21st century Tenjiku Shogi History


A brief history of Tenjiku Shogi.

Some form of Shogi was probably being played in Japan before 1027 when it was first mentioned. From there the game evolved into many larger forms of Shogi and these games had pieces with ever more exotic moves.

Chu Shogi was first mentioned in a text dating around 1350 and was the most popular form of Shogi then and popular with noblemen and high-ranking monks.

During the 16th century a small variant played on a 9x9 board (Sho Shogi) introduced the drop rule, giving us the modern game of Shogi. Although Shogi with drops became very popular most variants, being too large, were played without drops.

Tenjiku Shogi, often called "Exotic Shogi", was derived from Chu Shogi and was possibly invented by Buddhist monks in the 16th century.
More than mere evolution, a lot of effort seems to have gone into the game play and design. Once played it becomes clear that the major pieces are all set up in just the right place for attack and defence, it is a well thought out game.

At the end of the 16th century it was recorded that Minase Kanenari and his sons produced sets for Sho Shogi, Chu, Dai, Dai-Dai, Maka-Dai-Dai and even four for Tai Shogi. But there was no mention of any Tenjiku Shogi sets, was the game unknown then.

The rules of Tenjiku Shogi were first given in a book called "Shogi Zushiki", published in 1634.

(Tenjiku was the Japanese name for India which was considered an "exotic" land in the 16th century)

Tenjiku Tokubei, a 17th century adventurer and writer, was a popular magician character of puppet dramas.
His nickname "Tenjiku" was given because of his travels to India. He died c.1692 aged about 80.

On the right is a woodcut print of a drama scene showing Tenjiku Tokubei riding a giant toad.
Modern Tenjiku Shogi and recent history.

The Shogi Association produced Tenjiku set and rule leaflets in the early 1980's.
The Shogi Variants program is mainly based on the rules leaflets, Version 1.0 was released in January 1996.
"Tenjiku Shogi - The Struggle for Survival" was published in Portable Document Format by Colin Adams sometime before 2000.
Two supplements were added along with the following footnote.
"After experimenting with the critical line in the second supplement, I believe that it is not viable, and that the game is a win for the first player".
Until recently other web sites with Tenjiku content also followed these rules.

It is not that all sites are in agreement with the rules, it is simply the they all followed the first.

Mid 2000 Edi Werner proposed his changes to the Jumping Generals capturing rule.
September 2000, Colin, in a "ShogiVar" message, agreed that the new rules seemed to give equality but needed testing.
Richard's PBeM server for Tenjiku was set up with the new rules sometime before 2005 .
Lucky Dog Tenjiku pages started July 2005 then the Wikipedia Tenjiku page in September.

The last three internet sites all promote the same rules and these are used by current players

A look at the old Tenjiku rules and why they were changed.

Colin sent me this (11 Aug 2005) as a proven win;
1.P-8k P-8f 2.GGn-3g VGn-6f 3.GGnx7c GGnx7c 4.RGnx7e+
I remember seeing one line on the left side of the board that was also a clear win for black.

So here's how I think the above line works;
1.P-8k P-8f 2.GGn-3g VGn-6f [a] 3.GGnx7c GGnx7c [b] 4.RGnx7e+ [c]
[a] I'm not sure what the VG is doing here bar forcing the GG to do what it intends to do. Other VG moves are worse..
2.--- VG-7f 3.VG-6k or similar and the white Fi is still en prise but the black RG no longer needs to take the pawn as the black Fi is free to move. (VG-7f was to prevent RGx7e+.
2.--- VG-3j 3.GGx3j and if the Fi retakes the GG then either the BG or VG will take the Fi.
[b] Attacks the 'trapped' Fi. Nothing else to consider in this position.
[c] What this does is to promote the RG to a GG preventing the white GG jumping to capture the Fi. It also allows the black Fi to move away when it is attacked. At this point black is Fi for GG & RG up.

Here's a quick look at another counter attack and a defence;
1.P-8k P-9f 2.GG-3g GG-14j 3.GGx7c GGx10n 4.GGx10c GGx7n 5.GGx9b DEx9b 6.FKx7n
Black is a FK up with no Fi's on board and just needs to keep exchanging down to make the advantage tell.

1.P-8k SE-3f 2.GGn-7k Wins the Fi

Under these old rules the jumping generals can never give check nor attack an equal ranking piece by jumping. This leaves the jumping generals with only a little more power than their non jumping counterparts. The Fi's seem even more valuable than they are in Tenjiku (New Tenjiku).

Please do not use the old rules, there are enough Shogi variants without variants within variants!

There may be errors, so anyone who wants to take a deeper look at these lines please do.

Rule Changes
These are the rules that were changed to make the modern game.

Jumping Generals:
Under previous rule sets were not permitted to capture equal or higher ranked pieces. This gave black a huge advantage in the opening. With the new rules, the King can come under attack early but can be defended and the game becomes playable. Using the new rules all lines of attack on the Fire Demons (by opposing ranging generals) are now covered by the ranging generals.
"The only known manuscript on the game is vague on the question of whether pieces of equal rank can jump over one another". R. Wayne Schmittberger.
The new Jumping Generals rule was first suggested and championed by Edi Werner.
The Lion Hawk:
TSA rules have it, based on historical documentation "moves LIKE a lion", that the Lion Hawk does not have Lion "powers". This means that the Lion Hawk becomes a 2 step area mover with Bishop moves. By giving the full Lion powers and the Bishop moves to the Lion Hawk it becomes consistent with the promotions of all other pieces in the central area of the board.
The Fire Demon:
"If you should move your FiD next to the enemy FiD, ONLY your FiD is burnt". TSA rules.

Steve Evans program and Colin Adams book has it that any other adjacent pieces, (but not the enemy FiD), are also burnt along with your FiD.

The Fire Demon rules adopted here are those played by "Richard's PBeM Server" and in keeping with The Shogi Association rules.

Note the rule changes for Lion Hawk and Fire Demon are not critical
(both rule sets seem playable but the adopted rules do seem best).