4

In dobutsu shogi, the usual starting position is a loss for the beginning player in (at most) 78 turns (from first move until (and including) lion capture or ascension).

But are there perhaps other (starting) positions that are farther from win/loss than the standard one? I would be most interested in positions with all (starting position) or most of the pieces on the board and on the back rank.

2
  • If you can argue this is a chess variant, then the question should be reopened, in my opinion. – Dag Oskar Madsen Jan 18 '19 at 15:31
  • @DagOskarMadsen, my reasoning is that it is a small-size variant of Japanese chess with very few rules changes. Therefore it must itself be a chess variant IMO, but I do not know if that was the reason this question was closed. Although it seems, it has already been reopened. Thanks? – hkBst Jan 18 '19 at 15:54
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The following starting position is a win in 123 (according to the software I am using):

1. setup S/cel/---/---/CGL/eG
1. show board
  ABC 
 +---+
1|cel| e
2|   |
3|   |
4|CGL| *G
 +---+
1. show lines
Gb4-b3 : #123  (100.00%)
G  *c3 : 0     ( 0.00%)
G  *b3 : 0     ( 0.00%)
G  *a3 : 0     ( 0.00%)
Ca4-a3 : #-102 ( 0.00%)
Lc4-c3 : #-44  ( 0.00%)
Lc4-b3 : #-44  ( 0.00%)
G  *b2 : #-20  ( 0.00%)
G  *c2 : #-16  ( 0.00%)
G  *a2 : #-16  ( 0.00%)
2
  • That position has unequal material? – wotnotv Nov 20 '20 at 13:23
  • @wotnotv, one side has 2 elephants and the other 2 giraffes, so in that respect you're correct. In the normal course of the game these two pieces are swapped for eachother all the time, so they are about as equal in utility as can be. This very position shows that the difference is less than the positional difference in the normal starting position. – hkBst Nov 23 '20 at 8:12
1

The standard dobutsu position gives a win for the second player. It is a well known concept of zugzwang that emerges out of forced lines.

Running Fairy Stockfish (on the pychess variants site analysis section) in the normal dobutsu backrank configuration gives a -9.8 evaluation after running it on a bigger depth.

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