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This page is written by the game's inventor, A. M. DeWitt. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Yonin Seireigi

Yonin Seireigi (四人精霊棋 yonin seireigi, "four person spirit's game") is a 4-player version of Seireigi, and my first 4-player Chess variant. Sometime during my invention of several earlier works, I discovered Yonin Shogi, a four-player version of Shogi. At the time I wasn't interested in it, but while I was inventing Seireigi, I got an idea for a four-player version of the game. At the time, Seireigi's Lance and Knight were still boosted, and the setup for Yonin Seireigi was slightly different. However, after finalizing Seireigi's rules, I decided to stick with the already provided Yonin Shogi setups for Yonin Seireigi.

The rules for Yonin Seireigi are the same as those for normal Seireigi, except the setup is different and the rules are adjusted as needed to account for the complications of having four players.

Play Yonin Seireigi with others or against an AI via the Ludii Player


Yonin Seireigi has two possible initial setup positions, shown below:

\/ Compact Setup - This setup can be played using a single standard Shogi set. Knights, Lances, Bishops, and doubly-stacked Pawns represent the extra Silver Generals, Gold Generals, Rooks, and Kings, respectively. Based on Ota Mitsuyasu's Yonin Shogi setup.

Only the setupp for one player is listed below. The setup for the second, third, and fourth players can be obtained by rotating the board 90, 180, and 270 degrees, respectively.

\/ Complete Setup - Requires two Shogi sets. Based on a Yonin Shogi setup from a Japanese children's magazine in 1991.

Only the setupp for one player is listed below. The setup for the second, third, and fourth players can be obtained by rotating the board 90, 180, and 270 degrees, respectively.

The Mnemonic pieces in the diagrams and the Pieces section are enlarged versions of H. G. Muller's Mnemonic pieces. The Shogi pieces used in the Pieces section are from Eric Silverman's 1kanji set, which were originally made for use in Stephen Tavener's Ai Ai. The Chess-like images are from Bob Greenwade's graphics set for the Seireigi games.


The following table shows the moves of the pieces. XBetza notation is included for easier reference.

Piece Promoted Piece


The King moves one space in any direction, but not into check. (K)

The King does not promote.


The Rook moves as it does in Chess - it slides orthogonally. (R)

Dragon King

The Dragon King moves as it does in Shogi - it can move as a Rook or as a King. (RF)


The Bishop moves as it does in Chess - it slides diagonally. (B)

Dragon Horse

The Dragon Horse moves as it does in Shogi - it can move as a Bishop or as a King. (BW)

Gold General

The Gold General moves as it does in Shogi - it moves one square orthogonally, or diagonally forward. (WfF)

Great Elephant

The Great Elephant slides diagonally forward. In addition, it can move one square diagonally backward, sideways, or directly forward. (fBbFsfW)

Silver General

The Silver General moves as it does in Shogi - it moves one square diagonally, or directly forward. (FfW)

Running Wolf

The Running Wolf slides vertically. In addition, it can move one square sideways or diagonally forward. (vRfFsW)


The Knight moves as it does in Shogi - it jumps one square forward and then one square diagonally outward. (fN)

Heavenly Horse

The Heavenly Horse can step one square in any diagonal or forward direction, jump two squares along any forward direction, or jump one square backward and then one square diagonally outward. (FfWbNfAfD)


The Lance moves as it does in Shogi - it slides directly forward. (fR)

Free Tiger

The Free Tiger can slide sideways, step one square vertically, or jump one square sideways and then one square diagonally outward. (sRvWsN)


The Pawn moves as it does in Shogi - one square orthogonally forward. (fW)


The Tokin moves as it does in Shogi - as a Gold General. (WfF)


All rules, unless stated otherwise, are identical to those of standard Shogi.

Board Style

The board may be either a traditional uncheckered Shogi board, or a checkered board with a dark square at each player's left-hand corner.

Deciding who moves first

furigoma (振り駒 piece toss) is used to decide who moves first. Each player tosses four Pawns. The player whose toss has the highest number of Tokins (promoted Pawns, と) facing up goes first. If a tie occurs, then the toss is repeated until the tie is broken.

The players may also decide who goes first through a game of chance or a mutual agreement.

After deciding who goes first, play continues clockwise. Making a move is required – skipping a move is illegal, even when having to move is detrimental. Play continues until only one player is left standing or a draw is declared.

Ranks and Files

Ranks (rows) and files (columns) are defined relative to the direction of the moving player's pieces, not by a fixed perspective.


If a King is placed in check, the checked player immediately takes the next turn in defense and play continues clockwise from there. If two or three Kings are placed in check simultaneously, the first player in the clockwise direction to defend takes the next turn.


If a player’s King is placed in check and there is no legal move by that player that will resolve the check, the checking move is also checkmate, and that player loses immediately.


If a player’s King is not in check and it is that player's turn to move, but they have no legal moves, that player is stalemated and loses their turn.

After-Loss Procedure

If one or more players have lost for any reason, the following occurs immediately for each losing player before the next player's turn:

Pieces that are reappropriated to the mating player must be dropped in the original direction of the mating player. Neutral pieces cannot move until they are captured, but they will still give check to the remaining Kings.


If all remaining players have advanced their Kings into their respective promotion zones and none can hope to make any progress, the game reaches an impasse (持精霊棋 jiseireigi) which may result in either a win or a draw. If this happens and all remaining players agree to an impasse, the winner is decided as follows: each Rook or Bishop, promoted or not, scores 5 points for the owning player, and all other pieces except Kings score 1 point each. The minimum number of points needed to not lose during an impasse is 21 for the Compact Setup and 41 for the Complete Setup. Any player that scores below the minimum loses, unless all players are below the minimum, in which case the first to reach the minimum wins. If multiple players are above the minimum, the game ends in a draw for said players, and any players below the minimum lose.


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This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By A. M. DeWitt.

Last revised by A. M. DeWitt.

Web page created: 2023-05-17. Web page last updated: 2023-08-06