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Japanese Chess: The Game of Shogi Paperback – April 10, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Invaluable as a guide for beginners and as a review for seasoned players." —The Oriental Econoist

About the Author

Trevor Leggett rose to the rank of fourth dan in shogi, a major achievement since first dan is considered excellent for an amateur. He is the author of Zen and the Ways.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; 1 edition (April 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4805310367
  • ISBN-13: 978-4805310366
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is my first review of a book at Amazon, but I was moved to write because this book does not deserve the three star rating given by the only other reviewer. While it is true that (until recently) this was the only book in English about Shogi, it is in my opinion a much better introduction than most beginning books on chess. Trevor starts with the rules of chess, and quickly converts that knowledge into how the pieces move in Shogi, adding info where needed. Then he offers an (admittedly brief) introduction to two different opening styles (like King's pawn vs Queen's pawn openings if you will). He uses the game with mistakes as an illustration because, as a beginner, one learns more from mistakes than from flawless master-level play. I have lived in Japan now for four years and have had ample opportunity to see such high-level play -- it baffles me. Still, with this book, I have turned my chess skills into a moderate level Shogi game. I've even won a few games against some friends. In the end, this book hooked me on Shogi. It is a great game, and this book does much to take you from beginner to moderate player (I recommend a computer game to help you learn too)
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Format: Paperback
The Japanese play Chess as enthusiastically as we play golf, but Japanese Chess, or Shogi, is quite unlike Chess. At first glance, Shogi bears no resemblance whatsoever to Chess. The 9x9 board is uncheckered and is marked with dots similar to those on a Go board. The pieces look like little pentagonal arrowheads or wedges, and enemy pieces are distinguished, not by color, but by the direction in which they point. Probably the most intimidating aspect of Shogi is that the pieces' ranks are displayed in Japanese hieroglyphics. The pieces' ranks appear in black on one side, and their promoted value in red on the other side. The pieces are really quite easy to learn, and although Westernized sets abound, the game loses some of its charm when played with pieces marked with English initials and arrows indicating the movement of the pieces.
For almost twenty years, until the publication of John Fairbairn's "Shogi for Beginners," this book served as the only English language introduction to the game. Fairbairn's book is more thorough and gives deeper insight into the game, but Fairbairn's diagrams are in Japanese hieroglyphics. Legget's book uses Westernized symbols which are easier to decipher. Leggett's book also has this advantage over Fairbairn's: It comes with a cardboard punchout Shogi set.
Thus, Fairbairn's book gives better instruction, but Leggett's is more user-friendly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been playing shogi with some friends for a little while, but I really wanted to brush up on my skills and try to develop more advanced techniques. Having read this book, I feel like a more confident shogi player. Mr. Leggett walks through the basics of shogi pieces, with the focus on how to effect mate with those pieces. Then dropping pieces is introduced. From there, Mr. Leggett works the player through basic strategy before showing championship games and the strategies used there.

As an introduction to shogi, I think this book is a good effort, but is somewhat rough around the edges. The does pretty well in walking through the very basics, but starts to jump into advanced strategy without covering mid-level strategy much. Mr. Leggett has many useful mottos and pointers to keep in mind (you need X number of pieces to drop to effect mate, Y number if you have pieces promoted), and some of these have been helpful with my own gameplay. In addition, the basic pointers on how to mate an opponent have actually helped me to win games since reading this book.

My only complaint (hence the 4 stars) is the focus on specific games, and not enough examples of general strategy. Also the length of the book is somewhat brief. I feel that each section could use some more expansion, particularly the later sections.

In any case, I think this is a fine book, and a good read for anyone whose new to shogi, or wants to brush up on their skills. I think this book is good for rounding out one's knowledge of shogi.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son and I learned how to play shogi when we were in Japan. I got this book for my dad so he could also learn and play with my son.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really in-depth. Starts out like you don't have any idea how to play then progresses further on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just a couple of sessions with this book has dramatically improved my game.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really great book to start learning Shogi.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A bit difficult to understand the game. Think the order of the chapters should be rearranged making the moves of the different pieces the top priority. I found the rules of the game so complicated that I gave up reading the book about two thirds of the way through. But I will return to it in the future.
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