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Shoxiang 108

Introduction

This variant is something of a back-formation from Shoxiang QB162, which combines the Shogi set minus the middle rank with the Xiang Qi set minus the Fortress-restricted pieces. One of these variants uses the same pieces in an array punning on the Rook in the style of Wildeurasian Mitregi. This is the "Shogi-heavy" one. The other starts with the Xiang Qi set, treats the symmetric pieces as a sporting "first XI", and has a "second XI" of forward-only counterparts. This idea springs from a pun on XI as Roman numeral and start of Xiang, which also works verbally in English (eleven/elephant) and German (elf/elefant/elfenbein). The counterparts give essentially the same corner and adjacent pieces as in Shogi, so the entire 2nd XI may be represented by Shogi pieces. Both variants restore the Shogi Bishop.

Shogi divides the board into three equal-sized groups of ranks for promotion rules, and Xiang Qi into two for both promotion and restriction. This suggested to me that the expansion of the board to accommodate the larger armies should be by making the number of ranks divisible by both numbers while retaining the 9 files common to both. This gives 12 ranks by 9 files.

Each variant has subvariants: weak (stepping Helm/Knight/Elephant), standard (leaping Helm but stepping Knight/Elephant), centrewise (leaping Helm/Knight, stepping Elephant), strong (leaping Helm/Knight, Multiple Displacer Elephant). In XQ-heavy variants the Tusk has the same blockability as the Elephant.

Setup

Shogi-heavy

XQ-heavy

Pieces

Shogi pieces have their Japanese name given in brackets, with a translation where differing from the Man and Beast name.

Common to both:

The POINT (Fuhyo=Foot Soldier) is the Shogi and Xiang Qi replacement for the Pawn, and until promoted it always moves one step orthogonally forward. Its Man and Beast name refers to the view of its move by a player looking along the file, but could also be taken as an acronym for Pawn-OrIeNTal. The Shogi physical piece is used as there are always more than 5 aside, plus the spare Shogi physical Rook in the Shogi-heavy variant.
The ROOK moves any distance orthogonally through empty intermediate squares. As there are two aside these variants use the unpromotable form common to Xiang Qi/Chaturanga/FIDE Chess - rather than the promotable Shogi piece (Hisha=Flying Chariot) - and it is represented by the XQ physical piece.
The CANNON differs from the Rook in that capturing requires exactly one intervening piece, which may be of either army and is not itself captured. It is of course represented by the XQ physical piece.
The BISHOP is the Rook's colourbound analogue, moving any distance diagonally through empty intermediate squares. These variants use the one-aside promotable Shogi version (Kakugyo=Angle Mover) and it is represented by the Shogi physical piece.
The PRIMATE (Ryuma=Dragon Horse) is the Bishop promoted to have a one-step orthogonal move added, thereby removing its colourbinding. In Shoxiang as in Shogi it is not an array piece. Its Man and Beast name refers to it being an enhancement of the Bishop, but not as much of one as the Cardinal.
The KNIGHT moves simultaneously 2 ranks and 1 file, or simultaneously 2 files and 1 rank. In Weak and Standard subvariants it is the stepping Knight of Xiang Qi itself, whose move comprises an orthogonal step to an empty square followed by a diagonal step, in Centrewise and Strong subvariants the FIDE leaping Knight, which cannot be blocked. The former is widely known among English-speaking problematists as a Mao, which could be interpreted as Japanese for Horse King - making up a Knight move from two King moves! Either way it is represented by the XQ physical piece.
The ELEPHANT moves 2 steps diagonally. In this page's variants the halfway square must be empty except in Strong subvariants, which allow it to pass through an enemy-occupied square capturing that enemy as well as any on the destination square. Either way it is represented by the XQ physical piece. The Leaping Elephant of Chaturanga is not used in this page's variants.
The WING (Kyoosha=Fragrant Chariot) is the piece that replaced the Rook in Shogi in its original location (and remains there in these variants). It moves like a Rook, but only in the one forward direction. Its Man and Beast name represents an aspect of the Rook both as bird and as building. It is of course represented by the Shogi physical piece.
The HELM (Keima=Honourable Horse), the piece that replaced the Knight in Shogi, moves simultaneously 2 ranks forward and 1 file sideways. It cannot be blocked except in Weak subvariants, where the square immediately in front of it must be empty. Its Man and Beast name represents an aspect of the Knight starting with the H of Horse and having associations with fantasy literature. It is of course represented by the Shogi physical piece.
Shogi-heavy only
The SILVERGENERAL (Ginsho) is a Shogi piece moving one step either diagonally or along the forward orthogonal. The name is a literal translation of Ginsho, its Japanese name. It is of course represented by the Shogi physical piece.
The GOLDGENERAL (Kinsho) is a Shogi piece moving one step either orthogonally or along either forward diagonal. The name is a literal translation of Kinsho, its Japanese name. It is of course represented by the Shogi physical piece.
The KING (varies between rmies), the one Shogi piece surviving entirely unchanged from Chaturanga, can move one square in any orthogonal and diagonal direction. It must be kept out of check. It can be physically represented by either the Shogi King or the XQ General - or even one atop the other to show how important it is!
XQ-heavy only
The CANNONBALL differs from the Wing in that capturing requires exactly one intervening piece, which may be of either army and is not itself captured. It is represented by the Shogi King and Rook pieces.
The FERZ is a piece that started single in Chaturanga but was doubled in Xiang Qi. It moves one step diagonally. It is of course represented by the XQ physical piece.
The GENERAL is Xiang Qi's royal piece, moving one step orthogonally. It must be kept out of both Check and Bare Facing. It is of course represented by the XQ physical piece.
The TUSK moves 2 steps along either forward diagonal. In this page's variants the halfway square must be empty except in Strong subvariants, which allow it to pass through an enemy-occupied square capturing that enemy as well as any on the destination square. Its Man and Beast name represents an aspect of the elephant forking in two forward directions. It is represented by the Shogi Silvergeneral physical piece - imagine that it says Ivory instead of Silver! The Leaping Tusk resulting from applying the principle to Chaturanga is not used in this page's variants.
The CROSS (Sekisho=Stone General), the Point's colourbound analogue, moves one step diagonally forward. Its Man and Beast name refers to the view of its move on a cubic 3d board by a player looking along the file. It is represented by the Shogi Goldgeneral physical piece - imagine that it says Stone instead of Gold!

Rules

Points starting immediately behind another Point are patient as defined in Man and Beast 02: Shield Bewarers. This means that they have an initial double move once the front Point's square is empty and the one ahead of that either empty or enemy-occupied. A capturing double move is allowed as it is a non-divergent piece. Only a Cross can capture a Point En Passant, should it get that far.

There is no Castling.

In the Shogi-heavy variant, Shogi pieces (including Points but not Rooks) have their Shogi promotion rules. The promotion zone is in the four ranks deepest into enemy territory. Standard XQ pieces cannot be promoted.

In the XQ-heavy variant, the Fortress occupies the middle three squares of the first four ranks. Generals and Ferzes cannot leave it. Points and Crosses crossing the River gain a single-step sideways move, and on reaching the enemy Fortress are promoted respectively to Wazirs - moving like the General but capturable - and Ferzes neither of which can leave it. Other forward-only pieces are promoted to the symmetric counterpart on crossing the River. In both variants Elephants cannot cross the River. Tusks can, but once promoted cannot retreat back across it.

In both variants a player capturing a Bishop, forward-only piece, or part-symmetric piece may reintroduce the piece in unpromoted form as part of their own army in place of a normal move. It must be placed on a rank where it has a move in unpromoted form, and if placed beyond the River is promoted at the end of its next move. Rooks, Knights and Cannons cannot be reintroduced.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as in FIDE Chess. The XQ-heavy version also has the ban on both Generals sharing a file without an intervening piece.

Notes

Since posting this page I have been inspired to add a possible subvariant of each variant in which Cannons promote and demote while capturing. If the intervening piece is a promoted enemy it is demoted, unless demoting would prevent it moving further. If the intervening piece is an unpromoted but promotable ally it is promoted. The Cannon itself remains unpromotable.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2006-06-03. Web page last updated: 2016-03-18