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Notake Shogi

Introduction

My first new page of 2012 is part inspired by Takeover Chess, which adds Overtaking Recruiment to FIDE Chess alongside the standard Displacement Capture. Unlike that game, there is no capture at all here and all that you can do with an enemy piece is recruit or demote, although you can also promote allies. The latter two actions are also influenced by the use of a promoting and demoting Cannon in subvariants of Shoxiang 108. There are several slightly different forms of Notake Shogi depending on how pieces act on - that is recruit, demote, or promote - each other as follows:
APPROACHING Notake Shogi: a piece makes its normal move to an empty square and acts on the piece one step* beyond the end of its move.
WITHDRAWING Notake Shogi: a piece makes its normal move to an empty square and acts on the piece one step* beyond the start of the move, in the other direction.
SHUNTING Notake Shogi: a piece makes its normal move to an occupied square and acts on a piece which it shunts to an empty square one step* beyond.
TOWING Notake Shogi: a piece makes its normal move to an empty square and acts on a piece which it tows from one step* beyond the start of the move, in the other direction, to its own starting square.
OVERTAKING Notake Shogi: a piece makes its normal move to an occupied square, acts on the occupant, and makes another normal move to an empty square beyond.
RIFLE Notake Shogi: a piece stays still and acts on a piece that it would be able to capture in the non-Notake game.
*or in the Helm's case, leap.

The name is of course a pun. In the one hand, it can be read as the English "no", meaning "absence of", and "take", not pronounced phonetically, meaning "capture". On the other hand, "No" is a highly stylised Japanese form of theatre, while "Take-", when it is pronounced phonetically, is the start of a number of Japanese surnames. It is in those latter senses that I would expect Notake Shogi to appear when transliterated into Japanese characters, with the action-type qualifiers translated.

Note that this variant requires a precision that I always observe in writing Chess variants but not everyone does. Because pieces promote and demote in this variant, it is important to note the differences between a piece promoting and being promoted, and between a piece demoting and being demoted.

Setup

As standard Shogi

Pieces

As standard Shogi, including promotions, except that they act differently on each other from normal capture and return as enemy pieces immediately rather than from reserve.

Rules

As in standard Shogi there is no double-step initial move, En Passant, or Castling.

A piece acting on an unpromoted or unpromotable enemy recruits. That is to say, the acted-on piece is rotated 90° at right angles to the board to become part of the acting piece's army.

A piece acting on a promoted enemy demotes. That is to say, the acted-on piece is rotated 90° on its file to revert to its array move (adjusted for its current player). The demoting piece is not itself demoted, and might even be promoted.

A piece acting on an unpromoted ally promotes. That is to say, the acted-on piece is rotated 90° on its file to acquire the same move as it could by itself moving to, within, or from its promotion zone. Whether the promoting piece is or is not itself promoted depends on its own promotion status and the move's location on the board.

A piece cannot act on a promoted or unpromotable ally. Nor can it make, without acting on a piece, any move that it could not make in standard Shogi.

A piece can also be promoted through its own move in the usual way by entering, moving within, or leaving its promotion zone. Note however that a Silvergeneral cannot be promoted when its destination and the acted-on piece are both outside the promotion zone. This is because once promoted it would lose the backward-diagonal directions. A piece can never be demoted through its own move.

Whether the acting piece is itself unpromoted, promoted, or unpromotable has no bearing on whether it can recruit, demote, or promote.

The King is in Check when an enemy piece is in a position to act on it. A King in Check must be moved out of Check, and if it cannot then it is Checkmate and the Checking player wins. A King not in Check must not be moved into Check, and if such a move is the only one available then it is Stalemate and the game is drawn.

Notes

These rules could be applied to other variants with Shogi-style promotion and return from capture such as my own Bishogi, Mitregi, Tunnelshogi, and Frontofhouse. Restrictions on Silvergenerals being promoted when recruiting/demoting/promoting would extend to other pieces whose promoted move does not include all of their unpromoted one. In the case of pieces divergent even in non-Notake form, such as the Pawn of Bishogi and Frontofhouse or the eponymous Saint (Bishop+Cannon) of Sainted Shogi, "capturing" should be inserted in the phrase "normal move", so that a Pawn acts on other pieces diagonally and a piece moving as a Cannon in an Overtaking game must hop one piece before the acted-on one and one after. When applying Notake to a game with more than two players such as Yonin Shogi, 125% Shogi, or Flyover Shogi, recruitment is always to the moving piece's army, never from one enemy army to another.


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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2012-01-17. Web page last updated: 2012-01-17