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Whale Shogi. Shogi variant. (6x6, Cells: 36) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Julian wrote on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 07:44 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I noticed that it could be played with a regular shogi set, with the pawns representing dolphins, the bishop representing the gray whale, a horse representing the narwhal, a gold general representing the humpback, a silver general representing the blue whale, the rook representing the porpoise, and the promoted rook representing the killer whale.

Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Oct 11, 2010 05:53 AM UTC:
It struck me when I first saw this variant that theming a Shogi variant on whales was rather tasteless, for the reasons given by george Duke in previous comments. Even looking beyond that I feel that whales, as huge animals that travel still huger distances over the oceans, do not make a particularly good theme for a small variant full of short-range pieces. The game might have been far better received without the whale theme, and all the pieces have other names in other context. The Dolphin, Killer Whale, and White Whale are long-established standard Shogi pieces, and if their Japanese names are not to your taste my Man and Beast 01: Constitutional Characters suggests simpler English names for them. The rest have names in Man and Beast 12: Alternative Fronts and some also have Japanese names in large Shogi variants:

Whale Shogi nameMan and Beast nameJapanese name
Blue WhaleCoppergeneralDosho (Copper General)
DolphinPointFuhyo (Foot Soldier)
Grey WhaleHunter
HumpbackSilvercowardOld Monkey
Killer WhaleChatelaineRyuo (Dragon King)
White WhaleKingvaries between players
If anyone knows of Japanese names for the other three I'll happily add them to the table.

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on Sun, Oct 10, 2010 08:32 PM UTC:
Is possible to list kanji of pieces?

Anonymous wrote on Sat, Oct 9, 2010 07:48 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Wow, there are a lot of people hating Whale Shogi.  I for one like my chess
variants nice and complex, and 8 piece types (which are not really that
hard to learn) is a good balance, rather like Tori Shogi, which I am also a
fan of.  The divergent pieces are certainly easier to keep track of than,
say, the pieces in Chu Shogi, Tenjiku Shogi, and definitely Taikyoku

Anyways, on a random note, the Porpoise/Killer Whale duality is a new,
interesting idea I haven't seen anywhere else.  Because you have to
consider in Shogi variants what your opponent will gain as well as what you
will lose, I have found the Porpoise's value to be about equal to that of
the Grey Whale.

Oh, and by the way, I am also a fan of Outback Chess ;-).

George Duke wrote on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 07:54 PM UTC:
What a bad game, as for playing by the spatially-challenged! (There are people, otherwise functioning individuals, who have difficulty with Knight move and even can never get it right) So many random, divergent piece moves to keep track of on little 36 squares. Really pathetic, not worth full analysis intended after all, inconsequential. Reminding one of later Outback Chess because of the number of unintuitive move definitions, Whale Shogi hodgepodge of one-steppers has some historical value as far afield as that Outback. We did not bother to find the vague ''offspring'' referred to by David Paulowich as our usual conscientious practice. Who knows what he is talking about(our expertise emphasizes 64+), but whatever derived from Whale Shogi is by name and definition an improvement.

George Duke wrote on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 06:01 PM UTC:Poor ★
The second Poor is for 8 piece-types. The first Poor is for name. A third Poor is in follow-up Comment about Whale Shogi dynamics in play. Mark, what are weird are CVPage's philosophy and practice of posting CV after CV that no one plays. For example, Joe Joyce says today he has not played Falcon King. In our view that negligence speaks for itself. Undisconcerted, I expect always to enjoy courteously reviewing(unlike prolificists themselves) any and all such games even hardly played, a practice 'we'(the Falcon team) started in 1992 with hundreds of patents before CVPage existed. Actually I welcome attacks because of mostly not respecting views of those mired in prolificist values(not referring to Mark Thompson who submits occasional well-thought-out CVs). Falcon Chess is the one CV out of 3000 in CVPage with far the greatest number of 'Poors', bar none, and has been for 7 years. We are used to personal attacks too, within 48 hours ''delusions of grandeur'' and ''really really weird.'' To contrary, unfortunate, pathetic is thus to react personally without analysis because of disagreeing about naming well-explained. Weird and shortsighted are indifference to projected loss 1/3 Earth's species within decades and really innocent statement of concern by noting oxymoronic name 'Whale Shogi'. The name as 'Poor' is represented not as my own but likely view of 'significant segment' noticing trends of ecological damage. What is Whale Shogi's following for its 'Darwinian test'? 10 Players? There is no positive 'Charles Darwin's test' for any CV yet, because none of them have significant adherents, not Glinski's Hexagonal, not Fischer Random Chess, not Omega Chess. A pittance is each one's followings compared to FIDE-type Chess (or Monopoly, Bridge, Scrabble, Rubik's Cube, crossword puzzle): no CV has been successful, bar none).

David Paulowich wrote on Thu, Nov 15, 2007 11:02 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

Douglas Silfen has made a ZRF for Whale Shogi by R. Wayne Schmittberger, which also includes the variant from my [2005-04-01] Comment. Surviving for 26 years and producing offspring meets Charles Darwin's test of excellence.

Mark Thompson wrote on Thu, Nov 15, 2007 09:46 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I've played Whale Shogi. It's fun. For someone to rate it 'poor' in protest against Japanese whaling practices is really, really weird.

George Duke wrote on Wed, Nov 14, 2007 11:28 PM UTC:Poor ★
Chess Variant Page eliminated a couple of large Shogis in late 1990's because of pieces with 'Demon' appellation or hyphenation or two-word name one being 'Demon'. They were long articles showing large Chesses of more than 12 or 15 or even 20 pieces(types). The articles were interesting, and I for one was not finished studying them. One or more Editors thought 'Demon' was inappropriate, their prerogative, and the write-ups are long gone. There were brief explanation but no real follow-up commenting; it was generally accepted as Editorial policy. In any event, thus objecting to a game for the name and that being sufficient for 'Poor' are not without precedent, having occurred even in this same Shogi family. When we re-rate, we always add substance. Whale Shogi is Poor also for 8 piece-types on 36 squares, where an idealized from several standpoints would be 4 or 5. See Game Design thread Comments years 2003-2005, when standards of Comments were high before reduction in number of regular Commenters by the last year or 1 1/2 being dominated(downgrading) by fewer prolificists.

Joe Joyce wrote on Wed, Nov 14, 2007 10:18 PM UTC:
George, I believe you just rated a 26-year-old game 'Poor' because you did not like its name. I have to believe much of what you say is humorous. Consider the other ratings; your poor corrected an imbalance of good ratings. Essentially, you nulled out 2 improper ratings there without changing the overall rating. Nice job, but bizarre sense of humor. ;-)

George Duke wrote on Wed, Nov 14, 2007 09:12 PM UTC:Poor ★
A significant segment of 'human' population would object to the name of this CV, because of the juxtapositon of 'Whale' and 'Shogi'. The reason starts with the association of Shogi as Japan's national Chess game, Shogi coming into being there up to 1000 years ago. Second, the reported continued, at times indiscriminate slaughter of Whales and Dolphins by Japanese fishermen as matter of current documented, videotaped practice. The objectors would cite the intelligence of fellow sentient creatures being pointlessly exterminated, adults with brains larger than humans' and equally active, and the more pointless because mercury(Hg) levels' in specimen having been determined to exceed standards within Japan itself, excluding most of their uses for foods.

Douglas Silfen wrote on Tue, Oct 2, 2007 05:11 PM UTC:
I just created a page for Great Whale Shogi by R. Wayne Schmittberger. Hopefully, it will be up soon. Thank you very much, David for letting me join.

be well all!


Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on Tue, Oct 2, 2007 03:30 PM UTC:
I am curious, is there a write-up for the rules of Great Whale Shogi anywhere online ? This would make a valuable addition to THIS website.

David Howe wrote on Tue, Oct 2, 2007 01:54 PM UTC:
Doug, you should now be able to register. Just go to your information page and follow the instructions. Your information page is here.

Once you finished registering, you should be able to post your own games.

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on Tue, Oct 2, 2007 01:19 PM UTC:
I just noticed Charles Gilman's comment.

Yes, Charles. The Dolphin can make his backwards move to a file containing another Dolphin.

I don't understand the logic behind the Porpoise though.

Douglas S wrote on Tue, Oct 2, 2007 08:51 AM UTC:

Yes, Wayne gave me the go-ahead and I, also have his rough draft rules. I emailed this site with a more detailed info page on the game itself. We'll see if it gets posted. I do not have posting/editing abilities here or else the Great Whale Shogi page would be up already.

Again, thanks for the kind words.


Jonathan Rutherford wrote on Thu, Sep 27, 2007 10:48 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Thank you for implementing this. I have Wayne's rules in a rough draft form. I was considering making the rules more accessible to the public on his behalf, but I never received any go-ahead from him, nor have I had much free time of late. I'm glad the ZRF is available so everyone can finally enjoy this game that Wayne invented.

Douglas S wrote on Sat, Sep 22, 2007 12:19 AM UTC:

Whale Shogi and Great Whale Shogi, both by R. Wayne Schmittberger, are available to download and play from if you own the zillions-of-games software.



Douglas wrote on Fri, Sep 7, 2007 09:46 AM UTC:


I implemented your suggestion for the Gray Whale calf and Its placement in the Whale Shogi zrf that Karl Scherer and I made. It is at The only difference for this 7x7 variant that I called Paulowich Whale Shogi 7x7 is the type of whale I used is a Pacific Northern Right Whale (R) instead of Gay Whalf calf for the movement you described. It plays very well. Thanks. for Whale Shogi or Karl Scherer's website linked from there.

Graphics pieces and standard Latin Notation pieces.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on Fri, Apr 1, 2005 12:56 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
Yes, it can be good in 7x7, and Grey Whale Calf is a possibility, but adding a bit more power can be tested too, by example: allowing a two-squares-sliding forward movement for this piece. Some tests are needed. In the future, if I have some free time, I´ll try a ZRF, to see.

David Paulowich wrote on Fri, Apr 1, 2005 01:47 AM UTC:
Roberto Lavieri thinks that 'this class of game should be excellent in a 7X7 board'. Here is my (never been playtested) suggestion:


where C = Grey Whale Calf, moving straight forward as a wazir, and diagonally backwards as a ferz. Pieces still do not promote in this game, apart from the special killer whale rule. Note that the Grey Whale (and Calf) have the same moves as the Multi General (and Dog) from Tenjiku Shogi.

 7 | H | G | C | W | P | N | B |
 6 | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |
 5 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
 4 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 
 3 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
 2 | d | d | d | d | d | d | d |
 1 | b | n | p | w | c | g | h |
     a   b   c   d   e   f   g

Roberto Lavieri wrote on Fri, Oct 1, 2004 01:39 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
The average number of moves to finish a good Whale Shogi game may be not very high, perhaps around 20 moves. I think this class of game should be excellent in a 7X7 baord, but it is the need of another piece to insert coherently in the game. (well, it is easy show ideas, the interesting thing is chose the best one, without a loss of the personality of the game. I don´t think that the criterium would be uniform in this case, and accepted as the best by everybody)

Roberto Lavieri wrote on Thu, Sep 30, 2004 01:14 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Whale Shogi is a very good game. A ZRF would not be very difficult, I´m sorry I have not time enough to do it, for a while, but perhaps other people can be encouraged to write the code.

Michael Nelson wrote on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 09:14 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
A fine small Shogi variant. I would love to see the rules for the 11x11 variant.

Anonymous wrote on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 03:34 PM UTC:
It would be nice to see a Zillions rules file for this!

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