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2.1.6 Draws

There are very few draws in shogi; only about 1-2% of professional games end in a draw. One reason for this is that material can never be depleted as in chess, because captured pieces are constantly re-entering play as a consequence of the drop rule. In fact, most of the ways a game can be drawn in chess are not allowed in shogi:

There are only two legal ways in which a draw can occur:

  1. A position (including the pieces in hand) occurs 4 times with the same player to move (called "Sennichite"). However, if this is caused by consecutive checks (direct attacks on the King, threatening to capture it on the next move) by one side, the player giving these checks loses the game. In other words, perpetual check results in a loss for the attacker who recreates the same position the 4th time.

  2. Both players have moved their King into the the promotion zone (or they cannot be prevented from doing so) and the Kings cannot be checkmated. A King who has entered the promotion zone is known as an "entering King"; due to the forward orientation of most shogi pieces, it is very hard to mate such a King. In that case the players may decide to count their pieces as follows: the King does not count, the Rook and Bishop count as 5 points, and all other pieces as one point. Promotion is disregarded. If both players have at least 24 points the game is a draw (called "Jishogi"). If a player has less, he loses the game.

    Of course, a player can refuse to count pieces when he still has mating chances or chances to gain material which would affect the outcome of the counting. There is no strict rule about what to do if this is not the case, but nonetheless a player refuses to count up (e.g. because he does not have enough points for a draw). It has been generally accepted that in such a case the game ends and the pieces are counted after one player has managed to get all his pieces protected in the promotion zone.

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This document was generated by Michael C. Vanier on July, 7 2004 using texi2html