Play at 81dojo. You will like it!

When I play Shogi online, I usually play at PlayOK. This site is based on the experience I gained at PlayOK (At the time, the site used to be called Kurnick) Recently I was introduced to another site, 81Dojo. The site is a spinoff of the 81SquareUniverse, one of the busiest English based Shogi site. 81Dojo is architected by Hidetch, the Youtube shogi video fame, so this could not be bad but I was pleasantly surprised at few of the features this site provides. What I like about the site board’s UI. (in no particular order) Rich graphic representation of shogi board and pieces Pieces on hand is graphically displayed. This is much closer to real board experience, compared to the way PlayOK shows those pieces (symbol with numbers in a table). You can play komaochi, or handycap game in non-rated games. The best feature is the ability to be able to replay and evaluate your moves and then play “what if I/you made this move” movements. Observers can also suggests other moves graphically. I believe this is a very good way to improve your shogi skill set. A Big shortcoming of the 81dojo currently is participation. They need more people playing on this site so the player can find a partner with similar skill level. Once the site gets its popularity though, This site could be easily the best online shogi experience.

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39? 4649? What are they?

In recent weeks, we have seen a surge of new Shogi players in PlayOK.  As it turned out, has ceased its service of Shogi game site.  So there are many Japanese players now playing at PlayOK.  That is a good thing.  However, I have seen some of those players uses the abbrebiation such as "39" and "4649"  I am sure that non-japanese speakers can not understand.  So here, I am going to decypher those two numbers for you.

39 is a short for ‘Thank you’.  You see, 3 is pronounced as "Sun" and 9 is pronounced as "kyuu"   Since Japanese do not have ‘th’ sound in their language, ‘Thank you’ is open pronounced as "sunk-yuu"

4649 is a short for "yoroshiku"  This word has many meaning but in this case, it simply means "nice to meet you" or "treat me good"
So some people start his game with "4649" and end with "39"

Oh, by the way, some Japanese players were also asking what "gg" means.
Start your chat and you will learn other cultures, indeed.

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Ham-Shogi change’s its home

Ham-Shogi has it’s new url.  Link has been updated accordingly.
Thanks Takodori-san for letting me know!

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Tsume Shogi Paradise adds English!

The admin of the Tsume Shogi paradise was working on adding English form to his site.  Now the "phase 1" is complete.  There is an English form to submit their monthly Quiz, as well as "about this site " page which explains about their site.  Be sure to check it out  at the link below and try out their Tsume-shogi problems!


How Strong are you?

Ever wonder how strong you became of Shogi play?
If you believe you might be already at a strength of Dan player, There
is a way to find out.

I have added a couple of pages to explain how to take assessment test for shogi online.

Detail is here

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Nice Shogi Database

One of the readers of this site told me of the nice shogi database site.  This is in French shogi fedration site.
You can also get to English version of the same database
Shogi record is drawn from Japanese shogi database but this is still an amazing accomplishment. You can search and follow all kinds of book openings by simply clicking on color coded shogi board for established moves.  Perfect for studying book openings and Professional players nuance.
I will be adding this to the list of my internet links. 
Thanks  Gilles for your tip!

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Learn Short Tsume Problems!

I was watching other people’s play on playOK.  Both are R1500 level players and they were playing very good end games .  Then the game finally came to where the white guy tipped the scale and it was about to end. The white player was winning.  Note that both of players were on byoyomi.

Then I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The white player run out of the 30 seconds byoyomi and the Black won.

If you still dont see the situation, see the tsume program below.   This is three move checkmate. R1500 level player should see this in less than 20 seconds.

The first move of G*8b does not work. the King will escape to 9c.  One of the basic rule of tsume is to block the King’s escape route.  Therefore..

G*9c – Nx9c – G*8b.    This is a simple three move checkmate.

Maybe the white’s  computer have simply frozen.  But if he really did not see this simple three move tsume, then his further practice on tsume problems will probably increaese his win rate a lot.

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Translation sites

My friend,  who does not speak Japanese said these two sites help decyphering Japanese text on the WEB.
These are the 2 sites that I use: – this site does not run as quickly and requires smaller fragments of the text to be able to translate, but I find it gives a better translation of what is being said. – this site will translate large sections of text but seems to give less accurate translations.

 Having said that, Japanese text on Shogi-sites tend to use Shogi-terms that may not correctly translate on these service anyway.  However those terms are limited in number and I try to mention those in both English and Japanese on my site (ie.,  edge pawn or  hashi-fu (端歩),  Forking king and Rook =(王手飛車 or oute-bisya)  Sorry, for the last two years, I recognized I am not consistent in the way I explain the word)

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Doraemon shogi board introduced

I leaned from Takodori-san’s Japanese blog that Epoch Japan is planning to release Shogi board and pieces arranged with Doraemon characters on it.
(if you are deep into J-culture, then you know who Draemon is.  If not, just look up in Wikipedia or google the name.)
See the image here
The woman in the image is Yamato Takahashi, retired female Shogi player.
The release date is March 2010 so the product is not on their company site yet.   I wish I can use everwhere door with this board so that the King can transport to any square the moment I got tsumero 

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Invincible castle. Really?

This is a well known mystery.  A certain potion of Shogi beginners end up with this castling.  It seems as if they come up to this with their own idea,, but it is not the first time in Shogi history this castling was played.  There is even a name for this formation.  It is called "Invincible castling. (無敵囲い)
I bet you it is not!  There are many sins or no-no’s  this "castlng" commited.
  • Rook and King sit closely to each other.
  • King is sitting at its original place.
  • Bishop’s head is unprotected.
My advice is simply "don’t do this."  You will not get any mileage out of it.  It will only make your opponent "invincible"

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