How to play Shogi (Japanese Chess)

Learn the rules to the board game Shogi quickly and concisely – This video has no distractions, just the rules.

Don’t own the game?
USA – buy it here:
Canada – buy it here:
UK – buy it here:
(These Amazon Affiliate links directly supports me)

The object of the game is to capture your opponent’s King. Setup. Layout the board. Each player sets out their pieces so the pointed end faces towards their opponent. All pieces start with the black side up and are arranged in the following order: Pawns are placed across the 3rd row. On the second row, place the Bishop on the second space in from the left and the Rook on the second space in from the right. On the bottom row, going from left to right, the order is: Lance, Knight, Silver General, Gold General, King, Gold General, Silver General, Knight, Lance. The opposing King will have an extra mark differentiating it. Pick a player to go first, then turns alternate.

On your turn, you must move 1 piece or drop 1 piece. The King can move 1 space in any direction. The Gold General can move 1 space in any direction except diagonally backwards. The Silver General can move one space diagonally in any direction or one space forward. The Knight can jump 1 space forward then 1 space diagonally forward. The Knight is the only piece allowed to jump over other pieces in its path. The Lance can move any number of free spaces forward. The Bishop can move any number of free spaces in any diagonal direction. The Rook can move any number of free spaces forward, backward, left, or right. A Pawn can only move 1 space forward.

Each player has a promotion zone on the farthest third of the board, the 3 rows that their opponent’s pieces started on. If a piece moves into, out of, or within the promotion zone, the player may choose to promote the piece at the end of the turn. Promotion is indicated by turning the piece over after a move, showing its promoted value, typically the red side.

The promoted Silver General, promoted Knight, promoted Lance, and the promoted Pawn can move as a Gold General, 1 space in any direction except diagonally backwards. The promoted Bishop can move any number of free spaces in any diagonal direction or 1 space forwards, backwards, left, or right. The promoted Rook can move any number of free spaces forward, backward, left, or right; or 1 space in any diagonal direction.

If a piece reaches the far side of the board so that it would no longer have a legal move on future turns, it must be promoted. Pieces remain promoted until they are captured.

Your pieces may not share a space with another piece but instead capture the first opponent’s piece they move into. Captured pieces are removed from the board and placed on the capturer’s side of the table in plain view of both players.

On your turn, instead of moving a piece, you may choose to add 1 of the pieces you have captured onto any vacant space on the board. This is called dropping a piece. The piece is always dropped with its un-promoted value face up. You may not drop a Pawn onto a column which already contains one of your unpromoted Pawns, but you are allowed to if that Pawn was promoted. A Pawn may not be dropped to give immediate checkmate, however, other pieces may be dropped to give immediate checkmate. No piece may be dropped onto a space from which it will have no possible future moves. If you drop a piece on the promotion zone, your piece does not get promoted until it moves on a future turn.

When your King is able to be captured during your opponent’s next turn it is called being in “check”. When your King is in check you must protect it and get it out of check. If it is impossible to save the King, then it is called checkmate. The first player to checkmate their opponent’s King, wins.


  1. I dont understand. Captured pieces can be placed ABYWHERE? you can just place all captured pieces right next to enemy king?

  2. I never thought it would have so many similarities to chess. Except many orders of magnitude more complex xd

  3. The rules are the same as Chess, except:
    • The board is 9×9, with your starting area being 9×3. 9 Pawns (歩兵) on the front row, a Bishop (角行) 1 space away from the left end of the middle row, a Rook (飛車) 1 space away from the right end of the middle row, and the following pieces from the center outward in the bottom row: King (王 or 玉), Gold (金), Silver (銀), Knight (桂馬), Lance (香車).
    • Captured pieces can be placed down in arbitrary places as your own piece. However, 2 Pawns may not occupy the same column.
    • Pawns do not move 2 spaces or capture en passant.
    • Knights can only move forward 2 and sideways 1.
    • Unique piece types: Lances move forward any number of unobstructed spaces. Silver moves 1 space forward or diagonally. Gold moves 1 space orthogonally or forward-and-diagonally.
    • Promotion: Your opponent’s home 9×3 area is the promotion zone. When a piece moves into, within, or out of the zone (Placing down a captured piece does not count.), the piece has the choice to flip over to its red side and promote, unless the piece cannot normally move anymore, then it MUST promote.
    • Most pieces promote to a Gold. On top of their existing moves, Rooks and Bishops gain the ability to move like a King.
    • No castling.

  4. Wonderful presentation. Applause from Bao Electronic Game-The African Bao in digital format.

  5. I live in Japan, own a shogi set, would love to play with others. I hope this ruleset tells me enough and I remember so that I don't get confused, because my Japanese is only middling and there's tons of places communication could get tricky.

  6. the last step, of course, is remembering that Akari asked you to buy scallions and ketchup on your way back from the shogi center so she can cook an omelette for you

    man, i should rewatch Sangatsu

  7. Once all the pieces are down I have no idea what I'm looking at lol. I think this is why chess uses shapes rather than characters

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.