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

Mitsugumi Shogi

Mitsugumi Shogi (三つ組将棋 mitsugumi shōgi, literally "triplet shogi," but meant in the sense of "tridecimal shogi") is inspired by H. G. Muller's Nutty Shogi and Suzumu Shogi. The latter is probably one of the wildest games I have ever conceived. Suzumu Shogi can be a bit intimidating, though, with 78 pieces of 36 types on a 16x16 board. Mitsugumi Shogi is an attempt to shrink Suzumu Shogi to a smaller game, with only 54 pieces of 27 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 table in 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=27 promoZone=4 maxPromote=24 promoChoice=+ royal=27 trackPieces=50 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 dog:D:bFfW:d:d5,j5 silver general:S:FfW:s:c1,k1 ferocious leopard:FL:FvW:fl:d1,j1 gold general:G:WfF:g:e1,i1 blind tiger:BT:FsbW:bt:f1,h1 knight:N:N:n:b1,l1 kirin:KY:FD:ky:e2 phoenix:PH:WA:ph:i2 lance:L:fRbW2:l:a1,m1 vertical mover:VM:sWvR:vm:a2,m2 side soldier:SS:bWsRfW2:ss:a3,m3 bishop:B:B:b:b2,l2 rook:R:R:r:b3,l3 dragon horse:DH:BW:dh:c3,k3 dragon king:DK:RF:dk:d3,j3 horned falcon:HF:BsbRfWfDfcavWfabW:hf:e3 soaring eagle:SE:RbBfFfAfcavFfabF:se:i3 lion:LN:KNADcaKmcabK:ln:f3 queen:Q:Q:q:h3 bishop general:BG:B(paf)2cB:bg:f2 rook general:RG:R(paf)2cR:rg:g3 chariot soldier:CS:BvRsW2:cs:c2,k2 water buffalo:WB:BsRvW2:wb:d2,j2 vice general:VG:B(paf)2cB(a)2KabK:vg:h2 fire demon:FD:shQshy(mpacab)2Q(a)2Kmcab(mpacab)1K(a)2mpacabK(a)2mpacabmpacabK:fd:g2 king:K:K:k:g1 tokin:+P:WfF:p2: multi general:+D:bBfR:d2: vertical mover:+S:sWvR:s2: bishop:+FL:B:fl2: rook:+G:R:g2: flying stag:+BT:FsWvR:bt2: side soldier:+N:bWsRfW2:n2: lion:+KY:KNADcaKmcabK:ky2: queen:+PH:Q:ph2: white horse:+L:fBvR:l2: flying ox:+VM:BvR:vm2: water buffalo:+SS:BsRvW2:ss2: dragon horse:+B:BW:b2: dragon king:+R:RF:r2: horned falcon:+DH:BsbRfWfDfcavWfabW:dh2: soaring eagle:+DK:RbBfFfAfcavFfabF:dk2: bishop general:+HF:B(paf)2cB:hf2: rook general:+SE:R(paf)2cR:se2: lion hawk:+LN:BWNADcaKmcabK:ln2: free eagle:+Q:QADcaFmcabF:q2: vice general:+BG:B(paf)2cB(a)2KabK:bg2: great general:+RG:Q(paf)2cQ:rg2: heavenly tetrarch:+CS:jvhQjsQ3cab(mpacab)1K:cs2: fire demon:+WB:shQshy(mpacab)2Q(a)2Kmcab(mpacab)1K(a)2mpacabK(a)2mpacabmpacabK:wb2:

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 ([ixK] is an ad hoc atom for immobilizing adjacent pieces, and [R] indicates that the piece has restrictions on its movement or abilities).

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

First rank

  • a1, m1 Lance (fRbW2) -> White Horse (fBvR)
  • b1, l1 Knight (N) -> Side Soldier
  • c1, k1 Ferocious Leopard (FvW) -> Bishop
  • d1, j1 Silver General (FfW) -> Vertical Mover
  • e1, i1 Gold General (WfF) -> Rook
  • f1, h1 Blind Tiger (FbsW) -> Flying Stag (FsWvR)
  • g1 King (K)

Second rank

  • a2, m2 Vertical Mover (sWvR) -> Flying Ox (BvR)
  • b2, l2 Bishop (B) -> Dragon Horse
  • c2, k2 Chariot Soldier (BvRsW2) -> Heavenly Tetrarch (jvhQjsQ3cab(mpacab)1K[ixK][R])
  • d2, j2 Water Buffalo (BsRvW2) -> Fire Demon
  • f2 Kirin (FD) -> Lion
  • f2 Bishop General (B(paf)2cB) -> Vice General
  • g2 Fire Demon (shQshy(mpacab)2Q(a)2Kmcab(mpacab)1K(a)2mpacabK(a)2mpacabmpacabK[R])
  • h2 Vice General (B(paf)2cB(a)2KabK)
  • h2 Phoenix (WA) -> Queen

Third rank

  • a3, m3 Side Soldier (WsRfW2) -> Water Buffalo
  • b3, l3 Rook (R) -> Dragon King
  • c3, k3 Dragon Horse (BW) -> Horned Falcon
  • d3, j3 Dragon King (RF) -> Soaring Eagle
  • e3, i3 Horned Falcon (BsbRfWfDfcavWfabW) -> Bishop General
  • f3 Lion (KNADcaKmcabK) -> Lion Hawk (BWNADcaKmcabK)
  • g3 Rook General (R(paf)2cR) -> Great General (Q(paf)2cQ)
  • h3 Queen (Q) - Free Eagle (QADcaFmcabF)
  • i3 Soaring Eagle (RbBfFfAfcavFfabF) -> Rook General

Fourth and fifth ranks

  • a5-p5 Pawns (fW) -> Tokin (Gold General)
  • e6, l6 Dog (bFfW) -> Multi General (bBfR)


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.

Fire Demon

The Fire Demon can slide sideways or diagonally, or make an 'area move' - up to 3 King steps in independently chosen directions, stopping at the first capture, including returning to the starting square to skip a turn. In addition, it has the power to "burn"; it can move to another square and then capture up to two non-Fire Demon opponents adjacent to that square without moving. Or it can simply capture up to two adjacent opponents without moving (double igui).

The Fire Demon cannot burn another Fire Demon (move to another square and then capture a Fire Demon without moving). It can capture a Fire Demon via any other type of capture however, and can even capture other pieces after the fact, as long as this does not involve burning a Fire Demon.

Heavenly Tetrarch

The Heavenly Tetrarch is a sliding piece that skips the first square in any direction, totally ignoring (and not affecting) what is on it. It can end maximally 3 squares away from its starting square sideways, but can slide arbitrarily far in all other directions. Like any slider it must stop after a capture, or before hitting a friendly piece. Alternatively the Heavenly Tetrarch can annihilate up to two opponents next to it, without moving (double igui). In addition, it has the power to "freeze"; all stationary non-Heavenly Tetrarch opponents are immobilized, and cannot move at all (not even to skip a turn) until the Heavenly Tetrarch moves away or is captured.

Heavenly Tetrarches cannot freeze each other.

Jumping Sliders

The Bishop General, Rook General, Vice General, and Great General move as Bishop, Rook, Bishop, and Queen, respectively, except they can optionally jump up to two pieces along the line of attack when taking.

The Vice General can also make an 'area move' - up to 3 King steps in independently chosen directions, stopping at the first capture, including returning to the starting square to skip a turn.

Lion and Lion Hawk

The Lion and Lion Hawk 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 can in addition move as a normal Bishop.

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

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.

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.


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


The Knight makes a (1,2) leap in any direction (rather than just the two forward-most directions).


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 Fire Demon, Vice General, Lion Hawk, Free Eagle, Lion, Soaring Eagle, and Horned Falcon can all skip a turn if at least one adjacent igui or area move square is empty. However, it is illegal for a player to skip a turn if the immediately preceding turn was skipped by the opponent. Note that if a piece promotes without moving, this does not count as skipping a turn.


A player's promotion zone consists of the furthest four ranks of the board, at the original line of the opponent's pawns and beyond. The zone is typically delineated on the game board by two inscribed dots. When a piece is moved, if its move starts and/or ends within the promotion zone, then the player has the option to promote the piece at the end of the turn. Promotion is indicated by turning the piece over after it moves, revealing the character of the promoted piece.

The pieces promote as follows:

  • Water Buffalo -> Fire Demon
  • Side Soldier -> Water Buffalo
  • Knight -> Side Soldier
  • Lion -> Lion Hawk
  • Kirin -> Lion
  • Rook General -> Great General
  • Soaring Eagle -> Rook General
  • Dragon King -> Soaring Eagle
  • Rook -> Dragon King
  • Gold General -> Rook
  • Pawn -> Tokin
  • Dog -> Multi-General
  • Queen -> Free Eagle
  • Phoenix -> Queen
  • Bishop General -> Vice General
  • Horned Falcon -> Bishop General
  • Dragon Horse -> Horned Falcon
  • Bishop -> Dragon Horse
  • Ferocious Leopard -> Bishop
  • Chariot Soldier -> Heavenly Tertarch
  • Vertical Mover -> Flying Ox
  • Silver General -> Vertical Mover
  • Lance -> White Horse
  • Blind Tiger -> Flying Stag

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

The King, Fire Demon, and Vice General do not promote, nor can already promoted pieces promote further.


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.


Similar Games

Computer Play

You can play Mitsugumi Shogi online with Game Courier.

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: 2022-09-28. Web page last updated: 2023-02-08