Shogi is similar to chess but there are a few key differences. For exampale, the board is 9x9, you can drop pieces back on to the board that you took from the other player, and there are many uniqe pieces. However the goal is still to checkmate the opponent's king. Which is to make the king unable to move and also in check. If your king is in check you must move out of it unless you are in check mate, then you lose.

How Pieces Move

There are 8 different pieces in Shogi
They are:

  1. Pawn
  2. Knight
  3. Lance
  4. Silver General
  5. Gold General
  6. Bishop
  7. Rook
  8. King/Jeweled General

These pieces are ordered from least value to most value. The king is worth the most not because it is powerful, but because the goal of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king.

Board setup

A Shogi board with the far side fliped on to the promoted side.
Fig.1 - a Shogi board photographed by Tamago915 License

The first row of the board (the row closest to you) is lance, knight, silver, gold, king, gold, silver, knight, lance. The second row has a bishop in front of the knight on the left, and a rook in front of the knight on the right. All of the other spaces are empty. Finaly, the third row is all pawns.

Piece Movment

A Shogi piece, a 3d pentagon that that has two sides that are pointing slightly inward towards the point.
Fig.2 - Blank Shogi piece

Pawn (Foot Soldier)

The pawn can move one space forward. Unlike chess, the pawn takes directly forward to. Also, it can not move two spaces on its first turn.

Knight (Cassia Horse)

The knight moves two space forward and then one to the left or right. It can not do this in any any other direction and it always has to move forward two spaces first. it is also the only piece that is able to move over other pieces when it moves. It does not take after moving 2 spaces forward, only after moving left or right.

Lance (Incense Chariot)

The lance can move any number of spaces forward that it wants, but it can't go over other pieces, so it must take them or stop. You can't take your own pieces. the lance is never alowed to go backwards or sideways.

Silver General

The Silver General is one of the most complicated pieces. It's movement is most simalar to a king, exept it can not move to the sides, or directly backwards. So it can only move forward one space, or one space in any of the diagonals.

Gold General

The Gold General is also very complicated. It can move like a king but it can not move to the diagonals backwards. So it can move one space forward backward or to the sides, or one space on the front diagonals. the front of the piece is the end with a point.

Bishop (Angle Mover)

The bishop moves the exact same as a bishop in chess. Which is any number of spaces it along the diagonals. It can not move over pieces, it must take them or stop. You can not take your own pieces.

Rook (Flying Chariot)

The rook moves the exact same as a rook in chess but you can not castle. The Rook moves any number of spaces it wants to forward, backward, or to the sides.

King General/Jeweled General

The King/Jeweled moves the exact same as a king in chess. Which is one space in any direction.

Jeweled General

The Jeweled General is the exact same as the King General. there is just one King general and one Jewel General in a set of Shogi pieces. The younger player will play the Jeweled General most of the time.


Minor and Metal Pieces

When a piece reachs the opponent camp, the the three rows oposite of you, it promots unless it is a Gold General or King General/Jeweled General. Pawns, Knights, Lances, and Silvers All promote into pieces that move like a gold general. A promoted Pawn is called a tokin, a promoted Knight is called a Promoted Knight, a promoted Lance is called a Promoted Lance and the same for Silver General.

Major Pieces

The major pieces are the rook and bishop. These are the most powerful pieces and are mostly used for attacking. the bishop promotes into a dragon horse, it moves the same as a bishop but it can also move one space up, to the sides, and down. The Rook promotes into a dragon king, whitch moves the same as a rook but it can move one space diaganal right forward, right backward, left forward, left backward.


A drop is when you insted of moving a piece, you put a piece that you took from you opponet back on the board. there are a few rules that go along with this.