John Fairbairn: Shogi for Beginners

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Shogi is the Japanese version of Chess. It has some rather curious features, but perhaps the most shocking of them for players familiar with the Western Chess is the drops: a captured piece may enter play owned by the captor. That alone makes sure endgames are not boring wars of attrition!

The game can be fairly hard to learn, though, and not the least because of the pieces which are identified by Japanese calligraphy symbols. The same learning curve issue affects this book as well, because Fairbairn uses the Japanese symbols in his diagrams. That's the way to do it, I suppose, as everybody has to learn the symbols anyway to play the game, but it sure makes the book hard to read.

If one is willing to overcome that obstacle, Shogi for Beginners is a fairly thorough introduction to an interesting game. Fairbairn explains the rules in a (mostly) clear way and then continues to basic strategy: castles, openings, middle game, endgame and so on. Shogi isn't easy to learn, but if you're willing to put some effort to it, this book will certainly help. [ Shogi for Beginners at ]Shogi for Beginners at LibraryThing ]

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