The Chess Variant Pages
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This is from Stephen Leary's Xiangqi FAQ.

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 (chop stick?) 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


Last modified: February 16, 1996.