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rec.games.chinese-chess
FAQ

This posting is intended to address Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the game of Chinese chess (otherwise known as "xiangqi" or "elephant game" or "co tuong").

Corrections, additions, suggestions, etc., should be sent to: (email removed contact us for address) ca.edu

Posting Frequency: Monthly Last Update: January 10, 1996

FAQ NEWS

Numbers 11, 12, 19, 21, 22

Contents

1 What is Chinese Chess?
2 What does the board look like?
3 What are the pieces & how do they move?
4 What are the rules of the game?
5 What are the values of the pieces?
6 What kind of notation is used?
7 What are some common opening moves?
8 Are there any proverbs for this game?
9 Are there any basic guidelines for handicap play?
10 What about Chinese Chess Cards?
11 Are there any variants of Chinese Chess?
12 Can you recommend some books?
13 Where can I buy books?
14 Can you recommend some magazines?
15 Where can I buy sets?
16 Is there any software available?
17 Are there any Chinese Chess Home Pages on the Internet?
18 Can I play opponents by using my computer?
19 Are there any clubs where I can find opponents?
20 Is there a Chinese chess version of the United States Chess Federation?
21 What are some of the top tournaments in the world?
22 Who are some of the strongest players around the world?

1 What is Chinese Chess?

Chinese chess is a chess-like game which is especially popular in the Far East: China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, etc. The strongest players and tournaments can be found in these countries. As would be expected, most of the materials published on Chinese chess are written in the languages of this region: most notably, Chinese and Vietnamese. As Asians continue to immigrate to Europe and North America, the level of Chinese chess skill on these continents can be expected to improve and more materials should become available in western languages, such as English, French, and German. Also, more westerners should be expected to become interested in the game and improve their level of expertise.

Chinese chess is NOT any of the following games: Shogi, Japanese chess, go, wei chi, weiqi, Chinese checkers, orthodox chess, Korean chess, Thai chess, Makrook, Malaysian chess, Mah Jong, Sic bo, Pai gow.

HISTORY

Under development.

2 What does the board look like?

It looks like this (along with the starting position of the pieces):

    r---n---m---g---k---g---m---n---r   9
    |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   8
    |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
    +---c---+---+---+---+---+---c---+   7
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    p---+---p---+---p---+---p---+---p   6
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   5
    |       R   I   V   E   R       |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   4
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    P---+---P---+---P---+---P---+---P   3
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    +---C---+---+---+---+---+---C---+   2
    |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   1
    |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
    R---N---M---G---K---G---M---N---R   0

    A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I

For cultural purists, you may prefer this one. The coordinates are lined up in traditional ways.

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9         setup: black
 1 (j)_(m)_(x)_(s)_(i)_(s)_(x)_(m)_(j) 10     (i): 51           ijang ½«
    |   |   |   |\  |  /|   |   |   |         (s): 41, 61       shi   Ê¿
 2  |___|___|___|__\|/__|___|___|___|  9      (x): 31, 71       xiang Ïó
    |   |   |   |  /|\  |   |   |   |         (m): 21, 81       ma    Âí
 3  |__(p)__|___|/__|__\|___|__(p)__|  8      (j): 11, 91       ju    ³µ
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |         (p): 23, 83       pao   ÅÚ
 4 (z)__|__(z)__|__(z)__|__(z)__|__(z) 7      (z): 14, 34       zu    ×ä
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |              54, 74, 94
 5  |___|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|  6
    |                               |
 6  |_______________________________|  5
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |         SETUP: RED (moves first)
 7 (B)__|__(B)__|__(B)__|__(B)__|__(B) 4      (I): 51           shuaI ˧
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |         (S): 41, 61       Shi   ÊË
 8  |__(P)__|___|___|___|___|__(P)__|  3      (X): 31, 71       Xiang Ïà
    |   |   |   |\  |  /|   |   |   |         (M): 21, 81       Ma    Âí
 9  |___|___|___|__\|/__|___|___|___|  2      (J): 11, 91       Ju    ³µ
    |   |   |   |  /|\  |   |   |   |         (P): 23, 83       Pao   ÅÚ
10 (J)_(M)_(X)_(S)_(I)_(S)_(X)_(M)_(J) 1      (B): 14, 34       Bing  ±ø
    9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1              54, 74, 94

3 What are the pieces and how do they move?

Each side has the following pieces (familiar Chess-type English names):

2 Rooks (R) (or chariots)
2 Knights (N) (or horses)
2 Ministers (M) (or bishops or elephants)
2 Guards (G) (or advisors or assistants)
1 King (K) (or generals)
2 Cannons (C)
5 Pawns (P) (or soldiers)

ROOKS

The rooks move and capture as in chess.

KNIGHTS

The knights move and capture as in chess, with one important difference: they can be blocked. Example: if a knight sits on c2 and another piece (either your own or the opponent's) sits on c3, the knight cannot move to d4 or b4; but it could move to b0 or d0 or a1 or e1 or e3. If a knight sits on c2 and another piece is on d2, then it cannot move to e1 or e3.

    ........k........9
    .................8
    .................7
    .................6
    .................5
    .     river      .
    .................4
    ....R............3
    ....N.c..........2
    ..............C..1
    ........K...M....0
    a b c d e f g h i

MINISTERS

The ministers can move only two diagonal spaces at a time. They cannot cross the river (see River below) to the other side of the board. It captures on the square to which he is moving. A minister on g0 can move to e2 or i2. If an opposing piece sits on e2, he can capture it. If his own piece sits on e2, he cannot move there. If he sits on g0 and another piece sits on h1, he cannot move to i2 because he is blocked.

GUARDS

The guards can move only 1 space diagonally, and cannot leave the palace (see Palace below). They capture the same way they move.

KING

The king moves as in chess, only he cannot move diagonally, only 1 square vertically or horizontally. The king must remain in the palace.

CANNONS

Cannons move like rooks, as many squares vertically or horizontally as they want, as long as there is no other piece in the way. However, cannons capture by jumping over a piece to capture another piece. Example: a cannon sits on e1; a knight sits on f1 (the piece can belong to either side); and an opposing rook sits on h1. The cannon could capture the rook by jumping over the knight. It can only capture by jumping, and can jump over only one piece. If there were two pieces between the cannon and the rook, then the rook could not be captured by that cannon. The cannon cannot jump if it isn't going to capture something, it must simply move like a rook.

PAWNS

Pawns move 1 square forward (never two, as is possible on the first move in chess). While the pawn is on its own side of the board, it captures by moving 1 square forward and taking an opposing piece that may be sitting there (the pawns don't capture diagonally as in chess). Once a pawn moves across the river onto the other side of the board, it acquires an additional power: it can then move 1 square sideways in addition to being able to move 1 square forward. On the other side of the board, the pawn could then capture by moving sideways or forward. The pawn can never move backward. The pawn does not promote when it reaches the back rank of the opponent--it can then just move sideways.

PALACE

The king and guards cannot leave the palace (except the guards who leave when they are captured :-) ). If we call the king's starting point e0, then the palace is defined as these 9 points: d0, e0, f0, d1, e1, f1, d2, e2, f2.

RIVER

The river is nothing more than an empty space in the middle of the board dividing the two sides. A piece cannot move into the river--no one can sit in the river because he would drown. It doesn't count as a space. The word "river" is not printed on most sets; usually there are some Chinese characters printed on it. The minister and guard are considered purely defensive pieces because they cannot cross the river and attack the opposing king. Once a piece crosses the river, it becomes more important for attack than defence.

INTERSECTIONS

The pieces move on the intersections of the board, not in the spaces between them, as in chess.

COLORS

In chess, the player who moves first has the "white" pieces. In Chinese chess, the player who moves first moves red pieces. The second player's pieces are usually black or sometimes green or blue.

4 What are the rules of the game?

Here are some rules to remember:

a) the object of the game is to checkmate or stalemate the opponent. This is accomplished by:

  1. Placing the opponent in check so that he has no legal move to get out of the check.
  2. Stalemating your opponent so that he has no legal move (when you stalemate your opponent, you win--it is not a draw as in chess).

b) Red usually moves first.

c) You cannot check your opponent indefinitely by moving the same piece to the same squares (resulting in perpetual check and a draw in chess). You cannot put the opponent in check more than 3 times in a row with the same piece without either side moving any other piece.

d) Similar to the rule above, you cannot indefinitely "chase" an opposing piece from one square to another if your opponent has no other way to avoid losing the piece. If you move a rook to e5 threatening a cannon on e6, and your opponent's only move to avoid capture is to move the cannon to f6, then you cannot keep chasing it from e6 to f6 by moving from e5 to f5 indefinitely. The idea of this rule and the rule above is to avoid perpetual check draws. Some of these situations can be complicated but usually the person who is initiating the perpetual move loop must break it off.

e) The two kings cannot face each other on the same file. If red's king is on e1 and black's king is on e9 and there are no pieces directly between them on the e-file, then that is an illegal position. If black's king is the only piece on the f-file, then red's king on the e-file cannot move to the f file.

f) When neither side can capture the opposing king, the game is a draw.

5 What are the values of the pieces?

Here are some rough values, which of course, can change depending on the game situation or how skillful a particular player is in manoeuvring a particular piece:

Rook 9
Cannon 4.5
Knight 4
Minister 2
Guard 2
Pawn 2 (after crossing river)
Pawn 1 (before crossing river)

6 What kind of notation is used?

It seems every writer or organisation uses different notation. We are generally following ICCS notation in the FAQ for compatibility: the rows are A to I from left to right (from red's viewpoint), and the files are number 0-9 from bottom of the board to the top. Other notations are AXF, algebraic, and Xiangqi Review. Not to mention the traditional notation found in Chinese books & magazines.

7 What are some common opening moves?

The Central Cannon is the most popular. Red moves Ch2-e2. Black usually replies with Ch7-e7 or Nh9-g7 or Nb9-c7. The Minister's (or Bishop's) opening was popularised by Hu RongHua. The starting move is Mg0-e2. Other starting moves are Pc3-c4 or Pg3-g4 or Nh0-g2. Here is XiangQi Review's listing of common XiangQi openings:

Opening Moves Opening Name in English


1. C2=5 Central Cannon Opening


1. C2=5 C8=5 Cannon's Defence
1. C2=5 C2=5 Counter Cannon Defence
1. C2=5 N8+7 2.... C2=5 Counter Cannon Deferred


1. C2=5 N8+7 2. N2+3 N2+3 Two Knights' Defence [TKD]


1. C2=5 N2+3 2. N2+3 N8+9 One Knight's Defence
1. C2=5 N2+3 2. N2+3 R9+1 Accelerated One Knight
1. C2=5 N2+3 2. N2+3 C8=6 3. R1=2 N8+7 Pseudo Two Knight' Defence
1. C2=5 N2+3 2. N2+3 P7+1 3. R1=2 R9+2 Paired Cannons Defence
1. C2=5 N2+3 2. N2+3 R9+1 3. R1=2 C8-1 Right Paired Cannons Defence
1. C2=5 N8+7 2. N2+3 R9=8 3. R1=2 C8+4 The Left Piston
1. C2=5 N8+7 2. N2+3 R9=8 3. .... C8=9 Tiger Formation
1. C2=5 C8+1 Stacked Cannons Defence


1. P3+1 or P7+1 Pawn Opening
1. N2+3 Knight Opening
1. B3+5 Bishop Opening
1. C2=6 Long Cannon Opening
1. C2=4 Short Cannon Opening
1. C2=3 Short Pawn Cannon Opening
1. C2=7 Long Pawn Cannon Opening
1. C2=1 Side Cannon Opening
1. C2+2 Border Cannon Opening
1. P9+1 Side Pawn Opening
1. N8+9 Side Knight Opening
1. G4+5 Guard Opening

Others Irregular Openings

8 Are there any proverbs for this game?

Most Chinese chess proverbs are slight "exaggerations" of the truth:

When my opponent's cannon moves to the middle, my knight jumps up front. (For the most common opening.)

If a rook is not moved within the first 3 moves, it is dead.

A pawn is as powerful as a rook after it crosses the river.

An old pawn is as good as none ("old" when on opponent's back rank)

Weak players go for pawns and call "check!" every move.

Single rook can hardly ever beat a complete Guard/Minister defence.

9 Are there any basic guidelines for handicap play?

Rook Odds

The side giving odds as red plays without the left rook. There are 3 "iron" pieces. Red's leftmost pawn, left knight and left cannon can't be captured unless they've moved.

2 Knights Odds

Red plays without his knights. "Iron" center pawn. Red's center pawn can be captured only by check & only by the piece giving check.

Knight and Move(s) Odds

The side giving odd plays black and without his left knight; red makes 1 or more moves before black replies (possible red moves--see Moves Odds).

1 Knight Odds

Red plays without his left knight.

4 Plus Moves Odds

The side receiving odds plays red & makes 4 or more moves before black moves. No pieces except pawns can be moved to the player's own river edge for these 4 (or more) moves.

3 Moves Odds

The side receiving odds as red makes 3 moves before black replies. About equal to 1 knight odds. No pieces are allowed to cross the river during these 3 initial moves.

2 Moves Odds

Side receiving odds as red makes 2 moves.

1 Move Odds

The side receiving odds plays red.

Less Than 1 Move Odds

Half-move odds would be playing 2 games as red & 1 as black.

Agree to the conditions before play begins to avoid disputes. Giving cannon odds is rare & much harder than giving knight odds.

10 What about Chinese Chess Cards?

Here is some information on Chinese Chess Cards. If anyone has additional or conflicting information, please let us know.

The cards themselves are very slim, probably less than half as wide as regular playing cards.

Packs are made based on both 2-sided & 4-sided Chinese Chess. The idea of the game is to collect as many related cards as possible.

Cards based on 4-sided chess are called "Soo Sik Pai" and contain 28 basic cards repeated a number of times. Each suit has a different colored background which represents the chess pieces. The green & white suits correspond to the red pieces & the red & yellow suits correspond to the black pieces.

The 28 red-suit cards usually contain drawings of full-length figures, such as the "five blessings" men, as well as the symbols for its piece. The white cards have flowers. The yellow cards are marked with animals. There are 33 green cards, 28 with birds and butterflies, and also 5 figure cards with jokers or honors, with no other markings.

The 2-player chess cards are called "Hung Pai". They have 2 suits, one white and one red or black, which contain the same cards as the respective suits in the 4-player chess game. The basic cards can be repeated several times to a maximum of 112 cards. Sometimes jokers are added to the pack.

11 Are there any variants of Chinese Chess?

A. The Three Friends

According to H.R. Murray, this game is supposed to illustrate the war of the Three Kingdoms (although perhaps the "3 Kingdoms" version, listed next, and not this one, is meant): Wei (blue), Shu (red) and Wu (green), A.D. 221-64. The lines of the board are not straight throughout, and each army faces the other two. The pieces consist of the regular 16, but also a different piece (2 of them for each army). This piece in red's army is designated as (F) for "fire." Blue's is called (B) for "banner" and green's is called (W) for "wind." Their move is an extended knight's move: 2 steps vertically or horizontally and then 1 step diagonally. In the initial position, they each sit 2 spaces directly above the guards of each army.

When one of the Generals (who are named Wei, Shu, and Wu) is mated, the player who has mated him removes the king from the board and adds the remainder of his army to his own.

The board has 6 sides. 3 of the sides have 9 spaces across (where the 3 armies start). The other 3 sides have 10 spaces across, each. The board is really 3 half regular boards, plus 12 squares (3 X 4 squares, each dividing each army's half board from the others) & 1 triangle space (in the very center of the board).

A diagram of the board is given in H.R. Murray's book, "A History of Chess."

    R = Rook         K = King      F = Fire
    H = Horse        C = Cannon    B = Banner
    E = Elephant     P = Pawn      W = Wind
    G = Guard

    Here's my diagram of the board. Pretty good, huh? :-)



Blue Army         (R)-+----+---(P)-|----|-(P)---+----+-(R)       Green Army
                (H)---+---(C)------|----|------(C)---+---(H)
              (E)-----+-------(P)\ |    | /(P)-------+-----(E)
            (G) -----(B)---- \    \|----|/   \ / ---(W)------(G)
          (K)  +              \    |    |    /\            +   (K)
        (G)       \             \  |    |  /    \      /         (G)
      (E)   \          (P)        \|----|/       (P)           /   (E)
    (H)   +   (B)             \    |    |    /       \      (W)   +  (H)
  (R)  \     \   \                \|----|/              /       /   /  (R)
    +   (C)   (P)   \            /  \  / \           /      (P)  (C)   +
      +    \     \     \ /           \/        \   /        /   \/    +
       (P)   \     \ /   \           /|\         /   \    /     /  \(P)
          \    /     \      \    /    |     \   /       /  \  /    /
            +    \     \   /  \       |       /   \   /     /   \ +
              \    \  /  \     \      |      /      /    \ /    /
                +   \     \     \     |     /      /     /    +
                 \    \    \     \    |    /     /     /    /
                 (P)---+---(P)---+---(P)---+---(P)---+---(P)
                    +--(C)--+---(F)---+---(F)---+--(C)--+
                     +----+---+---+---+---+---+---+----+
                     (R)-(H)-(E)-(G)-(K)-(G)-(E)-(H)-(R)

                                  Red Army

B. The Three Kingdoms

This is another version of the 3-player game. The board is different from Version 1. In this one, 3 Xiangqi half-boards are placed against the central "triangle" area. Every intersection on the half-boards and in the triangle can be moved upon by the pieces. I see no evidence of any extra pieces (as in Version 1).

                                
                              / \
Half Xiangqi -----------     /___\      ----------------  Half Xiangqi
                            /\   /\
Board Placed ---------     /___\/__\      --------------  Board Placed
                          /\   /\  /\
Against Side -------     /___\/__\/__\      ------------  Against Side
                        /\   /\  /\  /\
Of Triangle  -----     /___\/__\/__\/__\      ----------  Of Triangle
                      /\   /\  /\  /\  /\
(Same as     ----    /___\/__\/__\/__\/__\      --------  (Same as
                    /\   /\  /\  /\  /\  /\
Half Board   ---   /___\/__\/__\/__\/__\/__\      ------  Half Board at
                  /\   /\  /\  /\  /\  /\  /\
At Bottom    --  /___\/__\/__\/__\/__\/__\/__\      ----  Bottom of
                /\   /\  /\  /\  /\  /\  /\  /\
Of Triangle) - /___\/__\/__\/__\/__\/__\/__\/__\      --  Triangle)
               |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
               |___|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|
               |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
               |___|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|
               |   |   |   |\  |  /|   |   |   |
               |___|___|___|__\|/__|___|___|___|
               |   |   |   |  /|\  |   |   |   |
               |___|___|___|/__|__\|___|___|___|

C. Half-Board Variant

Here is another Xiangqi variant, as given in Xiangqi Review (Volume II, Number 5). You only use half the board, but all 32 pieces.

Turn over all 32 pieces, so you can't see what they are, and mix them all well. Then put them all face-down on the *squares* of a half-board--not on the intersections, on the squares, like in orthodox chess.

After deciding who goes first, the first player chooses a piece to turn over, which constitutes one move. Then the second player turns over a piece. The players then alternate, either turning over another piece or making a move with a piece already turned up.

All the pieces move the same way--one square up, down, right, or left, but not diagonally. You can move a piece onto any adjacent empty square, or onto an adjacent square occupied by another piece by capturing that piece, if legal. The captured piece is then removed from the board. Moving is compulsory, capturing not.

The men rank in this order:

King -> Rook -> Horse -> Cannon -> Bishop -> Guard -> Pawn -->> King

Each piece can take any piece that's equal or lower in rank. The exception is that a pawn *can* take a king!

A game is won when you have captured all men from your opponent, or when he resigns. Checkmating the king doesn't end the game, draws are rare.

Material gain is the highest objective. Be careful when capturing that your piece isn't trapped or lost to another higher piece.

There is no checking or hitting violations, no repetition prohibitions. Force your opponent to take risks by having to turn over unknown pieces next to his. In some positions, the rook may even be worth more than the king.

D. Seven Warring States Variant

Name of Game: Qiguo Xiangxi (7 Warring States Chess)

There are a total of 120 pieces used in this variant symbolising the seven Warring States (403-221 B.C.) period. This variant was created by Guang Si-ma.

The Zhou (kingdom) has 1 piece (at the center point of the board). Each of the 7 Warring States has 17 pieces.

The Zhou piece is yellow (central space)
Qin is white (starts in west position)
Chu is red (south position)
Qi is indigo (dark blue) (east position)
Yan is black (north position)
Han is cinnabar (orange-red) (south position)
Wei is green (east position)
Zhao is purple (north position)

Pieces:

General (Jiang)

Each of 7 states has 1 General. He moves vertically, horizontally, or diagonally with no limit on distance (like the queen in orthodox chess).

Deputy General (Pian1)

Each army has 1 Deputy General. He moves vertically or horizontally with no limit on distance (like the rook).

Officer (Bi4)

Each army has 1 Officer. He moves diagonally without limit (like the bishop in orthodox chess).

The Generals, Deputy Generals, and Officers are viewed as being mounted on chariots (elephants were not used in China, though the Xiang character is used in the game's name).

Diplomat or Liaison Officer (Xing2ren2)

Each army has 1 Diplomat. He moves vertically, horizontally, or diagonally without limit (like the queen in orthodox chess). But he may not engage in combat, and may not be killed.

Cannon (Pao)

Each army has 1 cannon. It moves vertically or horizontally without limit. There must be an intervening piece for it to attack another piece (it moves just like modern-day cannon).

Archers (Gong1)

Each army has 1 (unit of) Archers. The unit moves 4 spaces (on each move) vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.

Crossbowmen (Nu3)

Each army has 1 (unit of) Crossbowmen. The unit moves 5 spaces vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.

Swordsmen (Dao1)

Each army has 2 units of Swordsmen. Each unit moves 1 space diagonally.

Broadswordsmen (Qian?)

Each army has 4 units of Broadswordsmen. Each unit moves 1 space vertically or horizontally.

Cavalry (Qi2)

Each army has 4 units of Cavalry. Each unit moves 4 spaces and moves similar to a knight--1 space in a straight line and then 3 spaces diagonally.

If 7 people play the game, each takes 1 warring state. If 6 people play, 1 player takes both Qin and 1 other state in alliance with it. If 5 people play, then in addition to the Qin alliance, Chu is allied with 1 other state. If 4 people play, then in addition to the Qin and Chu alliances, Qi is allied to another state.

When each player takes possession of 1 state, those states with which they are allied are chosen by the players themselves. Both of the allied states are directed by the choosing players, who must first take an oath saying, "If either of the states under my command is lost, it will be through my own carelessness." If 1 player orders an ally to attack a very strongly defended state, he must first penalise himself by downing a glass of liquor (or beer).

The order of play is: Qin, Chu, Han, Qi, Wei, Zhao, and Yan (this order is counterclockwise beginning with the state in the west in the initial position, which is Qin).

If a poor move is played, it may not be taken back (except if penalty is agreed by players beforehand--glass of beer, lose next turn, etc.). If anyone moves a piece incorrectly, he is penalised (either a lost move or a shot of liquor, exact penalties at discretion of players themselves). If a player attacks his own ally, then the entire army of that ally is lost and removed from the board. Whenever a player is placed in check, he may be penalised according to previously agreed upon penalty :-)

A player wins over another state by capturing that enemy's General. But even if the General is not taken, a player can win by capturing more than 10 other pieces of the opposing state. If an enemy has not yet lost 10 pieces and a player's own army loses more than 10, then that player's own army is lost and removed.

At the end of the game, the player who has captured the most pieces is the winner of the game. First the winner takes a victory drink (a special drink that is not used for other purposes associated with this game), then the losers take a drink.

Should 1 player have captured 2 Generals, or take a total of 30 lesser pieces, he is declared Dictator, or Tyrant, or just Bully (Ba4). Once a player has become Dictator, all the other states avow their submission to him, and everyone drinks another round.

Relative value of pieces in their initial positions: 1 Cavalry unit is equal to any 2 units of Archers, Crossbowmen, Swordsmen, or Broadswordsmen. A Cannon is equal to 3 units of same. An Officer is equal to 4. A Deputy General is equal to 5.

The Zhou king is yellow and sits in the center to show respect for the Son of Heaven. He has no army, does not engage in battle. Each of the 7 states has a particular color to reflect its directional position. The Diplomats represent persuasive politicians who try to create alliances among the states.

The Yi Zheng Retired Scholar Pei Zi-xi obtained a copy of the text of this game's rules and had it engraved on wooden blocks so that it would be widely transmitted. It was then printed on the day of the Lantern Festival in the second year of the Kai-xi reign period (24 February 1206).

Game Board with Initial Position
G General
D Deputy General
O Officer
L Liaison Officer (Diplomat)
P Pao (Cannon)
A Archers
C Crossbowmen
S Swordsmen
B Broadswordsmen
H Horsemen (Cavalry)
Z Zhou King
                     Yan                            Zhao
  +---+--(H)-(B)-(O)-(G)-(D)-(B)-(H)--+--(H)-(B)-(O)-(G)-(D)-(B)-(H)--+---+
  +---+---+--(H)-(B)-(P)-(B)-(H)--+---+---+--(H)-(B)-(P)-(B)-(H)--+---+---+
  +---+---+---+--(S)-(C)-(S)--+---+---+---+---+--(S)-(C)-(S)--+---+---+--(H)
  +---+---+---+---+--(A)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(A)--+---+---+--(H)-(B)
  +---+---+---+---+--(L)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(L)--+---+--(S)-(B)-(O)W
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(L)-(A)-(C)-(P)-(G)e
 (H)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(S)-(B)-(D)i
 (B)-(H)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(H)-(B)
Q(D)-(B)-(S)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(H)
i(G)-(P)-(C)-(A)-(L)--+---+---+---+--(Z)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
n(O)-(B)-(S)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(H)
 (B)-(H)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(H)-(B)
 (H)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(S)-(B)-(O)Q
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(L)-(A)-(C)-(P)-(G)i
  +---+---+---+---+--(L)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(L)--+---+--(S)-(B)-(D)
  +---+---+---+---+--(A)--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--(A)--+---+---+--(H)-(B)
  +---+---+---+--(S)-(C)-(S)--+---+---+---+---+--(S)-(C)-(S)--+---+---+--(H)
  +---+---+--(H)-(B)-(P)-(B)-(H)--+---+---+--(H)-(B)-(P)-(B)-(H)--+---+---+
  +---+--(H)-(B)-(D)-(G)-(O)-(B)-(H)--+--(H)-(B)-(D)-(G)-(O)-(B)-(H)--+---+
                     Chu                             Han

E. Who Crosses the River First?

"Who Crosses The River First?" Supposedly comes from the area around Chang-an at a caravan crossing point on the Yellow River. The game is the battle between the merchants and the bandits and is supposed to be popular with ferrymen and drovers of all ages. If anyone has conflicting or additional information, let us know.

Board: 9x10, river across the center

     s---s---+---+---p---+---+---s---s
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
     h---h---c---c---+---c---c---h---h
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     +---a---+---a---+---a---+---a---+
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |                               |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     +---A---+---A---+---A---+---A---+
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     H---H---C---C---+---C---C---H---H
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
     S---S---+---+---P---+---+---S---S

A-Artillery:
may be set up anywhere in the row they are on, moves any number orthogonally [like a standard cannon?] but must always jump exactly one piece whether it captures or not.
C-Camel:
moves any number diagonally.
H-Horse:
may be set anywhere in their row not already occupied by a Camel, jumps 2 orthogonally.
P-Prince:
1 or 2 in any direction.
S-Soldier/Robber/Guard:
any number vertically forward but may not cross the river.

"There is no capturing" [?] Win by surrounding the opposing Prince so that he cannot move, regardless of whether any other piece can move. No piece may jump over a Prince. Players are Red and Black. Red sets his pieces on the board first. Black then sets his pieces on the board and throws the die first. Players take turns throwing the die, without moving any pieces, until one of them throws a 5. That player makes the first move using the 5. Play then becomes turn-and-turn about, each moving according to the throw of the die. The die is a long, 4-sided stick (chopstick?) with the numbers 2/3/4/5 on its sides.

A throw of 2 the player moves an Artillery piece.
A throw of 3 the player moves a Horse.
A throw of 4 the player moves a Camel.
A throw of 5 the player moves a Soldier or his Prince.

F. 5 Tigers

XiangQi Review (Sept/Oct 1995) contains information on a popular variant called "5 Tigers". The "5 Tigers" refers to red's 5 pawns, which have special powers. The pawns can move 2 point each move, or red could choose the option of, on one turn, moving one pawn one point, and another pawn one point. Once they cross the river, they can also move sideways, just as in standard Xiangqi. A red pawn across the river could move one point forward and one point sideways on one turn.

So how to make the game fair for black? Well, in this variant, red plays WITHOUT his 2 rooks, 2 knights, and 2 cannons! It may seem at first glance that red wouldn't have a chance with such a material deficit, but that just shows the might of the 5 tigers, as their 2-point moves can quickly overwhelm the enemy king.

This is the starting lineup:

     r---n---m---g---k---g---m---n---r
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
     +---c---+---+---+---+---+---c---+
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     p---+---p---+---p---+---p---+---p
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |                               |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     P---+---P---+---P---+---P---+---P
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
     +---+---M---G---K---G---M---+---+

Red's objective is to create passed tiger-pawns and get them as close to the black king as possible to deliver mate, and also to try to take as many enemy pieces as possible. Black wants to defend his king, kill off as many tigers as possible, while remaining with enough of a material advantage to win the game. If black can exchange either a rook, knight, or cannon for each tiger, he will probably win, because he will still have one piece remaining.

To see the danger of a red tiger in the black king's palace, look at this diagram:

r---n---m---g---k---g---m---+---r
|   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
+---+---+--(P)--|---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---n---c---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
p---+---+---+---p---+---+---+---p
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|                               |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
P---+---+---+---P---+---+---+---P
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
+---+---M---G---K---G---M---+---+

In this position, black is checkmated! Notice the red tiger near the black king. Because red is threatening to take his king with P6+1 and P6=5, black must either move his king or kill the tiger. He can do neither. If black's left guard were above his king, he would have the move k5=6 and could escape.

G. Victoria Park

I call this variant "Victoria Park" because I'm not sure of the proper name. Supposedly it is popular in Hong Kong's Victoria Park. Anyone with additional information, please let us know.

All the pieces, except the kings, are turned over so you can't see what they are. You mix them up so you don't know what they are, and place them all on the starting points. Then you turn over a piece as you move it. I don't have many more details than this. This is another advantage of using flat pieces--you can turn them over & play variants such as this one.

H. YiTong [The Unified, All-in-One Piece]

To play YiTong, remove red's cannons, knights, and left rook. Black plays with all his pieces. All pieces move as in the regular game, except that red's rook can move either as a rook, or a cannon, or a knight on any move. I don't have many details as I saw this mentioned in a Chinese game book I browsed through in a store. Supposedly it was very popular in Manchuria.

This is the starting lineup:

     r---n---m---g---k---g---m---n---r
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
     +---c---+---+---+---+---+---c---+
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     p---+---p---+---p---+---p---+---p
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |                               |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     P---+---P---+---P---+---P---+---P
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
     +---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
     +---+---M---G---K---G---M---+---R

Usually, red's first move would probably be R1+2, moving like a knight.

I. Four-Player Chinese Chess

Here is the starting lineup:

                       *************************
                       Four-Player Chinese Chess
                       *************************


                  R---N---M---G---K---G---M---N---R
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
                  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
                  +---C---+---+---+---+---+---C---+
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
                  P---+---P---+---P---+---P---+---P
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  R---+---+---P---|-------------------------------|---P---+---+---R
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  N---+---C---+---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---+---C---+---N
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  M---+---+---P---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---P---+---+---M
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  G---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---G
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  K---+---+---P---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---P---+---+---K
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  G---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---+---+---+---G
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  M---+---+---P---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---P---+---+---M
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  N---+---C---+---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---+---C---+---N
  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  R---+---+---P---|---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---|---P---+---+---R
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
                  P---+---P---+---P---+---P---+---P
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
                  +---C---+---+---+---+---+---C---+
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
                  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
                  R---N---M---G---K---G---M---N---R


12 Can you recommend some books?

There are only a few books in English that are readily available:

  1. Chinese Chess by H.T. Lau. Tuttle.
    Basic rules, opening, middle and endgame play. Many exercises. Material needed to win or draw various endings. Descriptions of popular opening variations. This book received a rating of 6 in XiangQi Review (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest).
  2. Chinese Chess for Beginners by Sam Sloan. Ishi Press.
    76 Bonaventure Dr San Jose, CA 95134 (408) 944-9900 Gives the basic rules, info about personalities, etc. This book received a rating of 3.5 in XiangQi Review (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest).
  3. Let's Play Chinese Chess by B. Constantino. 1988. From Hong Kong.
    (Available from Yutopian Enterprises. See address below.) [I do not know of any reputable publication that has published a review of this book.]
  4. Chinese Chess by Robert Lin. 1991. The Alternative Press.
    PO Box 98308, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Fax: (852) 881 1853. Phone: (852) 577 6319. ISBN 962-7335-07-x. 81 pp, algebraic notation & Chinese pieces. ["It is the best English-language book I have seen."-- a fan in Europe.]

Other books in English you might find in a library or old book store:
5. Hsiang Ch'i: The Chinese Game of Chess by Terence Donnelly.
6. A Manual of Chinese Chess by Charles Wilkes.
7. The Chess of China by Dennis Leventhal. (A good read, if you find it.)
8. Shang Chi--The Chinese Chess by Chen-Chih Sun.

Other books which have chapters on Chinese chess:

The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants by David Pritchard, 1994. Chapters on Chinese chess & several of its variants.

The Board Game Book by R.C. Bell. ISBN 0-85685-447-6. p24-25. 2 page spread including board. Paper/card pieces with the book.

Board and Table Games of Many Civilisations by R.C. Bell. ISBN 0-486-23855-5. p66-68.

Games Ancient and Oriental and How to Play Them (Dover reprint of 19th C book)by Edward Falkener. ISBN 0-486-20739-0. p 143-145.

Chess Variations: Ancient, Regional & Modern by John Gollon. Tuttle, 1985. Describes Chinese chess, Korean chess, and 3-player Chinese chess.

Oriental Board Games by David Pritchard.

FICTION

A critically-acclaimed novella about Xiangqi is Ah Cheng's story, "Qi Wang" [Chess King]. This novella can be found in the journal _Chinese Literature_ (Summer 1985), pages 84-132.

13 Where can I buy books?

Chinese Chess (Lau) & Let's Play Chinese Chess are both available from:

Yutopian Enterprises
4964 Adagio Ct
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 659-0138
FAX: (510) 770-8913
e-mail: (email removed contact us for address) com.com
Home Page: Yutopian's Chinese Chess Page (Link.)

The Chinese Chess Institute sells some books written in Chinese. A translation guide is provided. See address for XiangQi Review below.

David Wurman has written two well-regarded books in German:

  1. Chinesisches Schach/Koreanisches Schach. 1991. 350 pages. Price: DM 48 (about $32)
  2. Chinesisches Schach Leicht Gemacht! Regeln. Tricks und Taktik. 1993. 192 pages. Price: DM 14.90 (about $9.25)

These books may be ordered from Wurman at this address:

[This address may not be current]
David Wurman
c/o Haya Wurman
3.A Keller St
Hacarmel, Haifa 34483
Israel

14 Can you recommend some magazines?

1. XiangQi Review is the best English language publication. It is no longer being published, but many volumes were completed and may be found. It was published 6 times a year, usually 20 pages. $10/year in US, or $15/year overseas. Address was:

Chinese Chess Institute
PO Box 5305
Hercules, CA 94547-5305

2. Chinese Chess Newsletter. Published from England, so focuses on Europe. The "usual" subscription rate is 10 pounds a year. Not much on production quality but contains useful news. Recent information suggests this newsletter is only published sporadically at this time.

C.K. Lai
12 Lagan House
Sumner Rd
London SE15 5RB England

3. Chinese Chess News/Korean Chess. [This newsletter is apparently no longer being published.]

David Rockwell
8514 Trumbull Ave
Skokie, IL 60076-2440

Or, if writing from Europe:

Malcolm Horne
10B Windsor Square
Exmouth, Devon
EX8 1JU England

4. Xiangqi Mi Tong Bao. In Italian. Publishes annually.

Agostino Guberti
Via Don Gnocchi 20/D
20075 Lodi (Milano), Italy

Covers news from Italy & Europe.

5. Variant Chess: The Magazine to Expand Your Chess Horizons

Peter Wood
39 Linton Rd, Hastings,
East Sussex, TN34 1TW
England

4 issues per year. 1-year subscription: 8 pounds (UK), 9 pd (surface), 11 pd (air) This newsletter includes a column on Chinese chess, as well as information on Shogi and chess variants. Very enlightening for fans interested in the major chess-type variants.

6. Xiangqi-Kurier. In German.

Claus Tempelmann
Lubeckstr. 48
38108 Braunschweig
Germany

Coverage of the extensive Xiangqi activities in Germany. E-mail address: (email removed contact us for address) -magdeburg.de

7. Xiangqi Newsletter. In Japanese. Bi-monthly. 8-20 pp.

Japan Xiangqi Association
4-1-15 Shimoigusa, Suginamiku,
Tokyo 167
Japan

15 Where can I buy Sets?

From Yutopian Enterprises or at your nearest Chinatown if you live near a large city, or from Chinese or Vietnamese grocery & gift shops in smaller cities.

Yutopian Enterprises sells a selection of sets & books. Either write to the address given above, or contact them on the Internet. Yutopian sells a wooden Xiangqi board, which we recommend because the paper boards you get with many sets don't last long. Yutopian also sells a magnetic set. You might also inquire about their jade set.

16 Is there any software available?

There are 6 commercial programs for PCs: Chinese Chess Master III, Uncle Wang, XIAN, Mind Games, and Battle Chess II: Chinese Chess, and "World Chess Series One: Chinese Chess."

Chinese Chess Master III (DOS version) $44.00 + $4.00 shipping Supports Sound Blaster. 70% English screen. Easy to use. VGA display. Good for advanced players. Beautiful graphics and 36 opponents to choose from. Very strong. Beginners new to Chinese chess may want to select a different program. The easiest opponent of Chinese Chess Master III is very difficult to defeat, and you cannot change the strength level. Not many features, just a really tough game. Ordering information:

Data Station

No returns! Be sure that you know what you want before buying. Foreign orders please add $20.00, otherwise send a Post Office US$ money-order to eliminate the extra $20.00 charge. Send a letter with the product name, ship to address, phone number, check, the product name to: (Foreign shipping (S/H) charge might vary)

P.O. BOX 91654
City of Industry, CA 91715-1654
(213) 344-8595
E-Mail (email removed contact us for address) phi.com

(California residents please add 8.25% sales tax.) Add $4.00 shipping charge when ordering from Data Station. (Make check payable to Data Station)

Yutopian Enterprises

Yutopian Enterprises also sells Chinese Chess Master III.
$44.00 + $1.50 shipping. See address above.

It is reported that Chinese Chess Master IV may be released soon.

Uncle Wang
Price: $28
Features: 8 skill levels, position setup, save games, take back moves, change sides.

XIAN
Available from Data Station or Yutopian
$29.95 + $4 shipping
Features: 9 skill levels, position setup, save positions, take back moves, change sides.
[Yutopian may be out of stock at the moment?]

Xian for Windows is also available [?]

World Chess Series One: Chinese Chess (DOS) (Pachyderm Software) Notes: A new program. Features: multiple time & depth settings; position setup; suggest moves; handicap play; modify piece values. Mouse support.

China Books & Periodicals, Inc.
2929 - 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 282-2994
FAX: (415) 282-0994
$39.95 + $4 shipping

Also available from Yutopian: $39.00 + $1.50 shipping

Mind Games
A new Windows program. Software includes Chinese Chess (Chinese pieces), Go, Chess, Backgammon, and several other strategy games. Available at chain computer stores, such as CompUSA. $29.95.

Battle Chess II: Chinese Chess (the weakest commercial program) $49.95 (Exciting graphics)

All commercial programs mentioned above (except Mind Games) are available from Yutopian Enterprises.

MACINTOSH SHAREWARE PROGRAM

For the Macintosh, there is a shareware program written by Tie Zeng available on the Internet. Ftp to: mac.archive.umich.edu. The program is in the path: /mac/game/board and is called chinesechesspro1.01.cpt.hqx.

DOS SHAREWARE PROGRAMS

There are a few shareware DOS Chinese chess program available on the Internet. Two are available via anonymous ftp at caissa.onenet.net. The stronger program is currently in the path: /pub/chess/DOS/OLD-STUFF/cch.zip. Type "play" to start. Unfortunately, this program seems to freeze the computer after exiting from the program. The other, weaker, program is in the path: /pub/chess/DOS/OLD-STUFF/chinechs.exe.

For public domain freeware/shareware info, get issue 17 of ShareDebate International (dbate017.zip). For information on Korean chess, get issue 18 (dbate018.zip). For software to enable users to create their own Chinese/Korean Chess board & pieces, get issue 19 (dbate019.zip). The ftp address is: ftp.ifcss.org & the path is: /pub/software/dos/misc/.

WINDOWS SHAREWARE PROGRAM

There is a new Windows Chinese Chess program available. It is currently available at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/ms-win/game/ccchess.zip.

DATABASE PROGRAM

CCHVIEW is a popular database for viewing games from ICCS, games posted to rec.games.chinese-chess, etc., or your own games. Available via anonymous ftp at ftp.io.org in the path /users/sung/xq/software/cchviw12.zip.

OPENING ANALYSIS

Opening analysis related to the "Wind Screen Horse" is available via ftp at....??

COMBINATION SKILL

A killing moves series is available via ftp at ftp.ifcss.org?????

17 Are There Any Chinese Chess Home Pages on the Internet?

XIANGQI WWW PAGES

1. Peter Sung's Page

Address: http://www.io.org/~sung/xq/xq.html. (Link is down. HB.)

Peter Sung's WWW Chinese-Chess Home Page contains many items:

  • The latest WXF Bulletin, with all the Xiangqi news from around the world.
  • A copy of this FAQ.
  • The Asian rules & diagrams of positions from the rule book.
  • A link to the rec.games.chinese-chess newsgroup.
  • A link to ICCS.
  • Rating Lists.
  • Software.
  • Game Records.
  • Etc.

2. Roger Hare's Page

Roger Hare's Chinese Chess Page is at: http://www.ed.ac.uk/~rjhare/xiangqi/intro.html

3. Roleigh Martin's Page

http://timeless-eye.tzo.com:8448/afi/ch_index.htm

4. The ICCS Home Page

http://www.math.harvard.edu/~xichen/ICCS.html
Information about the Internet Chinese Chess Server. (Link is down. HB.)

XIANGQI FONT

Anyone interested in publishing his own material on Xiangqi may want to purchase fonts available from:

Alpine Electronics
526 West 7th St.
Powell, WY 82435
Internet: (email removed contact us for address) .nwc.whecn.edu
Price: $29.00

You get 4 fonts: Beijing, Beijing Alternate, Beijing International, and Beijing English. Two of the fonts use Chinese pieces, and two use English letters. The fonts are True Type & work with Windows. There is also a Macintosh version. You may want to contact Alpine and ask for the printed catalog to take a look at them. Alpine also sells fonts for Shogi (Japanese & English pieces), Chess, Go, etc.

18 Can I play opponents by using my computer?

You can play real time games on the International Chinese Chess Server (ICCS). Telnet to: coolidge.math.harvard.edu 5555 or 128.103.28.15 5555 Login with a name & choose a password. Type "help" or "help intro" if you're new. To register your name after you login, type "register [your e-mail address]."

There are 2 backup Chinese chess servers:

  1. palmer.wellesley.edu 5555
  2. decollem2.berkeley.edu 5555

SERVER CLIENTS

UNIX

iccs-1.3.tar.gz is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/unix/misc/iccs-1.3.tar.gz.

X-WINDOWS

Cchess is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/x-win/games/cchess.tar.gz

xcchess is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/x-win/games/xcchess.tar.gz.

xiccc is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/x-win/games/xiccc203.tar.gz.

xicch is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/x-win/games/xicchv1.1.p3.tar.gz

xiccplus is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/x-win/games/xiccplus-2.1.tar.gz.

MACINTOSH

ICCS is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/mac/misc/ICCS_client1.0b3.sea.hqx.

chinese-chess-pro is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/mac/misc/chinese-chess-pro-101.hqx.

PC-DOS

ZUVGA is available at caissa.onenet.net in the path: /pub/chess/DOS/zuvga060.zip.

DOSICCS is available at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/dos/misc/dosiccs.zip. This program is for PCs with network cards.

CCHTSR is at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/dos/misc/cchtsr09.zip.

PC MS-WINDOWS

Peter Sung's ICCSWK is available at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/ms-win/game/iccswk20.zip. For ICCS & Windows & Winsock (Slip/ppp/ethernet).

Winiccs is available at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/ms-win/game/win-iccs.zip. Makes you feel like you are playing on a UNIX machine, for modem or ethernet.

cccterm is available at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/ms-win/game/cccterm.zip. For modems.

iccstm is available at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/ms-win/game/iccstm20.zip.

HUMAN-HUMAN INTERNET TOOL

There is a new human-human Chinese Chess Internet tool. It is available at ftp.ifcss.org in the path: /pub/software/ms-win/game/tchess11.zip.

19 Are there any clubs where I can find opponents?

USA

[DISCLAIMER: The USA clubs are located in Chinatowns. The regular clientele may or may not be receptive to westerners. We have NO reports of any of these clubs having welcoming attitudes to outsiders. Just the opposite. If any adventurous souls want to tread inside & report on your experiences, by all means, do so.]

LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles Chinese Chess Association
885 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Tel: 1-818-458-3255
Fax: 1-818-308-3539
[This is an individual's address & not a club.]

NEW YORK

New York Chinese Chess Association
21 Division St
New York, NY 10002
FAX: 1 212 966-7360
Phone: 1 212 219-8858

United East Athletic Association, Xiangqi Club
70 Mulberry St, Room 201
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 1 718 273-4915

SAN FRANCISCO

Chinese Cultural Service Center
832 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 1 415 982-4672
Hours: M-F 9:30 - 5pm
S-S 10:00 - 4pm
[If looking for a club in the Bay Area, try here first. Looks like people could be found playing here any time of the day. There is a large main room with people (usually a somewhat older crowd) playing Xiangqi, Weiqi, reading newspapers, etc. It's on one of Chinatown's main streets. Just walk by and look through the glass doors to see what's going on. :-) ]

Xiangqi Association of America
153-A Waverly Pl
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 1 415 391-1236
[A Chinese fan in the USA reports that he got a very chilly reception when he visited this club, and doesn't recommend this place. We strongly suggest you try the other SF club first.]

CANADA

CALGARY

Calgary Chinese Chess Association
107A Ng Tower Center
115 - 2nd Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta, CANADA T2P 3C6
FAX: 1 403 288-1897
Phone: 1 403 247-4808

EDMONTON

Edmonton Chinese Chess Association
9645 - 101A Ave
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA T5H 0Y1
FAX: 1 403 429-3383
Phone: 1 403 424-2850

MONTREAL

Montreal Chinese Chess Association
8655 Forbin Janson
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA H1K 2J8
FAX: 1 514 861-6223
Phone: 1 514 352-0288

TORONTO

Toronto Xiangqi Association
4790 Creditview Rd
Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA L5M 5M4
(416) 492-7581
FAX: 1 905 821-9947
Phone: 1 905 819-8263

VANCOUVER

University of British Columbia Chinese Chess Club
President: Raymond Chang
Mailing address:
1896 - E. 33rd Ave.
Vancouver, B.C., CANADA V5N 3E4
Fax: 1 604 327-9486
Phone: 1 604 327-9468
Internet: (email removed contact us for address) ubc.ca

Vancouver Chinese Chess Association
2/F, 21 E, Pender St
Vancouver, B.C., CANADA V6A 1S9
FAX: 1 604 646-7243
Phone: 1 604 682-2999

WINNIPEG

Winnipeg Xiangqi Association
33 Surfside Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA R3X 1P2
FAX: 1 204 256-3892
Phone: 1 204 253-5325

EUROPE

FINLAND

"The Friends of Chinese Chess in Finland"
[Kiinalaisen shakin ystavat Suomessa ry]
President: Jouni Tolonen
Toivoniementie 1 A 816
FIN-90500 Oulu
Finland
Phone: 358-81-3115456
Secretary: Raimo Lindroos
Ahokuja 2
FIN-04430 Jarvenpaa
Finland
FAX: 358-0-287174

FRANCE

Association De Xiangqi En France
3, Av De Choisy
Paris, FRANCE 75013
Phone: 33-1-45-83-16-46
Fax: 33-1-45-84-1055

GERMANY

German Xiangqi Association
Am Roetepfuhl 24
12349 Berlin
Germany
Phone: 0049-30-742 16 33
Fax: 0049-30-742 16 33
e-mail: (email removed contact us for address) lin.snafu.de

ITALY

Federazione Italiana Xiangqi
Via Don Gnocchi
20/D, 20075 Lodi (Milano) ITALY
FAX: 39 371 420-451
Phone: 39 371 430-282

NETHERLANDS

Stichting Chinese Sport Federatie in Netherlands
Oltmanstraat 20,
NL-3842 ZX Harderwijk, HOLLAND
FAX: 31 3410 20221
Phone: 31 3410 18909

UNITED KINGDOM

United Kingdom Chinese Chess Association
12 Lagan House, Sumner Rd
London SE15 5RB ENGLAND
Phone: 44 81 693-4779

ASIA

AUSTRALIA

Australia Xiangqi Association
Dept of Medicine, Level 5, Block 5
Monash Medical Centre
Clayton Rd
Clayton, VIC 3168 AUSTRALIA
FAX: 61 3 563-2578
Phone: 61 3 364-9972

BRUNEI

Brunei Chinese Chess
Blk C, #3 Abd Razak Complex Gadong 3180
PO Box 946 Bandar Seri Begawan 1909
BRUNEI Darussalam
FAX: 673 2 426-191
Phone: 673 2 424-307

CHINA, People's Republic Of

Chinese Xiangqi Association
No. 80 Tian Tan Dong Rd
Beijing 100061 CHINA
FAX: 86 10 711-5176
Phone: 86 10 711-1614

Shanghai Chess Association
4, Lane 591, Nanjing Road W
Shanghai 200041 China
Phone: 86-21-255-2341

HONG KONG

Hong Kong Chinese Chess Association
249-253 Reclamation St
Flat E/F, 4/F Wang Cheung Commercial Bldg
Kowloon, HONG KONG
FAX: 852 2 770-8072
Phone: 852 2 771-3751

INDONESIA

Indonesia Chinese Chess Association
Jl. Per Agalan I No. 35
Jakarta INDONESIA
FAX: 62 21 354-235
Phone: 62 21 808-2443

JAPAN

Japan Xiangqi Association
4-1-15 Shimoigusa, Suginamiku
Tokyo 167 JAPAN
FAX: 81 3 371-67169
Phone: 81 3 390-44368

MACAU

Associacao De Xadrez Chines De Macau
Av. Do Almt. Lacerda 89A EDF.
Luenfung No. 1 A MACAU
FAX: 853 210-110
Phone: 853 210-110

MALAYSIA, EAST

Sabah Chess Association Union
PO Box 792
90008 Sandakan
Sabah, EAST MALAYSIA
FAX: 60 89 272-282
Phone: 60 89 272-277

MALAYSIA, WEST

Malaysia Chinese Chess Association
11, Jalan Sultan, 5000
Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
FAX: 60 3 238-9045
Phone: 60 3 238-1113

PHILIPPINES

Philippines Federal Chess Enthusiast Assn
945 Gandara St., Room 219
Manila, PHILIPPINES
FAX: 63 2 530-1170
Phone: 63 2 486-218

SINGAPORE

Singapore Xiangqi General Association
12 Fan Yoong Road
Singapore
Republic of Singapore 2262
Phone: 65 2620388
Fax: 65 2620288

TAIWAN (Republic of China)

Taipei Chinese Chess Association
2/F, 248 Yin Pin Bei Rd, 2nd Lane
Taipei TAIWAN
FAX: 886 2 557-4364
Phone: 886 2 553-3741

THAILAND

Thailand Xiangqi Association
78 Soipantachit 2 Lanes, Mytricht Rd
Bangkok, THAILAND 10100
FAX: 66 2 226-5732
Phone: 66 2 221-6204

VIETNAM

The Chess Federation of Vietnam
(Vietnam Xiangqi Sub-Association)
36 Tran Phu St.
Hanoi, Vietnam
FAX: 84 8 232-455
Phone: 84 8 232-471
"The National Xiangqi Organization of Vietnam."

Viet-Nam Hochiminh City Dist. 5 Chess Assn
100/6B Hung-Vuong F.9.Q.5
Hochiminh City VIETNAM
FAX: 84 8 325-236
Phone: 84 8 350-003

20 Is there a Chinese chess version of the United States Chess Federation?

No. Organization of Chinese chess in the United States lags behind most other countries, including those in Europe. Also, Europe seems to enjoy a great deal of cooperation between Asian "experts" and western "novices," unlike the situation in the US. Chinese chess "organization" in the US is basically confined to Chinatown clubs, which are not usually as accessible as the tourist shops. A suggestion for future development would be to organise Chinese chess activities at regular chess or go clubs & then try to branch out on your own after a regular clientele has been established. Perhaps try to find a local Chinese chess expert who would agree to give a simul or lecture to drum up interest.

21 What are some of the top tournaments in the world?

Here are most of the top Asian events, and the organisation each is affiliated with:

A. China Xiangqi Association

1. 5 Ram Cup
Held in Guangzhou in December or January; entrance is limited to Chinese National Champions. Latest: 12/95.
Current champion: Lv Qin
2. YinLi Cup
Held in Guilin. Usually April, May or June. Latest: 4/95 Current champion: Xu YinChuan
3. Chinese National Team Championship
Held first half of each year (usually April to June); most recently held in Emeishan (Sichuan), 5/95.
Current champion--men: Locomotive (Railroads) women: Jiangsu
4. Chinese National Championship
Held second half of each year (usually September to November); Latest: 10/95
Current champion: Zhao GuoRong Women: Wu Xia (Nanjing)

B. Asian Xiangqi Federation

1. Asian Cup [Team]
Held every even-numbered year since 1980 (October to November usually). China has won the men's and women's trophies every time. Latest: 11/94
Current champion--men: China women: China
2. Asian Xiangqi Master Championships
Held odd-numbered years, timing varies; most recently held in Kuala Lumpur, 11/1995. Current champion: Men: Xu YinChuan Women: Zhang GuoFeng

C. World Xiangqi Federation

1. The World Cup The 4th World Cup was held September 1-10 1995 in Singapore. Cycle frequency: every 2 years?
Current champion--men: Lv Qin (China) women: Huang YuYing (Toronto) team: China non-Chinese: Vo Van Hoang Tung (Vietnam)

All of the above listed tournaments are essentially "closed" events, meaning that unless you are invited, you cannot participate. CXA events are for mainland Chinese only. AXF events are for their 13 Asian member nations. The only tournament above that is open to "foreigners" is the World Cup, which is still by invitation only.

Other Tournaments:

JiaBo Cup [Team] (CXA)
Match between Shanghai and Guangdong. Latest: 3rd/1995 at Guangzhou.
Current champion--men: Guangdong women: Shanghai

QiWang Title (CXA) [Chess King]
Current champion: Lv Qin [defeated Li LaiQun 2/94]

Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Triangular Match [Team] (AXF?)
12 matches of this annual event (since 1979) have been played (except for 3-year interruption due to Tiananmen incident). Guangdong has won every match.
Current champion: Guangdong

WangWei Cup [CXA]
Held in June. 12 players from the top of the Chinese rating list.
Current champion: Xu YinChuan (6/95)

ASIA

Brunei Championship
Current Champion: Chin Kok Liang (1994)

East Malaysia Championship
Current Champion: Kho Kei Kuan (1993)

Macau Championship
Current Champion: Chan Tin Man (1995)

Philippines Championship
Current Champion: Kung Kar Cheung (1995)

Singapore Championship
Current Champion: Koh Sin (1995)

Taiwan Championship
Current Champion: Wu GuiLin (1994)

Thailand Championship
Current Champion: Xie Gai Zhou (1995)

Vietnam Championship
Current Champion: Mai Thanh Minh (1995)

EUROPE

European Championship
Current champion: He ZhiMin (Italy) (1995)

French Championship
Current Champion: Dang Thanh Trung

Netherlands Championship
Current Champion: Cheung Wing On (1995)

United Kingdom Championship
Current champion: Wang ShunQi (1995)

CANADA

Canadian Championship

The Fifth Canadian Xiangqi Championship was held from September 2 to 5, 1994 in Montreal Canada. 248 players coming from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal participated in the Championship (maximum 4 players from each team). After a 5 round tense competition in three days, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton won the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for the team competition. Lee Chi Han from Vancouver, Ji Zhongqi from Calgary and Steve Wong from Toronto won the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in individuals.

Current Champion: Lee Chi Han (also known as John Lee) (Vancouver)

Toronto Championship

YuYing Huang beated Phuc Nguyen by a score of 3 to 1 to win the Toronto Open title twice in a row. The first game between the two players was a very tough fight. Phuc came out strong to equalise in the second game but YuYing played very safe and the second game quickly ended in a draw.

The overall standing in the TXA open:
1st YuYing Huang
2nd Phuc Nguyen
3rd Billy Kwok
4th Ban Lo
5th Paul Ng and Elton Yuen
7th WanMan Huang
8th Steve Wong

Current Champion: Huang YuYing (Former top female star of China)

USA

Don't ask.

AXF (Asian Xiangqi Federation) 13 Members:

  • Brunei
  • China
  • East Malaysia
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Macao
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • West Malaysia

22 Who are some of the strongest players around the world?

Most of the strongest players live in China. Here are the Chinese National Ratings for the second half of 1995:

MEN

Xu YinChuan 2569 (Finally overtakes Lv for the top spot)
Lv Qin 2564 (Again the 5-Ram Champion)
Hu RongHua 2514 (Who's better all-time: Hu or Yang?)
Zhao GuoRong 2512 (Three-time Chinese Ntnl Champ--1990, 1992 & 1995)
Liu DaHua 2466 (Blindfold champ; Won CNC in 1980 & 1981)
Li LaiQun 2466 (Businessman stays the same)
Xu TianHong 2465 (Won Third World Cup)
Tao HanMing 2455 (Still rising)
Bu FengBo 2443 (Remains in top 10)
Zhang Qiang 2430 (Beijing star rises to top 10)

INTERNATIONAL GRANDMASTERS

The following players are International Grandmasters (Title bestowed by AXF):

Hu RongHua
Lv Qin
Xu YinChuan
Zhao GuoRong
Liu DaHua
Li LaiQun
Xu TianHong
Tao HanMing
Lin JianZhi (Taiwan)
Wu GuiLin (Taiwan)
Ma ZhongWei (Taiwan)
Chiu YuKuen (Hong Kong)
Ifan Minarta (Indonesia)
Mai Thanh Minh (Vietnam)

CHINESE GRANDMASTERS (Title bestowed by CXA)

Li YiTing (retired)
Wang JiaLiang (mostly retired)
Yang GuanLin (mostly retired)

INTERNATIONAL MASTERS

The following players are International Masters (incomplete):

Chen Tin Men (Macau)
Lee Kheng Soi (Singapore)
Hui Chi Kwong (East Malaysia)
Miao YongPeng (China)
Wong Yung Fai (East Malaysia)

WOMEN

    Hu Ming        2323  (Hebei star maintains huge rating lead)
    Shan XiaLi     2265  (Longtime Shanghai star)
    Wang LinNuo    2262  (Huge leap into 3rd)
    Chen ShuLan    2242  (Hubei star)
    Huang Wei      2230  (Jiangsu star)
    Gao Hua        2229  (Strong player from Anhui)
    Liu BiJun      2229  (Guangdong/Australia star)
    Zhang GuoFeng  2215  (Half of Jiangsu's dynamic duo)
    Guo LiPing     2207  (Heilongjiang star)
    OuYang QiLin   2205  (Shanghai star)

The following players are International Grandmasters:

CHINA

Gao Hua
Hu Ming
Huang Wei
Xie SiMing (retired)

SINGAPORE

Teo SimHua

VIETNAM

Le Thi Houng

The following players are International Masters (incomplete):

??

OTHER COUNTRIES

ASIA

Australia

Yan, Andrew
Lu, George
Liu BiJun (female star from China)

Brunei

Chin Kok Liang
Bong Choon Mee
Chieng Hie Kwong

Hong Kong

Chiu YuKuen
Lai Robin
Yung TakKeung

Indonesia

Ifan ChungMing [Minarta]
Yang Xiang Xi
Li Pi Jiang
Wu XiuPing (female star)

Japan

Hattori Tsugumitsu
Kano Kunihiro
Shoshi Kazuharu
Kumagai Yasuhiro
Shintani Shinichi
Shibazaki Junko (1995 Japan Ladies Champion)

[Shen Hao is apparently no longer in Japan.]

Malaysia, East

Kho Kei Kuan
Chieng Kuok Wu
Chieng Ming Chuo (female star)

Malaysia, West

Li JiaQing
Chen JieYu

Singapore

Lee KhengSoi
Teo SimHua (female star)
Koh Sin
Chow Bon Tong
Yang LongZhu (1995 Singapore Ladies Champion)

Taiwan

Ma Zhong Wei
Wu GuiLin
Liang JinYi
Liu HongXiu (1995 Taiwan Ladies Champion)

Thailand

Ma WuLian
Luo ZhuoYing
Xie Gai Zhou
Zheng Yong Ching

Vietnam

Mai Thanh Minh
Truong A Minh
Le Thi Huong (1995 Vietnam Ladies Champion)
Vo Van Hoang Tung

EUROPE

England

Guo ShuLong
Wang ShunQi
Lai C.K.
Liu S.H.
Leung K.W.

Finland

Roto, Matias
Nguyen The Nhan

France

Dang Thanh Trung
Woo Wei Cheung

Germany

Siewert, Hajo
Naegler, Michael
Schaefer, Norbert
Lam Keang Chhay
Huebner, Robert (GM of chess)
Kha Huynh Van
Scholz, Stefan
Huang ShueKong
Pu MingGang

Italy

He ZhiMin
Lin Ye
Yu JianGuo
Hu YongXi
Hu YongSheng

Netherlands

Cheung Wing On
Ng Wing Sang
Hsu Akei

Norway

Xu JueMin

Canada

Huang YuYing
Lee, John
Li ChiHeng
Ji ZhongQi
Wong, Steve
Fung, Stephen
Yuen, Elton
Sung, Peter

USA

Lee, Michael (Also known as Li BiChi) (SF Bay Area)
Yan DotSun (also known as Zhen DaXin) (San Francisco)
Chen TanHua (New York)
Gao WeiXuan (New York) (1995 ICCS Champion)
Tom, Bang (New York)
Tom, Jing (New York)
Mou Hai Qin (New York)
Yang, Frank (Los Angeles)
So BingCham (Los Angeles)


End of FAQ
The FAQ above is written and maintained by Stephen Leary. Some html commands were added by Hans Bodlaender.
Last modified: September 20, 1996.