I-tsu-tsu Co. Ltd.

Shogi 25 June 2020

Get Better Quickly! Effective Study Methods for Shogi Beginners #8 Shogi Castle

Akiko Nakakura

I am Takashi Araki, a Shogi instructor for i-tsu-tsu Shogi classes in Motomachi, Kobe.
This newsletter is called “Castle Special” and I will talk about how to break a castle.

How to Break a Castle

Writer: Takashi Araki, a former member of Shorei-kai, who has a third dank rank.

1. Tips to Break Down a Castle 

There are several types of castles. There are several types of castles in Shogi.  I’ve introduced six types of castles on the previous page of “Castle Fortune telling”. I would say it’s just the tip of the iceberg.  There are more, even countless. There are some very unique such as a “strawberry castle”, a “Kushi-katsu (deep-fried skewers) castle”, or a “Kanpyo (dried ground shavings) castle”. Those are names of food but I’m not hungry, just in case.

As to a Shogi castle, it’s easy to build but hard to break.  I suppose you have some experiences in which you felt you were at a loss as to what to do when you faced at your opponent’s solid castle.

However, no matter how strong the castle is, it surely has weakness.  Sorry for a long preface, I am telling you the tips to break a castle.

2. . Aim at Kin (Gold) with Low Valued Pieces

There is a Shogi proverb, “Gyoku no Mamori ha Kin Gin sanmai. (Defend the king with three genera) ”.  Most castles comprise three pieces of Kin (Gold) and Gin (Silver).

Among those defensive pieces, Kin (Gold) plays a role as a protective wall.Kin (Gold) is the core of each castle and every castle has Kin (Gold).

To put it the other way, you can break a castle once you successfully remove Kin (Gold).  The tips to break a castle is to attack Kin (Gold).

If possible, ideally use low-value pieces like To-Kin (Promoted Pawn), Kei (Knight), or Kyo (Lance), which allows you to get two benefits at once, wining of material and breaking a castle. You could kill two birds with one stone.

3. Break up the Partnership of Kin (Gold) and Gin (Silver)

As I told you before, each castle has tree pieces of Kin (Gold) and Gin (Silver) but if they are just sticking together, you can’t draw forth the best in them. You need to place them like them holding each other’s hands.  

With that in your mind, once you break up the partnership of Kin (Gold) and Gin (Silver), you can weaken a castle. It is common that players use a technique, “Tatak no Fu (striking Fu (Pawn))” or “Tuskisute no Fu (push sacrifice Fu (Pawn))” to use this technique.

Use the technique to break up the partnership and to attack Kin (Gold) together and it makes things run more smoothly to attack a castle.  For more details about this, please refer to our textbook, “Shogi Lesson Book for Beginners Vol. 5”.

この記事の執筆者Akiko Nakakura

I-tsu-tsu Co. Ltd. President, lady's professional shogi player. After winning successive victories in the female amateur master’s tournament in 1991 and 1992, she made her debut as a professional shogi player in her third (last) year in high school. She retired from professional shogi play after a 21-year career in March 2015, and currently involved in activities to spread the game of shogi among children.

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