How to read an instruction of Shogi

Hi, everyone. Before beginning articles about Shogi instruction, I need to write about how to read them, for they are written in a little bit special way you need to learn.

Generally, Shogi figures like the one under this are used.

Terms for understanding Shogi instructions

The figure above this is one often used to explain the situation of a Shogi game.

You need to remember some terms to understand this. I want you, the readers of this article to be able to understand the figure by yourself. So I will introduce you some Japanese words to do so. Inside parentheses are English translation of Shogi terms.

駒(a piece)

The term “駒” means a peace you can move. Initially, you have 20 pieces including 9 歩(a Pawn), 1 角(a bishop), 1 飛(a rook), 2 香(a lance), 2桂(a night), 2銀(a Silver genaral), 2金(a Gold general) and 1 玉 or 王(a king).

持ち駒(a captured piece/a hand)

Differing from chess, you can use pieces you captured(as  持ち駒/ captured pieces). You can put your captured pieces any place you want.


You seem to recognize the word, “なし”,  written in mysterious kind of characters by the right and left sides of the figure. This word means “You don’t have  any captured pieces.”

▲ and △(first move and second move)

The pentagons written above and the word “なし” are often transposed by ▲ and △. The black one means “The player move his/her piece first in initial situation.” The white one means “The player move his/her piece second.”

How to read a record of a game.

Next, let’s see one situation of Shogi.

This is the mid-situation of one of the tactics of Shogi called “Yokohudori”, side pawn capture. It is called so because the first move player captures the pawn at left side of the rook. I can write a awfully long article about this tactics, but I won’t do it in this article.

By the way, you will be able to understand what the situation is at the moment of the figure.(even if you can’t judge which player is predominant.)

But you can’t know how each player has moved his/her pieces until the situation of the figure only by looking it. Solution for this problem is “棋譜(kifu)”, a record of the game.

Only one looking is superior to thousands of explaining, so let’s look one.


▲ or △ display which player move his/her piece, and next arabic numeral is the number of file of place he/she moved the piece. Next mysterious character is Kanji(Chinese character which is also used in Japan)-numeral showing the rank of place. And the final character represents which piece you moved or dropped.

Ex. ▲7六歩 means you moved 歩(which had been at file 7 and rank 7 place.)to the file 7 and rank 6 place.

It takes not so short time to be able to read this smoothly, but this ability is necessary for growing up your Shogi skill.

After learning about a record of the game, we will eventually try some tactics!

Thank you for reading!


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