Shogi Game, originally uploaded by Erik Anderson

My dad taught me chess at a young age. I haven't played a full game for many years, but I recently brought a board to work to set up endgame problems on my desk. I like to puzzle through them when I need a break, and a few of my coworkers have taken a crack at the solutions too.

Once I got my chess skills dusted off again, I learned to play Shogi, or "Japanese Chess." After a few games, I actually prefer it to chess for a few reasons, including:
  1. Promotion rules: nearly all pieces can be "upgraded," which makes promotion a major part of the strategy.
  2. Capture and drop: pieces you capture, instead of being permanently removed from play, can be returned to the board under your control.
  3. Quick endgame: it is much easier to put the king into checkmate, which can be one of the most frustrating and drawn-out parts of playing chess.
There's a free applet to play Shogi online here. After watching a few videos from Hidetchi's "How to Play Shogi" series on YouTube, I can reliably win in games against the server. The next step is to find some real live opponents to play against. Who wants to give it a try?

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