Lesson 13: Opening Basics
There are a few basic things to understand about shogi opening before you begin playing. You should learn the difference between static rook and ranging rook, and how to decide on your first move.
Position of the Rook
The core strategies you’ll be using when you play shogi rely on the position of your rook, which is your primary attacking piece. The file your rook attacks from is the file that you’ll be concentrating your whole attack towards, so pay special attention to it. When discussing shogi strategy, rook position is separated into two main categories: “Static Rook” and “Swinging Rook.”
Static Rook (???, ibisha)
Diagram A shows a Static Rook position, where the rook stays on its initial file and you attack from there.
Swinging Rook (????, furibisha)
In Swinging Rook, you swing your rook to your left side of the board and attack from that position. There are four types of ranging rook: “Central Rook,” “Fourth File Rook,” “Third File Rook,” and “Opposing Rook.”
Fourth File Rook
Third File Rook
Where you place your rook makes a big difference on how you play the game.
The First Moves
What should the first move be? How should you decide? There are 30 possible moves as soon as the game starts, so how should you choose what to do first? In order to know this, you need to have an idea for how you want the game to be played in your mind already. The most common, and thought to be the best, opening move is ?P-76. The reason for this is that ?P-76 creates 6 new moves just by moving one pawn. It opens the bishop’s diagonal and opens the path for the knight, and even begins the attack on your opponent’s camp (although an actual attack won’t happen so early).
The other most common opening move is ?P-26, which indicates that you are playing Static Rook and prepares for an attack along the rook’s file.
The same opening moves can be made by gote.