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Let’s Play Shogi!

Traditional Japanese Games
June 30, 2018

What is shogi?

Shogi (将棋) is a Japanese variant of the chess family of games. Commonly it’s referred to in the West as “Japanese chess”. The direct ancestor of shogi is believed to be the Chinese xiang qi that was brought to Japan by ancient Japanese official diplomatic delegations in the 8th century, and the game became localized since then. Old shogi pieces excavated at a detached palace dating from the middle ages shows that the rules became quite similar to the current style by the 14th century. The rules codified in 1636 are the same as those we play nowadays.

The game involves two players using 20 pieces each to checkmate (ie: trap) the opponent’s king piece on a 9 x 9 squares board. What makes shogi unique amongst its brother chess games is the “drop” or “parachute” rule. This move allows a player to deploy and control pieces that were captured from an opponent in previous turns. The promotion rule in shogi is also more strategic than in regular chess.

About this workshop

Led by Christopher Adams and Shuma Matsumoto, members of the Sydney Shogi Club, this workshop is for children aged 6 and above, as well as adults who have little or no experience in playing shogi. While knowledge of Western chess rules is an advantage, it is not necessary.

In the first hour, you will learn shogi rules and do some tsume-shogi (詰将棋) which are exercises in finding the shortest moves to a checkmate. Playing an actual game with another participant will happen in the second hour. Instructions will be given in English, however, Japanese-language assistance will be also available throughout the sessions.

About Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is a regular member of the Sydney Shogi Club. Born in Australia Chris learned chess at a young age and experimented with different variants during high school including Thai chess, checkers & igo. Chris learned about shogi later in life at the age of 25 and was enamored with the “Drop Rule”, castles & overall complexity of the game. Soon after, he joined the Sydney Shogi Club with a very basic understanding of the game and an imported beginners set. Almost a year later Chris attained 4-kyu (a player skill grading) and all members were quite invigorated by his improvement. Currently he enjoys playing and teaching to kids in the club in order to expand shogi Australia wide. His favourite shogi piece is 玉 (the king).

About Shuma Matsumoto

Shuma Matsumoto is the organizer of the Sydney Shogi Club. Born and raised in Japan Shuma moved to Australia at the age of 19. Shuma played shogi often as a child with his friends and uncle to great success but struggled to win against his father, that was until highschool where after many years of attempts Shuma was able to win a game against his father. After moving to Australia Shuma soon discovered that here shogi was an extremely niche activity and found very few opportunities to play. For nearly 10 years during which Shuma graduated Uni & began working in the IT industry he slowly began playing shogi again. He started by posting ads online searching for people interested in playing/learning shogi and thus began the Sydney Shogi Club. Now the Sydney Shogi Club has more than 30 members playing in person and via apps. This year the Sydney Shogi Club achieved two milestones in receiving an offer to teach shogi to Japanese Children and in joining the World Shogi League. His favourite shogi piece is 飛車 (the rook).


June 30, 2018 (Saturday)

Morning Session: 10am-12pm
Afternoon Session: 2pm-4pm
Both sessions cover the same content.

The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway
Chippendale NSW 2008

Free. Limited capacity; RSVPs essential.
Children aged 12 or younger must be accompanied at all times by an adult guardian.

(02) 8239 0055

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