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This page is written by the game's inventor, A. M. DeWitt.

Banner Xiangqi

Banner Xiangqi (旗象棋 qí xiàngqí, "flag and elephant chess") is a game inspired by the Game of the Three Kingdoms. It includes the Banner from that game and simplifies the endgame rules a bit by doing away with the next to infinitely complex perpetual check rule and replacing it with a threefold repetition draw.


An interactive diagram has been provided (The Javascript source code was written by H. G. Muller) to make it easier to understand how each piece moves. The diagram uses H. G. Muller's WinBoard pieces.

files=9 ranks=10 holdingsType=1 royal=9 stalemate=win graphicsDir=../membergraphics/MSbanner-xiangqi/ whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b lightShade=#FFCC9C darkShade=#CF8948 graphicsType=png squareSize=50 symmetry=mirror firstRank=1 rimColor=#000000 coordColor=#FFFFFF soldier:S:fW:soldier:a4,c4,e4,g4,i4 morph=Q/Q/Q/Q/Q soldier:Q:fsW:soldier: advisor::F:advisor:d1,f1 elephant:E:mafF:elephant:c1,g1 horse::afsW:horse:b1,h1 cannon::::b3,h3 banner:B:mafmafsW:banner:d3,f3 chariot:R:R:chariot:a1,i1 general:G:fkRmcW:general:e1

First rank

Third rank

Fourth rank



The General moves one space orthogonally but not into check, and cannot leave the palace. It can also capture the enemy General if both are on the same file and no pieces are in between them.


The Advisor moves one square diagonally, and cannot leave the palace.


The Elephant two squares in any diagonal direction, and may not cross the river. It is blocked by pieces diagonally adjacent to it.


The Horse moves one square orthogonally and then one square diagonally outward. It is blocked by pieces orthogonally adjacent to it.


The Chariot moves any number of empty squares in any orthogonal direction.


The Cannon moves as a Rook but must hop over an intervening piece to capture.


The Banner moves two squares orthogonally and then one square diagonally outward. It is blocked by pieces on the first or second square in any orthogonal direction.


The Soldier moves one square directly forward. After crossing the river, it gains the ability to move one square sideways.


Illegal Move

A player who makes an illegal move must take back the illegal move and make a legal move.


When a player’s General is under immediate attack by at least one enemy piece, it is in check. A player who’s General is in check must remove the check if possible. This can be done in one of three ways, depending on the situation:

It is illegal to make a move that places or leaves a General in check. If it is not possible to get out of check, the General is checkmated and the game is over.

End of the game

Checkmate and Stalemate

If a player’s General is placed in check and there is no legal move that will resolve the check, that player’s General is checkmated, the game ends, and that player loses. Unlike other pieces, the General is never captured because checkmate ends the game immediately. If a player is not in check but has no legal moves left, that player is stalemated. Stalemate is a win for the stalemating player.


At any point in the game, a player may resign and their opponent wins the game.


The game immediately ends in a draw if any of these conditions occur:

Draw by Mutual Agreement – Both players may agree to a draw after one of them has made an offer. Once made, draw offer cannot be retracted, and is valid until rejected. The offer can be rejected verbally or by making a move (the latter only after the player that made the offer has made a move).

Threefold Repetition – If the same board position occurs at least three times during the course of the game with the same player to move and all pieces have the same rights to move, the player to move may claim a draw.

If the claim is proven true, the game is drawn. Otherwise, the game continues.


Computer Play

You can Play Banner Xiangqi online with Game Courier.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By A. M. DeWitt.

Last revised by A. M. DeWitt.

Web page created: 2021-10-25. Web page last updated: 2021-11-20