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This page is written by the game's inventor, Andrew L Smith.

Void Shogi

In Shogi, one thing I find strange is how all of the minor pieces promote to Gold General. I find this strange for 3 reasons:

  1. The Gold General's lack of backward movement leads to impasses
  2. Promoting to Gold makes a piece lose its identity (lances lose their range, knights lose their ability to leap, silvers lose their backwards mobility)
  3. "Promotion" is sometimes a downgrade

So, I made this variant to investigate what might happen if the pieces each had more personalised promotions.


All unpromoted pieces move as they do in Shogi, and they all start in their usual places.

The Pawn, Bishop, Rook and King all retain their promotions (or, in the King's case, lack thereof) from Shogi.

The promoted Lance gets its more powerful promotion to White Horse from Chu Shogi, where it gains the ability to move vertically backwards and diagonally forwards.
Betza notation: fQbR

The promoted Knight moves as a FIDE Knight.
Betza notation: N

The promoted Silver General moves like the King, but is not subject to check an can be captured.
Betza notation: K

The promoted Gold General (known as a "void general" because its piece is blank) moves one space orthogonally. After moving forwards, it may move again, including going back to where it started and capturing twice. However, the void general may only move up to twice per turn and cannot move again after moving sideways or backwards. If the Void General moves twice, it can move onto an occupied space without capturing for its first move as long as it either captures or moves to an empty space on its second move.
These double move abilities are similar to Chu Shogi's lion moves.
Betza notation: 0WfFfDcfaWcfabW


The rules are the same as Shogi.


The new promotions are slightly more powerful than the Gold General, with all except the promoted Lance being about as powerful as the King. This makes the Tokin less valuable.

The promoted Lance is roughly as strong as the promoted Bishop and unpromoted Rook, so putting lances in places where they can easily promote is a powerful strategy, especially if a player has a lance in hand.

Since pieces don't promote often in Shogi and the promotions for the Rook and Bishop are unchanged, most strategies, especially in the opening, are unaffected by the new promotions. The promoted Knight is the new piece with the most impact on the opening, as the ability to leap sideways can pierce some castles such as the Gold Fortress.

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By Andrew L Smith.

Last revised by Andrew L Smith.

Web page created: 2022-08-27. Web page last updated: 2022-08-27