Tai Kyoku Shogi (Ultimate Shogi)
Le Tai Kyoku Shogi (Le Shogi Ultime)
This ancient Shogi is even bigger than Tai Shogi. Tai Kyoku Shogi is tremendously enormous with 804 pieces battling over a 36x36 board.
Until recently, it was taken for almost a legend. But now, experts are convinced that he had really existed. Details about its rules have been found. However, there are several inconsistencies which need more work.
The board is a 36X36 grid, with 11 ranks for each player's position. There are 402 pieces in each camp and the players have to remember 300 different moves!
The reconstruction of rules is a work still in progress. Only few elements are known, and among them, many need further clarification.
It seems that contrarily to other very large Shogi variants, promotion was not obtained at first capture but upon reaching any of the opponent's 11 ranks.
Captured pieces are removed from play, there were no drops.
Free Eagle is able to capture without moving (igui) an adjacent square.
Great General, Vice General, Rook General, Bishop General, Violent Dragon, Flying Crocodile are equal to their counterparts in Tenjiku Shogi. The pieces are able to leap over others according to rank. By jumping over any number of lower ranked pieces, including friend and foe, continuing until making a capture. This is the ranking of these pieces:
More will be posted here if the reconstruction progresses.
HISTORY and recent developments:
The Shogi Zushiki, published before the end of the 17th century, mentioned the huge Taikyoku Shogi. The great English specialist, George Hodges affirms that three different sources detail Tai Kyoku Shogi. Not surprisingly it is assumed that priests invented this game too.
Few years ago (1999), raw scans from Sekai no Shogi by Isao Umebayashi, a Japanese book about Shogi variants, published in 1997 by Shogi Tengokusha were made available on the Internet. They correspond to 34 pages in Japanese giving diagrams and some explanations of the moves of the various pieces. What were the author's sources is not known.
Those pages have been translated into English, studied and commented by a group of enthusiast players who are active on the "Shogivar" club on Yahoo. The work has been compiled by L. Lynn Smith with essential contributions from Patrick Davin, Luke Merrit, Colin Paul Adams, Michael Vanier and others in discussion groups. This page has mainly be constructed from their results and there are deeply acknowledged.
Finally, on June 19, 2003, George Hodges sent an important message to the Yahoo club which deserves to be published here:
Retrouvez l'histoire du Taikyoku Shôgi,
mais aussi ses règles et ses stratégies dans
Many thanks to Patrick Davin, L. Lynn Smith, Luke Merrit, George Hodges, and others from whom I borrowed all elements presented here.
Tai Kyoku Shogi: an impressive close view