Lesson 1: The Board
Before you begin learning how the pieces move, you should understand the board, so this page will be an introduction to the Shogi board.
This is a Shogi board, with piece stands. It has 9×9 squares, 1 column and 1 row bigger than chess. It also isn’t a checkerboard like in chess; all the squares are the same color, which may pose some confusion to people who begin from chess.
Like a chess board, a Shogi board is separated into files (vertical columns) and ranks (horizontal rows). Each file and rank are numbered from 1-9, starting from the top right corner of the board. Squares are named by identifying the file number, then the rank number; therefore, the top right square is 11, the middle square is 55, the top left square is 91, etc. (These are read as one-one, five-five, and nine-one, not as eleven, fifty-five, or ninety-one).
And now to discuss the areas of the board. The Shogi board is divided into three areas: Your camp, your opponent’s camp, and the mid-ranks. The camps are where the pieces are set up in the beginning, and typically where the king sits, and the mid-ranks are essentially the battlefield. Unlike chess, the whole camp serves more purpose than just being where the pieces are set up. If a pawn, lance, knight, silver general, rook, or bishop breach the opponent’s camp, they can promote (will be discussed in the Promotion page). This makes it even more important to protect your camp.
The piece stands are simply where you place pieces you’ve captured. They are not necessary to play Shogi, but they’re good for decoration and to help show your opponent what pieces you have in hand.