Kyoto shogi

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Kyoto shogi (京都将棋 kyōto shōgi "Kyoto chess") is a modern variant of shogi (Japanese chess). It was invented by Tamiya Katsuya c. 1976.

Kyoto shogi is played like standard shogi, but with a reduced number of pieces on a 5×5 board. However, the pieces alternately promote and demote with every move, and the promotion values are entirely different from standard shogi.

Rules of the game

Game equipment

Two players play on a board ruled into a grid of 5 ranks (rows) by 5 files (columns). The squares are undifferentiated by marking or color.

Each player has a set of 5 wedge-shaped pieces, of slightly different sizes. From largest to smallest (most to least powerful) they are:

  • 1 king
  • 1 gold general
  • 1 silver general
  • 1 tokin
  • 1 pawn

The names of the pieces combine their promoted and unpromoted values, and are puns in Japanese for words with the same pronunciations but different kanji. For example, the lance/tokin is homonymous with the name of the city 京都 Kyoto, and provides the name of the game.


Each side places his pieces in the positions shown below, pointing toward the opponent.

  • In the rank nearest the player:
    • The king (K) is placed in the center file.
    • The gold general (G) is placed in the adjacent files to the right of the king.
    • The silver general (S) is placed in the adjacent files to the left of the king.
    • The tokin (T) is placed in the left corner.
    • The pawn (P) is placed in the right corner.

That is, the first rank...
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