The Spear Program

Spear for Shogidokoro screenshot

May 29th 2009: New version release (SpearCSA2009v1.5)

Download: The Spear engine for Shogidokoro (CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.5, 51MB)

Changes in the CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.5:

Main features

All the options in Shogidokoro are supported:

Special options for the Spear engine:

Not supported:

Installation instructions

Spear is now an engine that can be used with Shogidokoro and is no longer a stand-alone application. If you can read Japanese and if you are interested in all the information about Shogidokoro, including an explanation about how to make your own shogi engine, have a look at the Shogidokoro website.

If you cannot read Japanese, follow these steps to install Shogidokoro and the Spear engine:

  1. Download the latest version of Shogidokoro. The dowload you need is the second link from the top, the one with a version number in the Japanese. (The top link has "Lesserkai" in it, which is the sample code program that will be very helpful if you want to make a Shogidokoro engine yourself).
  2. Unzip this file in a directory somewhere.
  3. Try to start Shogidokoro. If Shogidokoro doesn't start up, make sure that you also have .NET Framework (English Version) or .NET Framework (Japanese Version) installed (version number 2.0 or higher). Also, the latest updates for Windows are needed.
  4. Download one of the Spear engines for Shogidokoro.
  5. Unzip this file in a directory somewhere.
  6. Add the Spear engine to Shogidokoro:
    1. Start up Shogidokoro (NOT the Spear engine!!)
    2. Select "Engine Manager..." from the "Game" menu.
    3. Select "Add..."
    4. Go to the directory where the Spear engine files are installed and click on "SpearShogidokoro.exe"
  7. The Spear engine can now be used in Shogidokoro to play against (with or without handicap) or to play against other engines. Shogidokoro comes with one standard (rather weak) engine called Lesserkai. Here is a list (in Japanese) of the other engines that can be used with Shogidokoro: http://www.geocities.jp/shogidokoro/enginelink.html

About Spear

Spear stands for Shogi Pattern Evaluator and Recognizer and is a shogi program I originally developed to get data for my research into the pattern recognition of expert game players.

However, during my years at the Electrotechnical Laboratory in Tsukuba (1995-2001) the program slowly became a research goal in itself. Currently Spear is a fully featured shogi program including:

Despite these efforts, the program is still no match for the strongest commercially available shogi programs. However, a testimony of its improved strength are the results in the CSA Computer Shogi World Championships. Spear has been participating in this tournament since 1997 with the following results:

Available releases

Release history

May 28th 2009: SpearCSA2009v1.5 released

Changes in the CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.5:

May 28th 2009: SpearCSA2009v1.4 released

Changes in the CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.4:

May 19th 2009: SpearCSA2009v1.3 released

Changes in the CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.3:

May 15th 2009: SpearCSA2009v1.2 released

Changes in the CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.2:

May 14th 2009: SpearCSA2009v1.1 released

Changes in the CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.1:

May 12th 2009: SpearCSA2009v1.0 released

Changes in the CSA Tournament 2009 version 1.0: To test the strength of the new engine, SpearCSA2009v1.0 played a 100 game match against SpearCSA2008v1.4 (15 minutes per side, one core each). This match ended 76-24 in favour of the new engine.

October 31st 2008: SpearCSA2008v1.4 released

Changes in version 1.4: No changes were made in the level of play.

June 11th, 2008: SpearCSA2008v1.3 released

Changes in version 1.3: No changes were made in the level of play.

June 4th, 2008: SpearCSA2008v1.2 released

Changes in version 1.2: No changes were made in the level of play.

June 3rd, 2008: SpearCSA2008v1.1 released

Changes in version 1.1: No changes were made in the level of play.

May 23rd, 2008: First release of the Spear engine for Shogidokoro (SpearCSA2008)