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Tee Garden Shogi


On first seeing William Overington's Tree Garden Chess in 2003 I made a few comments, including suggesting the idea of a Golf-themed "Tee Garden" Chess punning on the name of someone in the news at the time. Nothing came of it then, and I forgot about it.

Then in 2006 as I was typing away quickly at a Shogi variant, I cannot offhand recall which, I produced the typo "Golfgeneral". I corrected it, of course, but not before it had planted in my mind the idea of applying my long-ignored idea to Shogi. Shogi already had reintroducing captured pieces as an alternative to moving a piece, so adding Golf actions as a further alternative seemed less of a change than adding them to a non-Shogi variant.


I have used the feature option of defining tailored rank and file labels and tiling here to create double-height ranks with pieces in the cell's upper part and numbers of golf balls in its lower part. The tee cells are not marked as they do not vary.


The POINT (Fuhyo=Foot Soldier) is the Shogi (and Xiang Qi) replacement for the Pawn, and until promoted always moves one step orthogonally forward. Its Golf action is to move a ball to the square that it occupies from any orthogonally adjacent square, including a Lake square.
The ROOK (Hisha=Flying Chariot) reappeared in Shogi in a different location. It moves any distance orthogonally, but cannot pass through an occupied square. It is promotable to a CHATELAINE (Ryuo=Dragon King) by adding the Ferz move. It has no Golf action, unpromoted or promoted.
The BISHOP (Kakugyo=Angle Mover) appeared in Shogi independently of its European use. The Rook's colourbound analogue, it moves any distance diagonally, but cannot pass through an occupied square. It is promotable to a PRIMATE (Ryuma=Dragon Horse) by adding the Wazir move. It has no Golf action, unpromoted or promoted.
The WING (Kyoosha=Fragrant Chariot) replaced the Rook in Shogi in its original location. It moves like a Rook, but only in the one forward direction. Its Golf action (as "Swing") is to hit a ball in any forward direction.
The HELM (Keima=Honourable Horse) replaced the Knight in Shogi. It moves like a Knight, but only in the two forwardmost directions. It has no Golf action.
The SILVERGENERAL (Ginsho) combines the Ferz and Point. Its Golf action (as "Slicer General") is to hit a ball along any diagonal.
The GOLDGENERAL (Kinsho) combines the Wazir and Cross. Its Golf action (as "Golf General") is to hit a ball along any orthogonal. Forward-only pieces or Silvergenerals promoted to this piece gain its Golf action in place of their own.
The KING (Japanese name varies between armies) moves one square in any orthogonal and diagonal direction, is unpromotable, and must be kept out of check. It has no Golf action.


Pieces may not move directly from a middle file (d-f) to a middle rank (4-6) or vice versa. Bishops, however, may move from one to the other if one or two intermediate squares are in neither.

There is no initial double-step move, En Passant, or Castling or other special King move.

Promotion is as in Shogi.

Each player has a Reserve to store captured enemy pieces and pieces of either army hit with a ball. These pieces may, in place of the capturing player's normal move, return to the board as part of their army. In addition to Shogi restrictions on this, pieces may not return on files d-f, nor Helms on the squares c1/c9/g1/g9.

Pieces with a Golf action on the same square as a ball or, in the case of a Point, an orthogonally adjacent square, may take that action in place of a normal move. A ball hit from a tee can hit and replace the first intervening piece in a given direction, or stop any distance short of it. A ball hit over a line of 1-4 squares (e.g. away from the Lake) and not from a tee goes to the last square unless there is an intervening piece, in which case it hits and replaces that piece. A ball hit over a line of 5-8 squares (e.g. across the Lake) and not from a tee hits and replaces the nearest intervening piece if there is one on the last square but 3 or nearer. Otherwise a die (singular of dice) is rolled to determine how far the ball goes:
to the last square but 3, possibly a Lake one, if 1 is rolled;
to the last but 2 if 2 or 3 is rolled;
to the last but 1 if 4 or 5 is rolled, unless blocked by an intervening piece;
to the last if 6 is rolled, unless blocked by an intervening piece.

Balls landing on e4, e5, or e6 are lost for the rest of the game.

No piece can carry a ball with it as it moves.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as in FIDE Chess and Shogi.


Equipment: a Shogi set, six counters to represent the Golf balls, and one die (singular of dice).

Is it cheating to base giving one of the pieces a Golf move on a name that I coined for it - the Wing-Swing pun? I would say no. It is a name that I have been applying to that piece since Mitregi and Tunnelshogi, as part of a family of similar names for forward-only pieces. The name therefore came years before any idea of associating piece names with Golf strokes. The pun also has echoes of quite another sport, as in the Rugby Union singing of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, a reminder of the Wing's original Japanese name. Since posting this variant I read that the name Rugby, for the Warwickshire (second W silent) town at whose school the latter ball game was invented, is a corruption of "Rookborough", meaning a fortress with rooks. So it all links back to the original chariot in its symmetric form and that piece's modern shape!

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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2006-09-10. Web page last updated: 2016-05-31