The drops are already making the game very dynamic, but there is one more important rule called promotion. The promotion rule together with drop rule make pieces advance and get stronger quickly.
When your piece enters the enemy camp, you can decide to turn it to the other side, revealing stronger upgrade. (same if the opponent enters your camp, he can promote his piece)
Those “camps” are actually called promotion zones and contain last three rows.
Most of the pieces can promote, but you only have to remember 3 last patterns of the movements.
Dragon (full name is Dragon King) – promoted rook
Horse (full name is Dragon Horse) – promoted bishop
Promoted Silver / Promoted Knight / Promoted Lance / Promoted Pawn (called Tokin)
Promoted silver, knight, lance and tokin all move like the gold.
King and gold cannot promote (you can see on your shogi set that their back is blank).
How does promotion work in practice? Your unpromoted piece, that you move in this turn, is touching the promotion zone (entering, moving inside or outside) can promote. Here is the animation of those three promotion styles:
Entering the promotion zone:
Moving outside the promotion zone:
Moving inside the promotion zone:
(note: you cannot immediately drop and promote. It must be an actual movement of piece that ends in promotion. All dropped pieces are unpromoted always.)
Let’s make a quick practice:
Promotion problem 1 – promote your silver on the safe square
Answer: The only safe square is 3c. Silver to 3c with promotion.
Promotion problem 2 – promote your rook with a check
Diagram with final position:
Answer: Here comes the dragon! Rook promotion to 7a! Check! Notice that the dragon covers the square 8b as well.
Promotion problem 3 – should you promote or not?
Answer: No! fork is much better option. Remember, the promotion is only optional. You choose which move to play – unpromoted or promoted.
The promotion does not disappear until the piece is taken off the board. Example – the dragon is taken off the board and becomes the rook.
Let’s learn about illegal moves before the final quiz.