It's just a pawn, or is it?

Importance of pawn, (exchanges and drops) are explained in this section

A single Pawn can decide an outcome of the whole game. One of the first things you need to understand is the importance of Pawn exchanges. Once exchanged, you have a Pawn in your hand, which you can use to your advantage (don't forget that your opponent also has one.)
Pawn exchange at Rook's path
 Here, Player 2 uses the Ranging Rook(Furibisha or 振り飛車) strategy. This particular formation where the Rook is at the center column is called Naka-Bisha (Naka in Japanese means center.) Naka-Bisha (中飛車)is one of the commonly used Furi-Bisha (振り飛車)strategies(戦法).
A problem, or a concern about this particular diagram is that Player 2 allowed Player 1 to exchange his Rook's Pawn.
I have seen this formation many times on Shogi online play sites. Once Player 2 lets Player 1 exchange his Rook's Pawn, the Gold at 3b has to be there to support the Pawn in order to protect it at 2c.  Because it is away from the King and away from the Rook (captain of the attacking force), it isn't a useful piece. 

No Pawn exchange at Rook's path
Compare the previous diagram and this diagram.
Player 2 has blocked Player 1 from exchanging Pawns.  Now the Gold (at 3c) is free to move towards any direction it wishes, most likely playing a huge role in the upcoming clash.
You may not be convinced this is a good reason enough to exchange Rook's Pawn.  Another advantage is that you now have a Pawn to drop. See the diagram below. Click the play button repeatedly to see how a single pawn can stop the opponent Silver's advancement.

Get Flash Player

Still not convinced? See below for another example. This play also shows basics of Kakugawari-Bogin. strategy or "climbing Silver with Bishops exchanged.(角換わり棒銀)

This page last updated : 2012-05-03