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Yagura (shogi)

Yagura (shogi)Description : Yagura or Fortress (矢倉 yagura) is both a Static Rook opening (矢倉戦法 yagura senpō) and a castle in shogi.It is often played in a Double Static Rook opening, which is often a Double Yagura opening (相矢倉 aiyagura).The Yagura castle (矢倉囲い yagura gakoi) is considered by many to be one of the strongest defensive position in shogi.The term yagura is the Japanese word for a tower-like structure in traditional Japanese castles.A common Yagura structure is the Gold Yagura (金矢倉 kin yagura). It has a stron... Page:y1


Yagura or Fortress (矢倉 yagura) is both a Static Rook opening (矢倉戦法 yagura senpō) and a castle in shogi.

It is often played in a Double Static Rook opening, which is often a Double Yagura opening (相矢倉 aiyagura).

The Yagura castle (矢倉囲い yagura gakoi) is considered by many to be one of the strongest defensive position in shogi.

The term yagura is the Japanese word for a tower-like structure in traditional Japanese castles.

Yagura castle

Gold Yagura (Black)
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958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Gold Yagura (White)
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i

A common Yagura structure is the Gold Yagura (金矢倉 kin yagura). It has a strongly protected king; a well-fortified line of pawns; and the bishop, rook, and a pawn all support a later attack by the rook's silver or knight. It is difficult to break down with a frontal assault, though it is weaker from the side. It is typically used against static rook openings that involve advancing the rook's pawn. However, one's opponent may just as easily adopt this defense, giving neither side an advantage.

There is a good deal of flexibility in the order of moves when building the Yagura defense. A point to keep in mind is that the generals should move diagonally, not directly forward.

While forming the castle, the rook's pawn is often advanced two squares in preparation for a climbing rook assault on the opposing king. Another common preparation is to advance the adjacent silver's pawn square, allowing passage for both the rook's silver and knight. These offensive moves are not properly part of the castle, but the two-square pawn advance must be carried out early if there is to be room for it, and so it is often done while still castling.

Crab

Crab
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978777675747372717g
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998979695949392919i

When building a Yagura castle, there is a strong intermediate position called the Crab castle (カニ囲い kani gakoi). It has the three pawns on the left side advanced to their final Yagura positions, and on the h rank all four generals are lined up next to the bishop, which is still in its starting position: 角金銀金銀 bishop-gold-silver-gold-silver. The king is moved one square to the left, behind the middle silver.

The crab name comes from the way the king at 6i can only move from side to side (7i, 5i).

Castle variants

Silver Yagura
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918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
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968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Half Yagura
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918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
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978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i

Although the Gold Yagura castle is very common, there are several variants of Yagura. A Silver Yagura (銀矢倉 gin yagura) uses a silver on 6g instead of a gold. This allows for defending of the gold on 7h, which is only defended by the king in a Gold Yagura. Silver Yagura allows for greater flexibility with two silvers on the g rank. In a Gold Yagura, if the silver on 7g moves to 7f, it is not be able to return 7g, and if the gold on 6g moves to 7f, it can't move back to 7g. Using two silvers on 7g and 6g allows for the same range of defense on 8f, 7f, 6f, and 5f as well as the greater potential of both silvers returning back to 7g and 6g after moving up to the f rank. However, by using a second silver for the castle, one gives up the use of the silver for offensive purposes and the side of silver (5g) is not defended.

An Incomplete Yagura or Half Yagura (片矢倉 kata yagura) has the king and the gold on 7h and 6h, respectively, instead of the positions 8h and 7h as in the usual Yagura castles. This positioning is meant to protect from the opponent's bishop being dropped onto 6i or 5i (highlighted in diagram) after a bishop exchange as now the gold on 6h is defended by the silver on 7g and the gold on 6g and the gold on 6h can attack 6i. In a Gold Yagura, the gold on 6h is not defended by any piece besides the king, and it cannot attack a bishop that was dropped on 6i. A Half Yagura is also known as Amano Yagura (天野矢倉), named after Edo period shogi master Soufu Amano (天野宗歩).

There several other Yagura variants. Eight more are shown below.

  • Complete Yagura (総矢倉 sōyagura)
  • Diamond Yagura or Lozenge Yagura (菱矢倉 hishi yagura)
  • Silver Standing Yagura or High Silver Yagura (銀立ち矢倉 gintachi yagura)
  • Kikusui Yagura or Floating Chrysanthemum Yagura (菊水矢倉 kikusui yagura)
  • Hollow Yagura (へこみ矢倉 or 凹み矢倉 hekomi yagura)
  • Yagura Anaguma (矢倉穴熊)
  • Bonanza (ボナンザ囲い Bonanza gakoi)
  • Right Yagura (右矢倉 migi yagura)
Complete Yagura
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968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Diamond Yagura
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Silver Standing Yagura
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918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
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978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Kikusui Yagura
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918171615141312111a
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948474645444342414d
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978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Hollow Yagura
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Yagura Anaguma
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i


Bonanza
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
Right Yagura
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918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i

Attacking Yagura

A common attack against the Yagura defense is to advance the rook's knight directly forward, defended by the rook and with a pawn in hand, to attack the fortifications on either side of the castled king. If the defender has answered a lance's pawn advance on that side, a pawn may be dropped where the edge pawn had been. If the defending silver has moved or is not yet in position, a pawn may be dropped there.

Initial positioning

Yagura Castle
 
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978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i

 
Yagura
up to move 2
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
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938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
1. P-7f   P-8d
Yagura
up to move 3
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
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918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
2. S-6h   ...
Yagura
up to move 4
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
2. ...   P-3d

Blocking bishop with pawn

Yagura
up to move 5
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
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948474645444342414d
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968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
3. P-6f   ...
Yagura
up to move 6
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
3. ...   S-6b

At move 6, White has also has an option to play Climbing Silver by advancing their rook pawn to the e rank. (See: White Climbing Silver.)

Yagura
up to move 7
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
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948474645444342414d
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968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
4. P-5f   ...
 
Yagura
up to move 10
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
4. ...   P-5d
5. S-4h   S-4b
Yagura
up to move 11
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
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978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
6. G4i-5h   ...
 
Yagura
up to move 14
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
6. ...   G-3b
7. G-7h   K-4a
Yagura
up to move 15
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
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938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
8. K-6i   ...
Crab Castle
 
987654321
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958575655545352515e
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978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i

 

New Yagura 24-Move Set

New Yagura 24-Move Set (新矢倉24手組 shin yagura nijū-tegumi)

Yagura
up to move 24
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
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948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
 

Blocking bishop with silver

Yagura
up to move 5
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
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968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
3. S-7g   ...

Blocking White's bishop with a silver (and also defending the eighth file from a possible attack) is an older Yagura joseki, which typically also includes advancing Black's rook pawn.

The more recent joseki advances Black's pawn on the sixth file instead. (See above.)

Old Yagura 24-Move Set

(Old) Yagura 24-Move Set (矢倉24手組 yagura nijū-tegumi)

Old Yagura
up to move 24
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
 

Compared to the New Yagura 24-Move Set, note that the Old Yagura 24-Move Set is (a) symmetrical where both sides have the same formation and (b) that only Black's formation differs (White's formation is the same in both the old and new josekis.)

Right Gold to 6g variant

Right Gold To 6g (6七金右 roku-nana kin migi)

Right Gold to 6g
up to move 25
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
25. G5h-6g ...
Right Gold to 6g
up to move 26
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
25. ... G5b-4c

Spearing the Sparrow

Spearing the Sparrow (雀刺し suzume-zashi)

Spearing the Sparrow
up to move 25
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
25. P-1f ...

Rapid Yagura castling

White Yagura Climbing Silver

White Climbing Silver
up to move 6
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
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938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
3. ...   P-8e
White Climbing Silver
up to move 7
△ Pieces-in-hand: none
987654321
918171615141312111a
928272625242322212b
938373635343332313c
948474645444342414d
958575655545352515e
968676665646362616f
978777675747372717g
988878685848382818h
998979695949392919i
▲ Pieces-in-hand: none
4. S-7g   ...
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