Shogi

22 Jun 2020

Get Better Quickly! Effective Study Methods for Shogi Beginners #5 check

Hi,
I am Takashi Araki, a Shogi instructor for i-tsu-tsu Shogi classes in Motomachi, Kobe.
This newsletter is called “Check Special” and I will talk about what “check” is.

About Checking!

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

1. “Check” Might be Something that Makes You Want to Do.

There are not a few Shogi players move a piece saying “check”. This is especially true when you are a beginner.

Shogi is a game in which you try to take your opponent’s Ou (King) To check is the closest way to take a piece of Ou (King). I know exactly the way you think.

The important thing is whether you can actually take Ou (King) by the check. There is no point in doing so if your opponent can avoid the risk. Then, what kind of situations is doing check effective in?

2. Save the Fun till the End.

You can’t win a game without checking and need to check at some point during a game. If you check to take Ou (King) and the process suddenly and only goes like this, your opponent will naturally resist against it. The point here is that you need to know you should have several steps between checking and taking Ou (King).

You need to do some prep works before taking Ou (King), such as removing your opponent’s offensive pieces or blocking escape routes.

When you make miso soup, I’m sure you won’t put miso directly into a cup with hot water. You probably make soup with some dried bonito and kelp and then add an appropriate amount of miso. That’s the same logic.

If you wouldn’t check unnecessary and could be patient, that tells you have reached a higher level.

3. If You Can Check Effectively, You Are at the Intermediate Level.

There is an exception that allows you to use the situation of checking without preparations. That is a situation of “Fork” which is one of the techniques in which you attack two pieces at the same time.

In the situation in which you will attack Ou (King) and any other piece, your opponent will protect his/her Ou (King) and you automatically get the other piece. The best fork situation is the one in which you are attacking Ou (King) and Hisha (Rook). It would be great if you could have that.

Checking might bring you a better or worse situation, depending on the situation. As you saw, checking is a technique subjects to difficulties.

AuthorAkiko 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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