Shogi is not nearly as popular as I’d like it to be in English speaking countries. Most shogi enthusiasts feel the game should be at least popular enough that chess enthusiasts have heard of it. But alas, even most geeky chess players have never heard of shogi or Japanese chess.
A side effect of the challenge of finding shogi players in America and other English speaking countries is that very few shogi books are published for English speakers. I generally buy every English shogi book I can find, and often have a complete collection of every published magazine and book written in English.
Today, I was glad to discover my shogi book collection is once again out-of-date. I was glancing at Amazon and discovered two new English language shogi books I don’t own. It was all I could do to prevent myself from whipping out the already overused credit card and purchasing them on the spot.
Shogi is not hard to learn. Children can learn this game and so can you. If you have ever played Chess, you have a head start, but that is not a prerequisite.
Traditionally Japanese calligraphy is used to mark the pieces in Shogi. This can intimidate westerners that can’t read Japanese. Luckily there are other styles of sets out there to make life easier for the beginner. Typically, once you’ve learned to play, you’ll want to take the time to learn the symbols the Japanese use for each piece.