The Chess Variant Pages

The Piececlopedia is intended as a scholarly reference concerning the history and naming conventions of pieces used in Chess variants. But it is not a set of standards concerning what you must call pieces in newly invented games.

Piececlopedia: Pawn (in Xiangqi)

Historical notes

The pawn or soldier is a piece used in Xiangqi (Chinese chess).


It is similar to the pawn in orthodox chess, except that the Xiangqi pawn captures in the same way that it moves, which is one square directly forward. The Xiangqi pawn also does not promote on the last rank, nor may it initially move two squares.

Xiangqi pawns take in the same way as they move without taking.

Xiangqi pawns have a special ability that orthodox chess pawns do not: once they cross the center line of the board (called the river), they move move and capture one square to either side.

Movement diagram



There are two pawns in the above diagram. Since one has moved past the center line of the board, it may move and capture one square forward or one square to either side (as shown with the black circles). The other pawn has not moved past the center line of the board, so it may only move and capture one square forward (as shown by the red circle).

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.
Written by David Howe.
WWW page created: November 7, 2000. Last modified: November 7, 2000.