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2.1.3 Promotion of pieces

In sharp contrast to international chess, where only pawns can promote to higher-ranked pieces, most of the pieces in shogi can promote. The promoted ranks are discussed in the section on piece moves (see section 2.1.1 The moves of the pieces) but are repeated here for reference:

promotes to gold general (called a `tokin' in this case only).

promotes to gold general.

promotes to gold general.

Silver general
promotes to gold general.

Gold general
does not promote.

promotes to "dragon horse" or just "horse" for short. The horse can move as a bishop or can move one square in any orthogonal direction.

promotes to "dragon king" or just "dragon" for short. The dragon can move as a rook or can move one square in any diagonal direction.

does not promote.

The three ranks furthest away from each player constitute his/her "promotion zone". A player may, but is not required to, promote a piece after making a move in which the piece begins and/or ends in the promotion zone. Thus you can promote a piece when moving the piece into the promotion zone, out of the promotion zone, or entirely within the promotion zone. Promotion is mandatory in these cases:

  1. You must promote a pawn or a lance after moving it to the last rank.

  2. You must promote a knight after moving it to either of the last two ranks.

These forced promotions ensure that a piece cannot be moved to a square from which it would have no further move.

Pieces "dropped" onto the board (see section 2.1.4 Drops) always drop in the unpromoted state, even if they drop into the promotion zone.

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