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:
- Draws cannot be offered.
- There is no fifty-move rule.
- A stalemate counts as a win for the stalemater. Stated otherwise:
if you can't move, you lose.
- Perpetual check is illegal (see below).
There are only two legal ways in which a draw can occur:
- 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.
- 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
This document was generated
by Michael C. Vanier on July, 7 2004