The game of shōgi developed in Japan around the 10th or 11th century, and in its present form dates back to the 16th century.
It is similar to chess, in that it is played on a board by two players with pieces representing kings, generals and footsoldiers. Some of the pieces are different from chess pieces, though. What in the English version of chess is known as a ‘rook’ is in shōgi a ‘flying chariot’, for example. There is no queen.
One feature of shōgi which is different from chess is that a player may use pieces captured from the other player. It has been suggested that this reflects the practice of soldiers switching sides, which mercenaries in 16th century Japan sometimes did.
Another feature of shōgi which differs from chess is that pieces can be ‘promoted’: if a piece reaches the far side of the board, the player may promote it by turning it over. This means it can move in a different way. Not all pieces can be promoted in this way.
…the Lord Admirall made ready eight of his worst shippes, besmeared with wild-fire, pitch, and rosin, and filled with brimstone and other combustible matter, and sent them downe the winde into the dead of the night under the guiding of Young and Prowse, into the Spanish fleete. Which when the Spanyards espied approaching towards them, the whole sea being light with the flame thereof, supposing that those incendiary shippes, besides the danger of the fire, were also provided of deadly engins and murdering inventions, they raised a pittifull cry, weighed anchor, cutt their cables, and in a terrible panic feare, with great haste and confusion put to sea. Amongst which the great Galleasse, having broken her rudder, floated up and downe, and the next day fearefully making towards Calys, ranne aground upon the sands…
Hoc Die: Naval Battle of Gravelines
picture: The Spanish Armada and English ships in August 1588, by unknown painter (English School, 16th century)
During the undeclared Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604) the Spanish Armada fleet sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England.
The day after the English had wrecked the crescent formation of the Spanish Armada and caused havoc, they attacked the Spanish fleet. This battle is known as the Battle of Gravelines because it took place just off the port of Gravelines, a Spanish stronghold in Flanders, part of the Spanish Netherlands, but near the border with France. The Duke of Medina Sedonia had been unable to reform the Spanish fleet at Calais, due to a south-easterly wind, and was forced to regroup at Gravelines.
The English had learned from previous encounters with the Spanish fleet and so used new and more successful tactics. They had learned from capturing the Rosario in the Channel that the Spaniards could not easily reload their guns, so with their smaller and lighter ships, the English were able to provoke the Spaniards into firing, but keep out of range, and then close in for the kill. As the Spaniards tried frantically to reload, the English ships took advantage of the situation by getting close to their enemy and firing repeatedly.