The Way of Tori Shogi

 

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A Book by Dave Brandl and Bill Croke. A sample excerpt of the 1st 14 pages. To find out more, go to www.torishogi.com. Here, in the space of just about 100 pages you'll find a complete description of the game of Tori Shogi, and much more.

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the way of tori shogi by dave brandl and bill croke a comprehensive volume on the history strategies and openings for one of the most exciting and challenging japanese variants of chess featuring a unique parallel analysis for learning the game through the eyes of miyamoto musashi legendary 17th century japanese strategist swordsman artist and author of the book of five rings.

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i c 2013 dave brandl and bill croke all rights reserved board diagrams were generated using steve evans shogi variants software program the tori shogi piece diagrams were created by chris jackson the way of tori shogi 2

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contents 1 2 foreword 5 introduction 7 miyamoto musashi 7 for the chess player 8 for the shogi player 8 approach to the book of five rings 9 our thanks 9 3 the earth book 11 the principle of strategy 11 the strategy of tori shogi 11 timing in strategy 12 4 the water book 15 the advantage of weapons in strategy 15 the weapons of tori shogi 16 5 the fire book 31 about place 31 three ways to engage the enemy 33 the bystander has the best view of the game 34 historical example games 37 openings 40 1830 ichihara koheiji v kita keiji game 43 1991 english championship tournament game 51 middle game tactics 64 building castles or not 64 2011 bear in the hole game 66 musashi s 25 strategies 74 6 the wind book 79 chess 79 shogi 80 chu shogi 83 mini shogi 83 makruk 84 xiangqi 85 changgi 86 sumo 86 7 8 the void book 87 appendixes 89 from marco polo to tori shogi 89 japanese phrases 93 acknowledgements 95 game board and pieces 97 the way of tori shogi 3

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the way of tori shogi 4

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1 foreword i was very flattered to be asked by bill and dave to write a short foreword to this fascinating book and i m extremely happy to oblige them i first became interested in shogi in about 1966 when my judo instructor returned from a trip to japan with a shogi set and an address in the uk where sets could be bought from george hodges who did so much to popularize shogi in europe over the next 25 years or so my interest waxed and waned according to the other things i was doing in about 1992 i managed to exert myself to the extent of creating an experimental shogi web page the internet and the world wide web were both pretty new at that time while doing this i became aware of the existence of the shogi variants including tori shogi and surprise surprise george hodges had a set and a descriptive brochure for sale i bought them both now having a board and pieces and a set of rules isn t much help in learning about a completely unfamiliar board game which is played by only a few people so the equipment languished on a shelf for 20 years until suddenly dave and bill produced this wonderful little book at a time when i had both the time and the inclination to look at the game in more detail here in the space of just about 100 pages is a complete description of the game of tori shogi an introduction to the strategy of playing the game and a selection of complete games for the new player to study not only that we also gain insights into the history of chess japanese and european learn about the history of the silk road and are enlightened about the philosophy of the way of life of the samurai warrior via the text of the book of five rings wonderful this is the first comprehensive description of tori shogi published in english and may well be the first serious book in any language i believe i m correct in saying that the japanese don t really play the game this is a fascinating and invaluable book and has already found a place in my library of shogi books it should be of interest to any shogi enthusiast and to all players of strategic board games roger hare march 2013 the way of tori shogi 5

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2 introduction if you re reading this book then you are probably familiar with chess or shogi or both so with those classic and timeless games available why would you be interested in tori shogi what s the story behind this unusual board setup what makes it so different that you would be interested in learning about it tori shogi has several unique aspects to it different from chess and different from shogi too we will be delighted to explain and we ll do it in a unique manner borrowing the approach and framework of miyamoto musashi s the book of five rings when speaking of any chess variant in this book the word chess in lower case will be used when speaking of specifically western-style chess or international chess chess with a capital c will be used other variants will use their own terms such as xiangqi chinese chess changgi korean chess and makruk thai chess shogi is really a family of japanese chess games nearly two dozen variants have been identified over the past few hundred years for the purposes of this book however shogi with no other words added will refer to the modern variant played on a 9x9 board with 20 pieces per side miyamoto musashi miyamoto musashi 1584-1645 is considered one of japan s sword saints kensei and perhaps its greatest swordsman and strategist from a very young age he fought in battles and won many duels his new style led him to create a separate school of swordsmanship and he wrote almost as much on personal conduct as on strategy he laid down his principles of strategy in the book of five rings while living out the last months of his life as a hermit in a cave musashi embodies the japanese ideal that strategy is an aesthetic judgment he was a craftsman artisan and painter the picture to the right is a self-portrait he was an excellent example of the samurai concept of bun bu ryo do the pen and the sword in accord his works have become important guides to modern business in japan where the word for swordsman and strategist is the same the way of tori shogi 7

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because of their positions and elite status educated samurai of this period would have been familiar with some variant of shogi since strategy lies at the heart of all chess we have turned to musashi as our guide to this uniquely japanese game all quotations are attributed to miyamoto musashi unless otherwise indicated for the chess player take from others everything they have and use it to your advantage in chess when you capture a piece it is removed from the game here is a major attraction for chess players in tori shogi as in shogi when you capture an opponent s piece it is not out of the game rather it becomes a piece in hand that you can drop utsu just about anywhere on the board during your turn instead of moving a piece on the board over the centuries the japanese have developed many variants of shogi most have captured pieces removed from the board for the rest of the game as with chess the use of drops uchi in tori shogi and shogi is unique for the medium and large-sized board variants for the shogi player fixation is the way to death fluidity is the way to life shogi generally requires up to a dozen or more moves before either side is in a position to capture an opponent s piece with the exception of certain openings chess may require at least half as many shogi students carefully study and memorize joseki standard openings chess players likewise study and memorize fixed standard openings by contrast tori shogi begins with an immediate capture-or-be-captured situation where either side can capture an opponent s piece on the very first move fluidity that is adaptation is a core element of tori shogi fixation on any standard openings in tori shogi simply doesn t exist there is conflict from the very beginning and each player must adapt immediately the way of tori shogi 8

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approach to the book of five rings musashi s the book of five rings actually contains five books which we employed as a framework for this book musashi defined five key elements of his way using the five shinto elements of earth water fire wind and the void one of our unexpected delights in writing this book was the adventure into the aesthetics and cultural aspects of the japanese particularly during the time of the game s creation we hope we reflected those faithfully the earth book this is musashi s general discussion of strategy his universal concept of strategy in all things and his introduction to the rest of the books in the earth book musashi presents definitions of strategy and the importance he places on the use of strategy in everyday life from warrior to merchant to housewife we will similarly include strategy in general and the strategy of tori shogi specifically along with a brief history of the game s development the water book in the water book musashi describes various weapons he speaks of their strengths and weaknesses and how each tool/weapon may be used to its best advantage we describe the tori shogi pieces their meanings how they move and their strengths and weaknesses the fire book in musashi s book he defines his strategies for fighting we will similarly look at openings and strategies for tori shogi this section also includes annotated and diagrammed games discussions about building castles and other ways to approach the game along with references to musashi s 25 strategies for fighting the wind book musashi uses this book to speak of other schools and disciplines that existed during his lifetime he looked at their strengths and weaknesses and compared them to his own disciplines we will address chess variants found around the world and how familiarity with them may be applied to playing tori shogi the void book this is musashi s most enigmatic book it is the shortest and speaks in very esoteric terms it is also the longest book in terms of becoming a doorway to a lifetime study of strategy and from our perspective a study of tori shogi our thanks so much of tori shogi and even shogi has been popularized in the western world as a result of the hard work of some key people we want to thank those folks who came before us and helped fuel our passion and interest in this game and also who the way of tori shogi 9

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supplied many of the materials we used for reference our sincerest thanks go out to george and angela hodges roger hare john fairbairn steve evans phil holland and david c courtney additional materials on each of these people can be found in the appendixes the way of tori shogi 10

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3 the earth book strategy is the art of the warrior commanders must utilize this art and fighters must be familiar with it the principle of strategy the above quote by musashi contains the first lines from the book of five rings musashi believed that the elements of strategy are present in any occupation swordsman merchant carpenter or housewife he also believed that strategy could be applied to any area with hope for a better success and that such an approach was warranted by every individual regardless of their profession strategy is also the single concept most often applied to the variants of chess that are recognized throughout the world the quest for the perfect strategy is what draws people to play chess the preparation the plans the mental sparring with an opponent and ultimately the creation of a combination of moves that brings about victory is central to the love of chess musashi was not the only person to take analytical thinking to such an intense level in 1905 cho-yo in his book titled japanese chess the science and art of war or struggle states that the purpose of chess is to aim at reaching the highest training of mind for the settlement of struggles whatsoever conceivable by man making them welcome and pleasure to himself he described the study of chess which he termed chessology as pure intellect and knowledge rendered into visible symbols of all human struggle-elements in describing the learning of shogi cho-yo further states that anyone already knowledgeable about chess would be able fairly to play the japanese within half an hour or less and soon to make himself pare his former self in his mind the fundamentals of chess are so universal that anyone comfortably familiar with any world variant of the game would be able to learn another variant quite rapidly the strategy of tori shogi the wisdom of strategy is unique why was tori shogi invented at all with the complexity and challenges of shogi as it is what was it lacking what elements of strategy were missing so that tori shogi came into being from a shogi master listed below are some of the attributes of tori shogi that make it unique among virtually all chess variants · · there is the immediate conflict pieces are able to capture each other from the first move the pieces are named after birds instead of the usual symbols of military figures and weapons the way of tori shogi 11

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· · · there are radically different movements of the pieces even compared to other variants of shogi there are asymmetrical pieces that move differently depending on which side of the board they begin up to two swallows the tori shogi equivalent of pawns are allowed on each file beginning at the initial setup timing in strategy in all skills and abilities there is timing in all chess play there is timing it is often said that the player who moves first in any chess variant has a slight edge in timing also known as initiative as play progresses a player may gain an edge where they can make a move and the opponent may need two moves to catch up for the purpose of this book we will use the following timing terms · initiative there are two classic definitions of initiative o having the first move in chess that means playing white gote in the shogi family of games it is playing the black pieces sente historically having the first move doesn t statistically work out to winning significantly more games some studies have shown only about a 2 higher winning margin for the player moving first 51 to 49 but it can have a psychological advantage another definition of initiative is being able to make threats that cannot be ignored thus forcing the opponent into making a responding move to a threat rather than making an attacking or developing move o · tempo gaining a tempo in both chess and shogi is defined as getting a move ahead achieving a position in one fewer moves or causing the opponent to take more moves to achieve a position timing the sequence of events as played out by the players the order of certain moves can be a powerful influence in the timing of play if the moves are not played in the correct order an attack may fail even with enough pieces and power momentum having a buildup of tempos where each move a player makes adds another tempo and removes advantages the opponent may have · · timing in the history of shogi and tori shogi there is timing in the development of the game following is a timeline of the known history of shogi according to our best research this timeline identifies the years involved and other events and historic periods that may have played important parts in the development of the games of shogi and tori shogi 794 1185 ca 1126 1130 heian period of japanese history heian dai shogi and heian sho shogi mentioned in nichureki note some sources list the date as 1230 the way of tori shogi 12

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1185 1333 1271 1292 ca 1300 1336 1573 ca 1350 ca 1443 kamakura period of japanese history marco polo s travels to the orient sho shogi and dai shogi mentioned in futsu shodoshu muromachi period of japanese history chu shogi middle shogi mentioned in yugaku orai dai dai shogi maka dai dai shogi and tai shogi mentioned in shogi rokushu no zushiki note while some sources date the shogi rokushu no zushiki from the 15th century the formal publication date is recorded as 1811 modern chess established queen and bishop added modern shogi established bishop rook and drops added drunken elephant removed azuchi-momoyama period of japanese history lifetime of miyamoto musashi edo period of japanese history wa shogi developed first professional sumo bout lifetime of ohashi soei tori shogi first published tori shogi republished accompanied by a tournament among notable shogi players playing tori shogi commodore matthew perry arrives in japan begins trade relations between japan and the united states ending japan s 200-year ban against foreign traders boshin war involving the last true samurai battles emperor meiji abolishes the samurai s right to be the only armed force in japan three years later the samurai lost the right to wear their swords in public george hodges brings shogi to the western world england europe and the united states publishing shogi magazine in 1976 introducing shogi tori shogi and chu shogi to his readers and providing sets of these games to interested players ca 1480 ca 1557 1568 1603 1584 1645 1603 1860 late 1600s 1684 1756 1809 1799 1830 1853 1867 -1869 1873 1970s the person or persons who invented tori shogi are generally accepted to be ohashi soei the 9th lifetime grandmaster meijin of shogi and/or toyota genryu his student different schools of thought attribute the game s creation to one or the other in this book when we refer to the developers inventors and/or minds behind tori shogi we shall use the designation of os/tg in honor of both men the way of tori shogi 13

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