Betza's articles on piece values suggest that the Wazir-Dabbaba and Ferz-Alfil should be roughly equal to a knight, so I chose them instead. Each atom (ko, zu, ne) attacks eight squares and cannot be blocked. Each atom's moves are orthogonal to those of the other two. All should be roughly equal in power. Each two-piece compound (kozu, kone, zune) attacks sixteen squares. The mighty Kozune attacks twenty-four squares. This powerful piece can force checkmate unassisted. Checks cannot be blocked; the Sho must have room to maneuver. I chose Japanese syllables for piece names because they combine well and sound pleasant. The resulting words are meaningless as far as I know.
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By Joshua Morris.
Web page created: 2005-08-06. Web page last updated: 2005-08-06