Quest of the lost systems

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Chapter One: Yagura
Section 1: suzume-zashi, or attack a la sparrow shish kebab

Major tactics based on yagura formation can be divided into two groups: N-3g and S-3g type. The latter, the S-3g type, is still frequently used, though the countermeasures for it have undergone a great deal of changes. How the former type, the N-3g, was devised, revised, and readjusted is the theme of this section.

The following diagram shows the first of its kind, presented by Kozo Masuda playing white. The basic idea was to place R, B, L and N (all of long-range pieces) aiming at the black's 9g, with Gs and Ss remaining in its own camp.

  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1
+---------------------------+       White in hand: nothing
| *  *  *  *  *  *  * wN wL |a
|wR  *  * wS  * wB wG wK  * |b
|wL  *  * wP  * wG wS wP wP |c
| * wP wP  * wP wP wP  *  * |d
|wP wN  * bP  *  *  * bP bP |e
| *  * bP  * bS bP bP  *  * |f
|bP bP  *  * bP  * bB  *  * |g
| * bS bG  * bG  *  * wR  * |h
|bL bN  * bK  *  *  * bN bL |i      Black in hand: nothing
Diagram 1. Up to (w)N-8d

NB Thanks to Yoshinori Sawada, who devised the smaller diagram as above, and kindly let me use it.

(A few words from your tour guide)
Kozo Masuda, who invented the suzume-zashi was well known for his motto "shinte issho" (lifelong quest for new moves). Born in 1918, he was only a few years elder to Yasuharu Oyama, his arch rival, but retired much earlier, due to the disease he picked up during WW II when he, as a conscript, sent to a small island in the South Pacific.

According to his autobiography, he left home at the age of 13 with aspiration of becoming Shogi Meijin, leaving a note that said something like, "Me, Kozo will be a meijin someday, defeating the meijin in a handicapped game, me playing without a kyosha." Masuda himself admits in his book that this sentence was grammatically incorrect, and even he couldn't make it out. Anyway, it meant a great deal to him to beat a meijin, so he ran away from home to become a shogi player, to which he was sure his parents wouldn't consent. Firm as his resolve was, he had no idea where he should go to. Absolutely penniless, he walked as far as Hiroshima, a big city, some 50 km away from home. Then he knew he had to earn some money to continue his journey. What could he do?

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