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Chu Shogi, or Middle Shogi, is a Shogi "variant" (it actually predates Shogi by a couple centuries, being created in the 1400's) played on a 12x12 board. Each player has a total of 46 pieces to begin with, a total of 92. There are 21 unique piece types. Chu Shogi is also the only Shogi variant to be still widely available in Japan, although there are only a couple thousand players there and abroad, compared to the millions for Shogi.

The game tends to cause trouble for new players because it is much less intuitive than western Chess. To begin with, the pieces are traditionally in Kanji, like in traditional Shogi (the American Chu Shogi Association is looking to standardize international pieces, however). The piece movements are more unique and counter-intuitive, especially the three Lion-type pieces. There are no "drops" like in Shogi, however.

Before partaking in the deluge of piece information below, I highly recommend one read how to play Shogi, or at least Chess, as the rules are highly similar. For example, with the exception of a few pieces, there are no jumps, and even when there are the jumps never cause the capturing of the "jumped" piece.

The pieces all look the same (there is no difference between "black" and "white pieces" except for orientation): wedge-shaped to show orientation, and double-sided, so that when they promote they can just be flipped over.

Anyway, the board is laid out like so:

  A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| LA | FL | CG | GG | SG | DE | KI | GG | SG | CG | FL | LA | 12
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| RC |    | BS |    | BT | KY | PH | BT |    | BS |    | RC | 11
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| SM | VM | RO | DH | DK | FK | LN | DK | DH | RO | VM | SM | 10
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | 9
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    | GB |    |    |    |    | GB |    |    |    | 8
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    | 7
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    | 6
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    | GB |    |    |    |    | GB |    |    |    | 5
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | JP | 4
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| SM | VM | RO | DH | DK | FK | LN | DK | DH | RO | VM | SM | 3
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| RC |    | BS |    | BT | KY | PH | BT |    | BS |    | RC | 2
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
| LA | FL | CG | GG | SG | DE | KI | GG | SG | CG | FL | LA | 1
+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+

Starting pieces

These symbols represent:
? = As far in that direction as desired without jumping.
o =To this point.

The pieces are shown in the following format: {name} ({Japanese name}), {abbreviation}. Promotes: {promotion}

On an abstract portion of the board, like so:

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

With the piece in the center, represented by its abbreviation.


Unpromoted pieces

Bishop (Kakugyo), BS. Promotes: Dragon Horse

+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    |    |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  |    |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | JB |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  |    |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    |    |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Blind Tiger (Moko), BT. Promotes: Flying Stag

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  |    |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | BT |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Copper General (Dosho), CG. Promotes: Side Mover

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | CG |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Dragon Horse (Ryume), DH. Promotes: Horned Falcon

+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    |    |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | o  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | DH |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | o  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    |    |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Dragon King (Ryuo), DK. Promotes: Soaring Eagle

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | ?  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  | ?  | DK |  ? |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | ?  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Drunk Elephant (Suizo), DE. Promotes: Crowned Prince

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | DE |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  |    |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Ferocious Leopard (Mohyo), FL. Promotes: Bishop

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | FL |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Free King (Hon'o), FK.

+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | FK |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Go-Between (Chunin), GB. Promotes: Drunk Elephant

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | GB |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Gold General (Kinsho), GG. Promotes: Rook

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | GG |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

King (Osho), KI

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | KI |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Kylin (Kirin), KY. Promotes: Lion

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  |    |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| o  |    | KY |    |  o |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  |    |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Lance (Kyosha), LA. Promotes: White Horse

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | LA |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Lion (Shishi), L

+----+----+----+----+----+
| 2  | 2  | 2  |  2 |  2 |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| 2  | 1  | 1  |  1 |  2 |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| 2  | 1  | L  |  1 |  2 |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| 2  | 1  | 1  |  1 |  2 |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| 2  | 2  | 2  |  2 |  2 |
+----+----+----+----+----+

May move/capture to any 1 square and return, and then to any square adjacent to that 1 square. This means that two pieces can be captured in this manner.

As far as capturing a Lion goes, a Lion can capture another on a 2 square only if the opposing Lion is undefended and if the Lion captures another piece (besides a Pawn or Go-Between) on the way. You cannot capture your opponent's Lion if he captured yours the turn before, unless it's with another Lion.

Pawn (Fuhyo), JP

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | JP |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Phoenix (Hoo), PX

+----+----+----+----+----+
| o  |    |    |    |  o |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | PX |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| o  |    |    |    |  o |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Reverse Chariot (Hansha), RC

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | RC |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Rook (Hisha), JR

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  | ?  | JR |  ? |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Side Mover (Ogyo), SM

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  | ?  | SM |  ? |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Silver General (Ginsho), SG

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | SG |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  |    |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Vertical Mover (Kengyo), VM

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | VM |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+


Promoted pieces

Promoted pieces are pieces that have reached the one of the last four ranks (of your opponent). Pieces do not necessarily have to promote, but if they don't there are special rules that apply (see below).

Crown Prince (Tiashi), CP

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | CP |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Counts essentially as another King (see below).

Flying Stag (Hiroku), FG

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | ?  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | FG |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | ?  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Flying Ox (Higyu), FO

+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | FO |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Free Boar (Honcho), FB

+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    |    |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  |    |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  | ?  | FB |  ? |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  |    |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    |    |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Horned Falcon (Kakuo), HF

+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | 2  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | 1  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  | ?  | HF |  ? |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Moves like a lion in the given direction. Gets captured normally.

Promoted Pawn (Tokin), PP

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | o  |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | o  | PP |  o |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | o  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Soaring Eagle (Hiju), SE

+----+----+----+----+----+
| 2  |    | ?  |    |  2 |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | 1  | ?  |  1 |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  | ?  | SE |  ? |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Moves like a lion in the given direction. Gets captured normally.

Whale (Keigei), WE

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | WE |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+

White Horse (Hakku), WH

+----+----+----+----+----+
| ?  |    | ?  |    |  ? |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    | ?  | ?  |  ? |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | WH |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    | ?  |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+


Errata

  • The same as Shogi rules, but without dropping pieces.
  • The object of the game is to capture your opponent's King and Crown Prince, if he has one.
  • You must have at least a Gold General and King to win. Otherwise, it is a draw.
  • Pieces do not have to promote if they enter the promotion zone (last four ranks), but if they do not the first turn they are able, they must capture a piece before doing so. Afterwards, a piece may promote regardless of whether it has made a capture, as long as it stays in the promotion zone.
  • If a pawn does not promote on the 9th rank it must wait until the 12th before promoting.
  • Pieces may only promote once.

Playing the game

There are many ways to play Chu Shogi on the computer. One way is through Zillions of Games or Shogi Variants, two great programs. Another way is to use a dedicated Java or C program. Any of these may be found at the following website:

http://www.colina.demon.co.uk/chu.html

Actual boards are very hard to come by, but information regarding the boards may be found from the above website.

Sources:
http://www.colina.demon.co.uk/chu.html
http://www.chushogi.org/
http://www.chessvariants.com/

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