From: grimbergen MACPOST PSYCH KUN NL
Date: 26 nov 1992
Subject: TsumeShogi
>From the replies I got to my Tsume Shogi problems, I understand that not
everybody in the list is familiar with these kinds of problems. This is a repost
of a few comments on Tsume Shogi. Any more questions on this topic (or on any
other Shogi topic) are of course welcome.
TSUME SHOGI
Solving tsume shogi is a special skill that is neglected by a lot of Shogi
players. This is unfortunate, since tsume shogi sharpens your endgame and
because Shogi has drops, the endgame and especially mating the enemy king
can turn a game completely around. Countless are the games I won starting
from a bad position and I think I have my tsume shogi to thank for that.
But even more important, solving tsume shogi is lots of fun. I love puzzles
and that is exactly what tsume shogi is about. Some of my fellow players
call me crazy but one of my greatest joys in Shogi is solving a very hard
tsume problem after hours of puzzling, frustrated to the bone, but refusing
to give up and look at the solution. Of course you don't have to get so
obsessive about it, but tsume shogi is an essential part of studying the
game.
The rules of tsume shogi:
Tsume shogi problems are given by means of a diagram, showing the
position from which you have to mate the king by consecutive checks. You
are always black and only the enemy (white) king is showed (since you are about
to mate your opponent without giving him a chance to mate you your own king
is not important - although there are some special kinds of tsume problems that
have both kings on the board-) alongside the defending pieces and the pieces
you can use to mate (both on the board and in hand). All pieces not shown are
considered to be in your opponent's hand and can be dropped in defence. Often
the number of moves is given in Japanese count (blacks first move counted as 1,
white's answer as 2, blacks second move as 3, white's answer as 4 and so on) but
this is not necessary. It is important to note that a useless defensive move
(like dropping a piece between king and checking piece that can be taken without
changing the mate) is not counted as a move. This is neither a design nor a
qualification fault but a basic rule of tsume shogi (but be careful, in some
of the more tricky problems dropping a piece can change the mate
according to the piece dropped).
How to solve tsume shogi problems:
The basic idea is to solve tsume shogi problems without moving the pieces,
just like in a game situation. Some players prefer to put the position on a
board but I trained myself to solve the problem directly from the book or
magazine so that tsume shogi is useful way of killing time in train, car or
plane.
Roughly said, problems with more moves are more difficult than problems
with fewer moves. Although this is not always true , it is easy to find books
working according this principal starting with simple problems and moving up to
more difficult ones. As you solve them your Tsume Shogi skill progresses as you
move through the book. I started tsume shogi with a book by Kato, containing
180 tsume problems (unfortunately this book is now out of print). At the start I
had a very difficult time, but going through the book I was amazed at the
beautiful themes used in tsume and I began to like it more and more. Shortly
after finishing this book I became sho-dan, winning more than one game in a
close endgame fight.
Reijer Grimbergen