Quest of the lost systems

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

He was a skinny boy with no skills. But there was one thing he did do very well, yes, shogi, and in those days even a small boy could get some money with it. Even to this day, on festive occasions we sometimes see the likes of them, but there were a lot of street tsume-shogi men up until Pre-WW II.

They displayed a tsume problem on the board, calling to passers-by to play against them. Those tsume problems looked appetizing but had hidden traps. People paid fee for an attempt, and if they correctly checkmated the king, they bagged the prize money. Masuda, already a shrewd player, foresaw every trick and mated the king relentlessly. Soon he was known to all the tsume-shogi men as the bad brat, to the extent that some of them offered him money in return for not participating the game. In the meantime, he became friends with one of them, who offered him a handsome reward in exchange for providing all the answers of the tsume problems in a book, one of the source books for street tsume-shogi men. Even for Masuda, it took several days to solve all the problems, but that wasn't the end of the story.

This easy-going guy confided in the brilliant 13 year-old that he often made the wrong moves against customers, and ended up paying the prize money. "Will you write down all the possible variations as well?" he asked, so Masuda had to delay another several days to leave for Osaka, where he was planning to become a pupil of the famous pro, Kinjiro Kimi.

The very first attempt of suzume-zashi created by Kozo Masuda was a success. That it was played by the white player seems, in hindsight, to be more than suggestive of what followed afterwards. In the current context of yagura, the suzume-zashi (played by Black) usually takes the following configuration.

  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1
+---------------------------+        White in hand: nothing
|wL wN  *  *  *  *  * wN wL |a
| * wR  *  *  *  * wG wK  * |b
|wP  *  * wS  * wG wS wP wP |c
| * wB wP wP wP wP wP  *  * |d
| * wP  *  *  *  *  *  * bP |e
| *  * bP bP bP  * bP bP  * |f
|bP bP bS bG  * bP bN  * bL |g
| * wK bG bB  * bS  *  * bR |h
|bL bN  *  *  *  *  *  *  * |i       Black in hand: nothing
Diagram 2. Basic formation of Black's suzume-zashi; up to (w)B-8d.

You might have misgivings about its effectiveness because 1c position is guarded by three pieces (L, N and K), which equal the Black's attacking pieces (L,R and B), but you'll see...

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