Shogi is the member of the Chess
family which is most widely played in
Japan. If you look past the surface details, the overall
board plan and movement style is similar to chess; but there are a lot
of interesting details.
The board is
9x9 rather than 8x8. Players start with 20 pieces each, which
are 5-sided and traditionally inscribed with Kanji
characters. (At Boardspace, the default pieces are labeled
with westernized images, but the traditional set is also available.).
The pieces have other unusual characteristics
. Most of the pieces can be promoted, and
become more powerful, when they reach the 7'th rank. The most
unusual feature is that captured pieces are not "out of the game" as in
chess, but can be returned to the game by dropping them almost anywhere
on the board. Where Chess trades down and
simplifies, Shogi becomes ever more complex as captured pieces
parachute into the middle of the fray.
similar to Chess.
Complete rules can be found here.