Thursday, September 10, 2009

Am I ready?


As the internet is still down, I won't be able to update about AISEP. But right now I would like to talk about my progress that I've prepared for my first tournament this Sunday.

I have been feverishly studying Shogi every night for about two to three hours. However, since this is my last day of class for this week, I would probably WILL spend more than 7 hours studying Shogi. I have been studying Ibisha Anaguma strategies, which is written by Sato Yasumitsu, and also study a few strategies from Akira Watanabe's books. Aside from those, I have been practicing only a few Tsume-Shogi problems, as I am more focused on strategies since Tsume-Shogi are rather easy for me to solve(?). Not only that, I have been re-studying Kin-Yagura Morishita System as I believe that alot of people might be playing Yagura. But I might try to adopt a Gin-Yagura system, if I am up for a good challenge. For tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, I will be spending time studying Yagura and a few ranging rook strategies, probably more focus on mukaibisha (opposing rook), aifuribisha (double ranging rook) and less focus on Ibisha Anaguma, as playing Anaguma has never been my style/forte. Aside from those, I am looking forward to have a Shogi study session with my good friend Xinwen, if he is not too busy with his college assignments.

Okay, I think you all have read enough of my blabbering. So I would like to let everyone read this wonderful piece of advice, which I have taken from my Portugal friend's (Ricardo) website, which gives you tips on improving your Shogi skills. Anyways please be aware that this is only for kyu players, and dan players are not really required to read it.

The ones that I have bolded means that the advice is useful and you must always keep in mind about it.



(If you are more than Shodan, you don't need to read this lecture)

LECTURE NO.1 - Initial Set Up of Playing Shogi
Please don't forget the following manners when you start playing Shogi with your respectful opponent:

1. As long as the traditional culture concerns, we respect the person who has good modesty to the people. Conversation during play is absolutely prohibited.

2. When you will pick up the piece (KOMA), you have to pick up the Gyoku(king with the dot at the side) first. It has very strict rule that lower class person should have Gyoku and upper one takes Ou (king without the dot at the side). we call them both Koma as King. But there are big difference. If the opponent is the same class as you, you can choose either one of both.
(Ryou's Comment: This is important to know if you want to play a respectful game, or paying your respects to your senior players)

3. After you pick up the Gyoku, you will pick up Kin(Gold) and put this Kin to your left-hand side of Gyoku. Next you pick up other Kin and put it right-hand side of Gyoku.

4. Then you take Gin(Silver), Keima(Knight),Kyousha(Lance) in order.

5. After bottom rank is finished, you will take Fu(Pawn) and put this Fu to 5C/5G position. Then you will follow the same way of others.

6. After you finish Fu, you take Kaku(Bishop) and finally you take Hisha(Rook). (We call this way as "OH-HASHI" style).

7. If the handicap is even, you will take 5 Fu (pawn) and swing them inside of your hands and drop them. If Fu appears more than three pcs., the person who was swinging (you) will take Sente(Black). If there are Tokin more than three pcs., your opponent takes Sente. For handicapped game, the upper class persons always take Sente. But scoring should be written as if the lower class were Sente. Eg. 62 Gin, 76 Fu, 53 Fu, 46 Fu (The lower class persons must tell the upper class "ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA' after the game review (actually Koma-Ochi game is teaching) has been finished.
(Ryou's Comment: This process is also known as 'furigoma'. It is always the senior player who do the furigoma to determine who is sente, if I am not mistaken.)

8. After Sente/Gote is decided, both side must mention clearly "ONEGAI SHIMASU!". Then start the game.

9. When you will resign the game, you have to mention very clearly "MAKEMASHITA' or "ARIMASEN'.
(Ryou's Comment: Or you can just put your hands over your captured pieces and bow after your opponent.)

10.Please note Shogi is extremely traditional game and I hope my students in this lecture keeps the above rules very strictly when you will play Shogi game anytime. Because this is traditional beauty.

11. This is the common sense when people will learn Karate or Judo also.

I hope you try to remember at least following few words:
(This is important if you hope to discuss Shogi strategies with Japanese people.)

1. The words of Piece
Original Name - After Promoted
King = Gyoku N onRook = Hisha or Hi Ryu
Bishop = Kaku - Uma
Gold = Kin - None
Silver = Gin - Nari-Gin
Knight = Kei or Keima - Nari-Kei
Lance = Kyo or Kyosha - Nari-Kyo
Pawn = Fu - Tokin or To

2. The words of Movement
I will describe it all in English because ordinal Japanese can understand simple English.

Right - The right-hand side piece moves. (Migi)
Left - The left-hand side piece moves. (Hidari)
Side - The piece moves to side (Yoru)
Up --- The piece moves to up (Agaru)
Down - The piece moves to down (Sagaru)
Straight - The piece moves to straight up.(Sugu)
Back ----- The piece moves to back.(Hiku)

Exception: When you capture the opponent's Koma, we can say Do-Fu, Do-Kyo, Do-Kaku only etc.

Example ; Sente Gote


1. 26 Fu 2. 84 Fu
3. 25 Fu 4. 85 Fu
5. 24 Fu 6. Do-Fu
7. Do-Hi 8. 86 Hi
9. Do-Fu 10. 87 Fu(I don't mention 87 Fu drop )
11. 23 Fu 12. 88 Fu naru
13. Do-Gin 14. 35 Kaku
15. 22 Fu naru 16. Do-Gin
17. 28 Hi 18. 57 Kaku naru
Toryo (resign)

Gote won the game at step

Gin naru ---- Silver promotes
Nari-Gin - Promoted Silver

The numbers on the left is the movement step. International Notation is a kind of Chess method. Shogi never uses such a notation. Every professionals explain that "my step No.28's78 Kyo-Naru was mistake" something like this way. Sente must be odd step number and Gote even numbers. For other special words, you can learn them step by step with me.

The merit of the Japanese Notation
1. You can communicate with any Japanese Ama./Pro. Players by this way very easily. So professionals are easy to teach you. On the other hands, they can not teach you under so called "International" notation.

2. You can read any Japanese Shogi books after you study a few more Kanji characters. If you already play by actual Kanji Koma, you don't need to study more. This is all.

3. What I want all of you is to become SHODAN (1-dan) as soon as possible. You can learn all necessary formula from books. I believe you can surely do it after a few lectures of mine to get the black belt within 3-4 years.

4. I and other members on other famous Shogi page will use this kind of notation under the recommendation of JSA.

5. If you can write your score (Kifu) completely, I can give you Class 4 strength at least. Class 4 means that you can beat me under the handicap of two pcs (without Hisha and Kaku) for all the games. If you can play Blind game, you are already becoming 2 dan or more.
(Ryou's Comment: This is not true, regarding the part about you having a Class 4 strength if you can write your own kifu. But I think it is true that you have a 2-dan strength if you can play a complete blind-Shogi game.)

6. In order to confirm your strength, we play together in new JAVA Shogi server, where you can know your real strength by playing with many of us. Unfortunately, nobody can use the"International" notation there. So to review your scores, we need to study this format. Otherwise, other strong amateurs or professionals can not give you any good suggestions even if they know how to write good English to you. Very few Japanese Player can write you with International notation.

JAVA Shogi Server:

(Ryou's Comment: Other recommended Shogi servers: Playok [], ShogiDojo24 [])

New JAVA Shogi functions Kifu Records, Handi-Capped games etc.

If you really respect our culture and love SHOGI, Please study one hour to remember all the necessary words for above for your lifetime Shogi Hobby. If you don't have anytime to study them now, please just print this out and when you will be confused, you just refer it please.This is technical part but real good Shogi players respect the opponent with good manner and gentle modesty. Needless to say, you can not be so glad when you win the game in front of your opponent. Instead, you have to give and show your opponent very deep sympathy because he or she really would like to cry by losing the game. If your time allows for the review of the game, you have to consider with your opponent very carefully and try to find out any method that opponent could win if he or she moved with other way. This is gentlemen Shogi-Ship.

Frankly speaking, to be stronger or weaker is not so much important in Shogi. The attitude of the game create your own beauty and people will like you more. On the other hands, all strong Ama/Pro Players are strictly keeping good attitude for Shogi Play all the time without exception. This is the hint to be a skillful player. If you can not keep the way I mentioned all above, you are not qualified to be a skillful Shogi Player. It is very easy if you can think of the people's mind. You can also enter into "ZEN" world through Shogi later.

Anyway, please enjoy Shogi more.
(Ryou's Comment: This is the most important point of all the advices given. If you're only concern about winning and losing all the time, but instead did not try to enjoy Shogi even if you did lose, you're not qualify to call yourself a Shogi player.)

Best regards,
Dick Iwakura
Hong Kong Shogi Club

I hope this has been helpful to all beginner players. =)

Ryou Takehito

Monday, September 7, 2009

Get Ready for the First War!


internet is still down so I can't really update about AISEP. Anyways here's a small update that I think Malaysia Shogi players should be interested.

In this coming Sunday (13th September 2009), there is going to be a Shogi Festival held in 'Japan Club Kuala Lumpur', which is prepared by Japanese. Kenji Kobayashi, a 9-dan professional Shogi player from Japan, will be making his appearance. Here's a small summary of the event:

Shogi Festival
Date: 13th September 2009
Time: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Location: 'Japan Club Kuala Lumpur', Fuji Room
Detailed Location: No. 2, Jalan 1/86, Off Jalan Taman Seputeh, 58000, Kuala Lumpur
Extra Info Location: it's just a small walk from Midvalley, roughly about 5 minutes.

1. Knockout Tournament with adult and child category
2. A talk by Kenji Kobayashi, 9-dan professional Shogi player
3. Strength evaluation by Kenji Kobayashi
4. Free Dinner?

If there is any Malaysians who love Shogi and would like to meet professional Shogi player, this is your chance to do so! Shogi Festival is only held once per year so if you miss this, you might have a hard time joining this event again!

Since there is going to be a Shogi tournament, I'm going to work hard for this week and hope I can achieve great results! =) I gotta work hard! Gambatte!

Ryou Takehito

PS: If you are unfamiliar with the location of the building, I am glad to show you the way from Midvalley. So please make sure to leave your name and e-mail down in my comments so I can personally contact you regarding 'our meeting'.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Internet Down ='(


In case you're wondering why I haven't been update, my internet has been down (it was struck by lightning) and right now I'm using a poor internet connection in college.

Nothing much except I have been solving 5-move Tsume-Shogi in college and learn a few Joseki books regarding Anaguma and Yagura.

I will update my post about AISEP 2009 as soon as the internet is back.

Ryou Takehito