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for Beginners


Ishi PressInternational
Ishi PressInternational
76 BonaventuraDrive
Tableof Contents
USA Acknowledgements lV

1.The World of ChineseChess 1

@ Copyright 1989by Ishi hess International 2. How to Play ChineseChess 8
3. Checkmateand Stalemate 30
CatalogCardNumber:89-84155 4. A SampleGame 48
5. How to Start the Game 52
All rights reserved accordingto intemational law. This 6. Relative Value of Pieces 68
book or any parts thereof may not be reproduced in any 7. GeneralStrategicConsiderations 7l
fc-rr without written permissionfrom the publisher.
8. Managementof the Pieces 75
9. The Endgame 94
In Europe or U.IC, order from: 10.About the Openings
Ishi PressInternational, Ltd,
20 BrugesPlace,I-ondon NW1 mE, U.K 11.More Games 1-14
12.Who's Hu in ChineseChess 134
In Japan and otler countries,order from:
TheIshi PressInc, 13.History of ChineseChess t45
CPOBox2126,Tokyo,Japan 14. Where to Play, Computer Software,and Other
Things You Need to Know 166
First printingApril 1989
SecondPrinting Aprn I9n
Printedin Jaoan
- 111-
tually sitting down at the board with me and spending
Acknowledgments dme showing me things about Chinese chess.ln par-
ticular, GrandmasterXie Si Ming (the only one of the
abovewho can speakEnglish) gaveme basic instruction
I am indebted to many people for making this book
and even analyzedmy adjournedgames,helping me to
possible.At the top of the list are Mr' kung Lee Shingof
gain somemuch neededtournamentvictories'A big per-
Hong Kong and Mr. Liu Guo Bin of Beijing'
centageof the ideaspresentedin this book were given to
V1. rc""g tee Shingfirst encouragedme to write this
ine by Xie Si Ming and the other above named
book back in 1SAS,ancieven offered me the servicesof
grandmasters. I view my own contributionas one of refor-
his secretary.At that time, I could not find a publisher'
mulating the ideas of these Chinesechessgrandrnasters
However, the tremendousexpansionof Chinese chess
an<ipresentingthem in a way that a player of internation-
during the past four yearshas qeated a demandfor this
al chesscan appreciate.
book. I mei with Mr. lrung againrecentlyin Beijing and
I must thank Mr. Robert Looi and the personscon-
Singaporeand he gave me more ideas which I incor-
nected with the SingaporeChinese Chess Association,
poratedinto this book.
whosenameswould fill an entire pageof this book if only
I met Mr. Liu Guo Bin for the first time in Beijing in
I could rememberthem all, for the hospitalityaccordedat
1985.He was the first important personalityin Chinese
the December, 1988 Asian Cup ChineseChessCham-
chessI ever met anclhe gaveme a list of namesand ad-
pionship.Almost everystrongplayer of Chinesechessin
dressesof other personsaroundthe world to contact'in-
the world was either there or at the previoustournament
cluding Mr. Leung. However, the most important thing
in Beijing.
which Mr. Liu Guo Bin did for me was that he arranged
I need to thank Mr. Chen I Ping and Mr. Lin Tse Wei
an invitation to the October, 1988 Seven Stars Cup
for the hospitalityaccordedat a Chinesechessmatch in
ChineseChessTournament in Beijing, through which I
Iiangkok, Thalland. We were especiallygrateful to Mr.
met all of the other important personalitiesin Chinese
Lin Tse Wei for givingus all a guidedtour of Patpong.
chess.That trip to Beijing hasdirectly,or at leastindirect-
Mr. Chen Lo Ping of Manila, the Secretaryof the
ly, resultedin this book.
Asian ChineseChessAssociation,he hasbeen consistent-
I want to thank ChinesechessgrandmastersLiu Da
ly helpful sinceI first met him in 1985.Mr. Frank C. Eng
Hua, Li Lai Chen, Hu l-ong Hua and Xie Si Ming for ac-

-l V -
of San Franciscomet with me in Beijing and San Francis-
co and has been especialiy helpful in translating from ChapterOne
Chineseinto English the words of the top grandmasters
and officials. Mr. Yoshinori Kimura, the curator of the The World of ChineseChess
JapaneseChessMuseumin Kyoto, provided authoritative
information about chesshistory. Mohammad Succar of
When you think of chess,you probably think of the
Beirut, lrbanon provided information about the history
game well lnown and widely played in Europe and the
of chessin the Arab world' Glyndon Towrrhill of Japan
Americas, the game of Bobby Fischer and Garry
orovided in-formationabout Korean chess.K.I( Chan of
Kasparov.We will call this gameintemational chess.Few
NovagComputersin Hong Kong wasalsohelpful.
Americansand Europeansrealize that this is just one of
Specialthanksgo to Mr' Gong Fan of Beijing, China'
manyactivelyplayedvarietiesof the gameof chess.
who sent me some last minute correctionsand additions
There is also, for example,Japanesechess,known as
from his FAX machinein Beijing. He is il close contact
shogiin Japan.There is further Korean chess(chong-ki),
with a1lof the top players,both of Chinesechessand in- Thai chess (makrook) and Indian chess (shatranj).
ternational chess,in Beijing, and was able to proofread However, the most popular among all the members of
someof the pagesof my book and verifi the facts.In ad- this family of games is Chinese chess, also known as
ditioq Mr. Chen l-o Ping of Manila sent me a FAX with shiang-chi and spelled xiangqi in the Pinyin spelling sys-
some last minute corrections, as did Toti Abundo' tem, which is based upon the Mandarin dialect of
GeneralSecretaryof the World ChessFederation(FIDE) Chinese.
in Lucerne, Switzerland.Peter Blommers of Holland Chinesechessis not merely a regional game. Unlike
providedthe final proofreadingfor the book. shogi,which is played almost exclusivelyin Japarl and
However, the biggestthanks of a1i must go to Paul makrook,which is played almostexclusivelyin Thailand,
Lam, Wong Ming and Henry Fok, who provided the Chinesechessis a truly internationalgame.The reason
money and financial sponsorshipwhich made the above for this is that the Chinesepeople are truly international
mentionedChinesechesseventspossible. people.Whereveryou go in the world, evento a smallvil-
rageln a remote locatio4 you will alwaysbe able to find
at leastone Chineseperson and that one personwill al-
most alwaysknow how to play Chinesechess. Thal however, is not going to last much longer.
This may seem to be an outlandish statement. Throughout most of their history the Chinese people
However,there is a way to prove whether this is tnte or have been rather impoverished.Now, times are changing.
not. Go into any Chinese restaurantaryr,vherein the The Chineseare becomingrich. Three of the so-called
'four economic tigers' of Asia, namely Hong Kong, Sin-
world. Showa Chinesechessset to the waiter or manager.
Perhapshe will insist that he doesnot know how to play. gapore and Taiwan, are Chinese. They have become
Nevertheless, be persistent.Set up the piecesto the nor- major factors in the world economy. As the Chinese
mal starting position. Ask the individu:rl in question to people themselvesare becoming rich, they are naturally
make a move. Final1y,perhapsreluctantly,he will reach goingto spendmoneyon their game:Chinesechess.
over.Almost certainlyhe will pick up one of the cannons Three Hong Kong nrillionaires, Henry Fok, Paul lam
and move it to the center line. Eureka! Your new op- and Wong Ming, have alreadyput a considerableamount
ponent not only knows how to move the pieceslegally, of money into Chinesechessand have promised to put in
but he alsoknowsa little openingtheoryaswell. more. Henry Fok has offered a prize of one half million
ln fact, there is simplyno suchthing as a Chineseman dollars to the first non-Chinesepe$on ever to win a
who doesnot know how to play Chinesechess.The game major tournament of Chinese chessahead of a Chinese
is embeddedin the Chinese culture. Chhese children grandmaster.He has also indicated that he may increase
leam how to play it at the sarneage when children in that prize to one million dollars in the futue, plus make
other culturesare learning how to play tic-tac-toe.Con- the conditions for winning the prize less difficult.
sider that there are more than one billion people of Paul Lam and Wong Ming are both master strength
Chinese origin in the world today. Excluding small players of Chinese chess.Paul I-am holds the distinction
children (there are lots of Chinesesmall children) this of being perhapsthe only person in the world to be a
meansthat more than a half billion people in the world master of all three of the major games:chess,go (wei-chi)
know how to play Chinese chess.This statistic makes and Chinesechess.He has been rated 2250by the World
Chinesechesseasilythe mostpopulargameof anykind in ChessFederationand is ranked as a 5-dan player of go.
the entire world. He and Wong Ming, who is one of the strongestplayers
One amazingthing about this is that most people who of Chinesechessin llong Kong, have togetherprovided
are not Chinesehavenever even heard of Chinesechess. the seed capital for the founding of the World Chinese

- 2 - - 3 -
ChessFederation. Chinesehasevenheardof?
In Singapore,the GuinnessCompanyhas pledged a Actually, it all comes down to a simple question of
considerableamount of moneyfor the sponsorshipof in- money.Go becamea prestigegamebecausethe Japanese
ternational Chinesechesstournaments.ln Bangkok,the played it and the Japanesehad money. Therefore,
Surathip Group, the national liquor company,is com- everybodywanted to learn how to play go. When the
mitted to the sponsorshipof Chinesechessevents.Taiwan Chinesepeople were poor, Chinesechesswas merely a
has obtained commercial sponsorshipfor big Chinese sidewalkgameplayedby old men and young boyson the
chesstournaments.China hasbeen sponsoringthe ,Seven street. Nobody paid any attention to it. Suddenly,the
Stars Cup' series of annual international Chinesechess Chinesehave become rich. Now, just a few people are
IOUrnaments. startingto take notice.This is why a British companylike
Where haveyou beenwhile al1this hasbeengoing on? Guinness,with hardly a singleChinesepersonworking for
In reality, this has all happenedso suddenlythat few it, has suddenlystartedspendinglarge amountsof money
people who are not Chineseeven know about this. Any sponsoringChinesechesstournaments.
Chinesechessevent of any consequence will have little
difficuity in attracting500 to 1000spectato$per day.This Want to Pick up an Easy Half Million Dollars by play-
is t}te reason that commercialsponsorsare interested. ing Gamesin Your SpareTime?
Even a World ChessOlympiad,with 107 nations repre- Henry Fok has offered to give a prize of one half mil-
sented,will not get that manyspectators. A Chinesechess lion dollarsto the first non-Chinesepersonto win a major
event will get both front page coverageand probably a tournament in Chinese chess.By the way, he has the
full page of specializedcoveragein the local Chinese moneyto pay. This soundseasyenough.All you have to
newspaper.However, it will probably not get even one do is beata few Chineseat theirown game.
line of mention in the Englishlanguagepress. Basically,all you really haveto do is beat a certainMr.
Why is that? Actualty, most English language Hu Long llua (Hu Rong Hua in the Pinyin spellingsys-
newspapereditors have never even heard of Chinese tem) at a gameof chess.This shouldnot be any problem.
chess.When they hear the name,they think that it must Mr. Hu is a friendlyfe1low.
be go. Isn't it strangethat the most popular game in the Actually,it will probablyneverbe done.Hu Long Hua
entire world is a gamewhich hardly anybodywho is not is the Bobby Fischerof Chinesechess.He won the cham-

- 4 - (
pionship of China (which in effect was the world cham-
gapore has held a rating of around 2220 by the World
pionship) in 1960when he was only 15 years old. He is
ChessFederation and also plays a fair game of Chinese
still consideredto be the bestplayerin the world. Nobody chess.There is also this author. Needlessto say,none of
who is not Chineseis likely to beat him any time soon.
the aboveare any threat whatever to Hu I-ong Hua.
Still, it is possibleto drearl One player who is given a In recognition of this, Henry Fok is talking about
remote chance is Robert Hi.ibner of West Germany, a lowering the standard required to win the prize and in-
doctor of papyrolory. Dr. Hiibner is rated around 2600 by creasingthe money to one million dollars. ff he is serious
the World Chess Federation and is consistently ranked about this, it could becomeinteresting.Hu I-ong Hua may
among the top 50 chessplayers in the world. He often be vktually unbeatable,but it might be feasible for a non-
boycotts eventsorganizedby the World ChessFederation. Chinesepersonto becomeone of the best 100playersof
This giveshim some extra time to play Chinesechess.The Chinesechessin the world, for example.
only problem is that he is not very sfong yet. Aithough he Since the publication of the first edition of this book,
finished secotrd in a tournament in England in 1988, he an important new development has taken place. Xie Jun,
still has a way to go to reach any sort of intemational who got her big start as a street player of Chinesechessat
Chinese standard. However, being one of the top chess the age of 10, has won the Woman's World ChessCham-
players in the world suggeststhat Dr. Hi.ibner might have pionship, decisivelydefeating Maya Chiburdanidze of the
the raw talent to becomea top player at Chinesechess. Soviet Union. Only the author of this book predicted that
Besides Dr. Htibner, it is just about possible to count result. It will be noted that on page 138of the first edition
on the fingers of one hand those players who are recog- of this book, published in 1988,it was stated that Xie Jun
nized in the world of international chessand who have was 'easily' one of the ten best female players in tle
also tried Chinesechess.l-arry Kaufrna4 an international world. However, nobody believed ttris, as Xie Jun was not
chessmaster living in Mianri, Florida" with a chessrating evenin the rating list of the top 500 at the time.
of around 245Q became quite a reasonable player of However, this is only the beginning, as three other
Chinesechessin just a few months time in 1985,but then Chinesegirls have since reached the candidatesfinals of
abruptly gave it up to concentrate on computer chess, the top eight. It can be predicted that the Chinesewomen
with respectto which he is now one of the world's leading will completely take over and monopolize the Woman's
authorities. A player named Winston Willirms from Sin- World ChessChampionshipfrom now on.

- 6 - - 7 -
TheInitial Set-UP
ChapterTWo Part of the proof that Chinesechessand international
chessarejust variationsof the samebasicgamelies in the
How to PIay ChineseChess lact thzl in spite of a number of differences,the pieces
are set up in basicallythe sameway.For example,in both
games,the king is in the center, the rook in the corner
Chinesechessis a gameplayed on a board consisting
and the knight is next to the rook. After that comesthe
of 9 by 10 lines.It has a rook, a knight,a king and pawru,
bishop,althoughthe bishop in Chinesechessis a much
ail of which move in the same way or a similar way to
weakerpiece than the bishop in internationalchess.Ac-
thosesamepiecesin internationalchess.It doesnot have
tually,the bishopin Chinesechessmovesthe sameway as
a queen.Instead,it hasa can-non, a guardand an elephant the bishop(whichwasthen calledthe elephant)movedin
(sometimescalled a bishop) all of which have no real
the originalArab and Indian forms of internationaichess.
equivalentin intemationalchess.The object of the game The presentbishopand queenusedin internationalchess
is to checkmateor stalematethe enemyking.
wereboth innovationsintroducedin Italy in about 1497.
Chinesechessis a relative of internationalchess.The
Chineseauthoritiesin Beijing claim that somepredeces- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
sor form of the gamewasplayedas early as the first cen-
turies B.C. This is much earlier than any record of chess
existingin either India or Arabia. However,international
chessand Chinesechessclearlysharea commonorigin.
At the sametime, there are major differencesbetween
the two games. Chinese chessis played on lines and
points rather than on squares.It has a river in the middle
of the board and an imperial palaceon eachside of the
board.The king and his guardsare neverallowedto leave
the imperial palace,iike the emperoi in not so ancient 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
China, as those who have seen the movie The Last
Dia. 1. The initinl set-up
Emperor wtlThave learned.
- 8 - - 9 -
Whereas there is one queen in international chess, Cllnese character for that piece is rlso the word for
there are two guardsin Chinesechess.These also move automobilein modern Chinese.Therefore,do not call the
like the equivalentpiece in historical Arab and Indian police if your Chineseopponent in Chinesechesssudden-
chess.For that reason,at the start of the game,there is a ly announcesthat he is going to take your car.
row of nine pieceson the back rank in Chinesechess,as Similarly, almost all of the other pieces in Chinese
opposedto only eightpiecesin internationalchess. chesshave two or three possible names.The knight can
Chinesechesshas only five pawnsto eachside.These be calied the horse,the bishop can be cailed the elephant,
start on the fowth ranlg not on the second,and havegaps the guard can be called the assistant,the cannon can be
in betweenthem. called the gunner or the gun, the pawn can be called the
There is one piece which is much different from any footsoldier and the king can be called the general. Any
piecewhich existsin internationalchess.That is calledthe new player will just have to get used to hearing these and
cannon.It givesa 1otof trouble to any experiencedplayer other possiblenamesfor the variouspieces.
of internationalchesswho tries to take up Chinesechess. The Asian ChineseChessAssociation. of which twelve
In the initial positio4 the caruronsort of hangsin mid-air countries ate members, previously adopted the conven-
on the third rank of the board. tion of calling the pieces by the following names:charioL,
horse, elephant, assistant,gunner, pawn and king. In a
How the Piecesare Named. meeting at Kunming, China in 1990,they dropped chariot
Although there are sevendifferent tj?es of pieces,no in favor of rook and gunner in favor of cannon.However,
agreementhasyet been reachedas to what namesto call we will call the pieces by the namesrool hright, bishop,
them. Westernerstend to use the samenameswhich are guard,cannoq pawn and king.
familiar to them from internationalchess.Chinesetend to
use the word which is the direct translationof the name The Piecesand their Movements
of that piece from Chineseinto English.Thus, the piece Each player has a total of 16 pieces,of seven different
which startsin the corner and has the power to move and types.There are five pawns, two rook, two knights, two
capturevertically and horizontallyis called the 'rook' by bishops,two guards,two cannonsand one king in each of
Westerners,but the Chinese usually call it either the the opposing armies.They move from one intersection of
'chariot' or the 'car'. The reason for this is that the lines to another.Their movesare asfollows:

-10- -11 -
ROOK - moves any number of un- KING - moves exactlyone point 1eft,
obstructedpoints left, right, forward or @ right, forward or backward. The king
backward.In other words, it moves ex-
actlylike a rook in internationalchess.
@ cannotleavethe imperial palace.Unlike
the king in internationalchess,the king
in Chinesechesscamot move diasonal-
KNIGHT - movesone point 1eft,dght, ly. A rule of utmost importanceI that
0 forward or backwardplus one point fiu- the two kings are not allowed to face
ther diagonallyright or left in the same
@ each other across the board. ln other
direction.In other words,it movesexact- words, if the two enemykings are on the
ly the sameas the knight in intemational same 1ine, there must be at least one
chess.However, there is one big dif- other piecein betweenthem.This rule is
ference. The knight in Chinese chess importantto rememberbecausethe kins
cannot jump. For exampie,if there is often takespart in a checkmatingattackl
anotherpiece one point directly in front
of the knight, it will not be able to move
CANNON - moveslike a rook but cao-
BISHOP - moves exactiy two points rures by jumping. This is the hardeit
diagonally, but carurotjump and cannot piece for a player of internationalchess
crossthe river. Therefore,there are only to leam. In order for the cannonto cap-
sevenpossiblepointswhich a bishopcan ture an enemy piece, there must be
occuDv. anotherpiece in between,called a ,gun
mount', which the cannon 'fires' over.
GUARD - moves exactly one point The gun mount can belong to either
diagonally,but cannotleavethe imperial side.
palace. There are only five possible
pointswhich a guardcan occupy.

-12- -13_
PAWN - movesand capturesby moving side will generally be a little bit different from the
one point forward. After the pawn has Chinesecharacteron the same piece used by the black
crossedthe river, it acquiresthe power side. However, the Chinese character for the bishop is
to move and captureone point to either completely different for the opposing sides. The red
the left or right. In Chinese,this is called 'minister' whereas
bishop uses the Chinese character for
a 'river-crossingpawn'. Unlike the pawn the black bishop uses the Chinese character for
in international chess, the pawn in 'elephant'. However, in the spoken language, the two
Chinesechessmovesand capturesin the wordsare pronouncedin the sameway.
sameway.Also unlike the pawn in inter- This practice does not &luse as much confusion as you
nationalchess,it cannotmove two points might imagine. More than that, if the set gets old atrd the
forwardon the first move. paint wears off, you wili still know which piece belongs to
which side,becauseof the different characterused.
Colors of the Pieces In the official sets designed by the Asian Chinese
In official sets used in recognizedtournaments,the Chess Association, the red pieces and the equivalent
pieces are colored red and black. Red moves first. biack pieces are indicated by exactly the same Chinese
However, sets used by the general public use a wide characters. This is supposed to make it easy for non-
variety of colors.For example,on some sets the pieces Chineseto take up the game.
are blue and green. Alnost any color will do. There is Many experiments have been made over the years
alsono conventionabout which side movesfirst. In infor- using figurine pieceslike those in intemational chess.The
mal games,Black movesfirst almostasoften asRed. purpose of these experiments has been to get more
Westernersinterested in Chinese chess.These experi-
Shapeof the Pieces ments have failed, however, because most Westerne$,
The Chinesedo not usefigurinepieces.In other words, having once learned the game, prefer to use pieces with
the knight is not shapedlike a horse.Instead,the pieces Chinese characterswritten on them rather than figurine
consistof flat disks with Chinesecharacterswritten on pteces.One person in Hong Kong has even tried moving
them. Even here, there is no uniformity. On piecesused the pieces off of the points and onto squaresby creating a
in mainlandChina the Chinesecharacterusedon the red boardof 9 by 10squares,without success.

-74- -15-
The Asian Chinese Chess Association has adopted a
The Board
standard Chinese chessset to be used in all official com- Diagram 2 showsthe bare board. Notice that there is
petition. On one side of eachpiece is the Chinesecharac-
an empty sector in the middle called the river. It simply
ter of the piece and under it is the name of the piece in divides the board into half. It only directly affects trvo
English. For example,the lnight has the Chinese charac- pieces.The bishopis not allowedto crossthe river. Also,
ter for 'horse' on it and under that the English word the pawn acquiresthe power to movesidewaysafter it has
'horse'. The pieces
can also be turned over, if either crossedit. The major pieces,the roolg the knight and the
player wishes, and on the other side are pictures of the cannon,canmovefreely backand forth acrossthe river.
piecein question,suchas a horseor an elephant. The secondfeatureis the imperiaipalace.This is a sec-
This set seems to represent tle best solution to this tion of 3 by 3 points on either side of the board. It is
diffrcult problern- There are only seven Chinese ihess markedby an 'X'.
charactersto remember, plus the name is also written in Neither the king nor his guards are allowed to leave
English. This mal<esthese pieces rather easy to com- the imperial palace.
prehend. Under tle official rules, either player has the
right to insist that all the pieces be turned over and the
side with pictures of horsesand elephantsused. However,
it is noteworthy that so far there is no known caseof any
player having asked for this. It seemsthat everyone feels
that the Chinesecharactersare easierto remember.
Most readersprobably do not have a Chinesechessset.
If you ca:rnot find a set, ask your local gems51s1sto carry
some. Good quality sets are available from Ishi PressIn-
ternational, 76 Bonaventura Drive, San Jose, CA 95134
and 20 Burges Place, I-ondon NW1 OIE. Meanwhile, we
have included and a set of paper piecesat tle back of the
book. You can cut these out and draw a board on a piece 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
of paper. Dia. 2. The Board

_t6_ -t7-
There are also other markings on the board. These cannon. Note, however, that the cannon captures dif-
vary from board to board. Usually,they show where the ferently, bYjumPing.
pawnsand the cannonsare initially placed.These marl- Diagram 4 showsthe movement of the knight. It is of
ings are just to help the player orient himself, like the great importance to note that the lcright cannot jurnp.
'a', 'b' and
white and black colored squaresused in international Thus, the red knight here can move to points
chess. 'c'but not to 'd' or 'e'. Also, the red knight can capture
either of the nvo black knights shown in the diagram, but
The Initial Set-Upand PieceMovements the black knights cannot capture the red ladght. Both
Diagram 1 on page 9 showsthe initial sefup. Moving blackknightsare blockedby other pieces.
from the corners to the middle are the rooks, knights,
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 23 4 s 6 7 8 9
bishops,guardsand king, in that order. In ftont are five
pawns.Below and betweentnem are two cannons. \ll
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
li I Gi
n 64 YT_l_l_r_l_r
( i Il ti \--

-f, I
c \ 1 , /

\ / \
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4
i Dia.4 DilL 5

9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1 Diagram 5 shows the movement of the bishop. Since

Dia 3 the bishop moves exactly two points diagonally and can-
not cross the river, there are only sevenpossible points
Diagram 3 showsthe movementsof the rook and the which the bishop can occupy. Pleasework this out until

_18_ _19_
you understandthis important fact. The points to
which Diagram 7 showsthe movementsof the pawns.Note
the bishop can move are marked by dots. Note that the
that a pawn that has crossedthe river has three possibie
black bishopcannotmove to point ,a,becauseit is biock_
legal moves.Sucha pawn is strongand dangerousto the
ed by a pawn.A bishopis a purely defensivepiece,since
enemypieces,whereasa pawn which has not yet crossed
it cannotcrossthe river and attackthe enemyking.
the river is almostworthless.Also note that a pawn can
Diagram 6 showsthe movementsof the guarls. Since
the guard can only move one point diagonally and cannot Diagram8 givesexamplesof the capturingmove of the
leave the imperial palace, there are only five possible
camon. Note that the cannon can captue the enemy
points on which the guard can ever land. Again,
please knight but camot move to point 'a'. The two cannonscan
work out the reason for this. Each guard starts in
the capfureeachother but cannotcapturethe rook.
corner of the imperial palaceand thereforehas only one
legal move.A guard in the center of the imperial palace t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
h.asfgur possiblelegal moves.A guard is a purely defen_
sivepiece.It guardsthe king. a!
\ a
ti { UA
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 67 8 9 i

( {v
.\tz )-
:i-1ft-rx-r- 5 4 3 2 |

Object of the Game

5 4 3 2 1 6 5 4 3 2 1 The object of the game in Chinese chessis to win the
Din.6 Dia 7 enemy king either through checkmate or stalemate. A

_20_ -21,-
stalematewins the game,just like a checkmate.In other hiter tries to do is to determinethe guilt. In other words,
words, unlike in internationalchess,a stalemateis not a lhere is usually one player, usually the player with the
draw but rather is a win for the sidegiving stalemate. weakerpositionon the board,who keepsattackinghis op-
ponentand forcing the opponentto move back and forth,
Draws in that case,the guilty player will be ordered by the ar-
The draw rule is the most complicatedrule in Chinese bitcr to changehis sequenceof moves.However, some-
chessand in fact has not yet been formalized.The reason rimes it happens that both players are attacking each
for this is that perpetualcheckand perpetualrepetitionof other.In that case,the gameis a draw.
movesare quite cornmonpossibilitiesin Chinesechess.In This is sucha complicatedsubjectthat it is beyondthe
fact, if playerswereallowedto force a draw try perpetual scopeof this book. The Hong Kong ChineseChessAs-
repetition of position,as they are in international chess, sociationhas publisheda book of disputedpositionsand
then almost everyfairly evenlycontestedgameof Chinese what the ruling of the arbiter was and the reasoningbe-
chesswould end in a draw. hind the ruling in variouscases.Also, the Asian Chinese
As a result, perpetual check is almost absolutely ChessAssociation and the ChinaChineseChessAssocia-
prohibited. Generally,the playergivingperpetualcheckrs tion are in disagreementconcerningsomefiner points of
required to make some other move instead.The catchis theserules.
about this word 'generally'.If the player canprove that he Fortunately,thesedisputedcasesare fairly rare and a
is being forced by his opponentto give perpetualcheck, beginningplayer does not need to be much concerned
then the gamemight be ruled a draw. aboutthem. However,Dia. 9 is intendedto be a rudimen-
An even more difficult caseariseswhen the positionis taryexampleof howthis problemm.ightarise.
being repeatedbecauseone of the playerskeepsattacking In Dia. 9 (nextpage),the playerof the black pieceshas
an enemy piece or else keeps threatening checkmate, an overwhelming material advantage.Therefore, the
without actually giving check. In such cases,the player player of the red pieceswould be quite happy to get a
who is forcingthe other to movewill be requiredto make draw. Right now, the black cannonis being attackedby
a different moveand the gamewill continue. the red rook. The only placewhere the cannoncan move
In official tournamentsthere are sometimesdisputes and avoid captureis to point 'a'. However, in that case,
about this and an arbiter has to be called. What the ar- then the red rook wlll move to point 'b' and attack the

-22- -23 -
cannon again. The cannon will have no choice but to is just like passing a death sentenceon Red. Therefore,
'b'. The can-
move back to its present position. The rook will also the arbiter must rule that Red can move to
movebackandthe positionwill be repeated. non then movesback to its presentposition, where it does
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 not threaten mate. When Red also moves bach Blacr
againcomplainsto the arbiter.
What will the arbiter now rule? In this particular posi-
tioq he will probably rule that Red must make a different
move, which will result in a win for Black However,
nobody can sayfor sure,becausethe autlorities are not in
fr:ll agreement on this kind of situation. Fortunately, it
doesnot happen often enough to be of any great concern
to the reader at this stage.

6 5 The Chinese use a descriptive system of notation to
Dia.9 record their games. Under this systern, a move is
described with words like: 'Cannon on the second line
This caseappean to be fairly clear cut. The rook is movesover to the fifth line.' This, incidentally, is regarded
clearly forcing the cannonto move back and forth. The as the best fust move for Red in Chinese chess.These
cannon is merely trying to escape.Therefore, the side words are reduced to symbols.Using these symbols,this
with the rook is guilty of trying to force a draw and conse- move is written 'C2.5' or possibly'A=5'. The vertical
quentlyshouldbe orderedto makeanothermove. Iines are numbered from l" to 9 from each player's right.
But wait! When the cannonmovesto 'a', it just so hap- Thus, the first line for the player of the red pieces is the
pens that coincidentallyit threatensto move to point 'c', sameas the ninth line for the player of the black pieces.
which is checkmate.There is only one defenseto check- Other legal first moves by the cannon include 'cannon
mate.That is for the red rook to move to point 'b'. If the on second advancesfour', which is written 'C2+ 4' ar'rd,
arbiter rules that Red is not allowedto make this move,it on secondrefeats one',which is written 'C2-1'.

-24 - -25_
Rook movesand king moves are written in the same and never less.This conformsto the Chinesesystemof
way. However, the recording of knight moves is a bit orderllness.
tricky.The idtial knight movemight be written 'knight on One of the first things which just about every
secondadvancesto third' or, in symbols,'N2+3'. If one Westemerdoeswhen he decidesto takeup Chinesechess
looks at the position on the board,one will find that there is to invent his own algebraicsystemfor recording the
is only one point on the third line to which the knight on moves.Under this sort of systerq the vertical lines go
the secondline can legaily advance.Becauseof the way from a to i and the horizontallines go either from 0 to 9
the knight moves,this will alwaysbe true. Incidentally,we or from 1 to 9 and then to 0. Thus,an initial knight move
are following the conventionfrom internationalchessin 'Nh0-g2'.Seeif you canfind
by Red might be recordedas
which a knight is designatedby the letter 'N'. This avoids this move on the board in the initial position.If you are
confusionwith the 'K' for king. havingtroubie, then you will understandwhy this sort of
Sometimesit will happenthat a player has t'wo of the algebraicsystemhas not been successful. As a hint, you
same kind of piece on the same line. In that case,the shouldlnow that the samemove is recordedulder the
move of the piecewill be generallybe recordedas for ex- Chinesesystemas'N2+3'.
ample "front knight advancesto six" which is ryrnbolized This is not to saythat the Chinesenotationalsystemis
as 'FN + 6' or "backrook over to nine" rvhichis written as all that wonderful. In every book on Chinese chcss
'BR.9'or 'BR :9'.
publishedin Chinesethere are numerousrecording er-
On rare occasionsin the endgameor in composed rors.In fact, theseerrorsare so numerousthat they seem
problems,it happensthat there are three pawns on tie to appearin almosteverypublishedgame.Part of the task
same line. Then, a move might be recorded as 'middle in plalng over a publishedgameis figuringout what must
pawnover to five'or'MP=5'. Peoplewho are interested havehappenedwhen a mistakeappearsin the score.The
in such things have found ingeniousways to record the Chinesedo not seemto considerthis to be any sort of a
movesin even more complicatedsituations,such as five problem.They seemto thint that correctingmistakesis
pawnson the same1ine.However,thesecasesneverreally lust a normal part of the process of playing over a
arisein actualp1ay. publishedgame.
It shouldbe observedthat any move in Chinesechess Perhaps the Chinese should consider adopting an aI-
can be written with exactlyfour characters,never more gebraicsystemto reduce the frequencyof these type of

-26- _27 _
mistakes,just as international chess has finally done. As a test,try makingthe following movesfrom the ini-
However, for the moment, there are more than one tial positionin Chinesechess:1. C2=5, N2+3; 2. N2+3,
hundredmillion Chinesewho are usedto the presentsys- C8=6;3. P3+1,N8+7; 4. N8+9, R9+1; 5. C8=7,
tem and it would be foolish for anyoneto try to swim R1=2; 6. R9:8, C2+4. By now, you should have
asainstthe tide. reachedthe positionin Dia. 10a.If you havedone so suc-
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 cessfully,then you havemasteredthe notationalsystemin
Chinesechess.By the way, this is a standard opening
variation,so you have learned somethingby taking the
dme to play over thesemoves.Dia. 10bis the sameposi-
tion aswill be found in a book publishedin Chinese.Note
that in the opposingarmies,the pawns,bishopsand kings
are different, whereas the rooks, cannons,knights and
guards are the same. This diagram is from a book
publishedin Singapore.These,in turrL are different from
the 'official' pieces designatedby the Asian Chinese
ChessAssociation.In the official pieces,the red bishopis
1 1 3 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
the sameasthe blackbishop,for example.The purposeof
Da 10a Dia.10b the official piecesis to make it simplerfor non-Chineseto
The Asian ChineseChessAssociationhas adoptedthe
conventionof using a dot rather than an equalssign to
record a horizontal move. Therefore, the first move
'C2.5' rather than 'C2=5'. However,
should be written
just to be obstreperous, we againwill not follow the offi-
cial system,but rather will use equals.This seemsto be
more logical and consistent,since the mathematical s).'rn-
'-') are alsobeingused.
bols for plus and minus ('+' and

-28- -29 -
Don't get overconfident.Diagram 12 is a much harder
ChapterThree s35e.The black king is in checkfrom the red rook. That is
easyenough.However,the king cannotmove to the right
becauseit cannotleavethe imperial palace.AIso, it can-
Checkmateand Stalemate not move to the left becauseof the important rule that
two kings can never face each other. Pleaseremember
Now, we will move on quickly to examplesof check- this. This rule is so important that it will be repeated
mate. Someof theseexampleswill be a little bit hard for again.The kings can neverface eachother. Another way
the beginningplayer, but it is important to underctand to explainthe sameidea is to saythat the king moveslike
this section. a rook when it comesto checkingor capturingthe enemy
We will start with an easycase.In Dia. 11, Black is in king"
checkmate becausehis king cannot escape from the t 2 3 45 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
enemyrook. This exactcheckmatemight occur in inter-
nationaichess. .4 \ l-\
\ \ I
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ,
\ 7),
,/N ./t \ \

ft n

-a ,a

6 5 4 / o i )

. ) ( v \ ,/,x Dia.13 Dia.14
6 5 4 7 6 5
Diagram 13 is another hard case for the beginning
Da 11 Da 12 player.The black king is in checkfrom the red rook, but

it looks like the king can just capture the rook, or else Rememberthat the cannoncapturesby jumping. ln this
move away.However,it cannot.The king cannotcapture case,it will jump over the guard and capturethe enenry
the rook becauseit cannot leave the imperial palace. king. The only possiblemove of the guard is blocked by
Also, it cannot move away because it cannot move the other guard.It is important to observehow the guards
diagonally.The only escapepoint which the king might have causedtheir own king to be checkmated.If either
haveis now occupiedby its own rook. guardwere removed,then it would not be checkmate.If
Diagram 14 (preceding page) is an example of the guardto the right of the king is removed,then it is not
stalemate.It doesnot look like the gameis over,but it is. even chec\ becausethe camon needs to have a sun
The red knight attack the only two points to which the mount to jump over in order to captue tfre nng. ahq if
black king might be able to move. Again, Red wins be- the guard in front of the king is removed,then Black has
causeBlack has no legal move. Rememberthat the king two waysout of check.He can move the king forward or
cannotmovediagonallyand cannotleavethe palace. he can move the guardup. ff you do not understandthis,
pleasestudythis diagramcarefully,becausethis particular
t 2 3 45 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 matecomesup all the time.
\!)- \-r \ t Diagram 16 is anothercolrmon checkmateby the can-
I / ( ri
,,Y\ Fn
non. The king cannotmove to the left becausethat point
is attackedby the knight. It is imporrant ro nore rhat the
, , 1o
: , black guard can capturethe red knight,but this doesnot
affect the checkmate,becausethen the cannonwill jump
overthe guard.
Diagram 17 (next page) is similar to Dia. 16 except
that the black king is on a differentpoint. Now, the guard
1't / \ , i-/\ cannot capture the knight becausein that casethe two
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 | 1 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 r enemykingswill faceeachother.
Dia 15 Da 16 Diagram 18 (next page) is one of the most common
and important checkmatesin all of Chinesechess.please
Diagram 1-5is an exampleof checkmateby the cannon. study this diagram carefully.The red rook attacks the

-32- -33-
black king. The black king cannot capturethe red rook can
6xx5ethe lear camon
becausethen the nvo kings would face each other. The iump over the front cannon'
next point is important.The black guard cannot captue in this diagrarn,
the red rook becausein that casethe red cannonwould Black has two bishoPs,two
be checkingthe black king. guards,a cannonand a roo\
^ll of *hi.h can seem to
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
movein front of the cannons
and block the check.
Flowever,it is still check-
mate becausein that case
the front cannon $/ill be 6 5
givingcheck.Also, the front
carutoncan be capturedby Dia.19
)2 the rook or the knight,but
\r_ that will still not affectthe checkmate.

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Dia 17 Dia 18 Examplesof Checkmate
Diagrams 20 through 30 are a1l examplesof mates'
Stareat Dia. 18for aslong asit takesfor you to under- (From here on, we will consider both stalematesand
stand it. If you still don't get it, do not be concerned. checkmatesto be simply mates,that is, wins)' ln each
Your opponentswill be happy to demonstratethis par- case,it is Black to move, but Black has no lega1move'
ticular checkmateto you hundredsof times until you get Pleasetake as much time as you need and go through
the hangof it. thesediagramsone by one until you are surethatyotl un-
Diagram 19shcwscheckmateby two cannons.Again,it derstzmdwhy each one is mate. Remember that check-
is important to understand why this is checkmate. mate and stalemateends the game' so there is nothing
Presently,the king is in checkfrom the rear cannon,be- more importantthan to be ableto recognizethem.

-34- -35-
Examplesof Mate Examplesof Mate
t 2 3 4 s 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 11 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
\. ,
fr V
/ ^
r0 A1

tl ,
{K.)- 4\ \l
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Da 20 Da 21 Da 24 Dia 25
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
\ v \w_
v \
t l A
a l\\ o# E'V

I i :

l--traTt-.] \r'
\r/ lr
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2I 1

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 ) 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Dia.22 Dia.23 Dia 26 Dia 27

-36- 7.'7
.\ ,/\vl downagainstan opponentand play a reai garne.
, @ z/D\
The fine art of checkmateis much more important in
Chinesechessthan it is in intemationalchess.The reason
for ttus is that in intemationalchess,you generallytry to
win material or queen a pawn. Most of the time, you do
not think about administeringcheckmateuntil you have
aLready acquiredoverwhelmingforce.
\ In Chinesechess,if you win a whole bunch of material,
vll \ ^:\ you are probablydoing somethingwrong.A playerwho is
6 5 4 7 6 5 far aheadin matedal has probablyalreadymissedseveral
mating possibitties.AIso, the cannon tends to become
Da 28 Da.29 weakeras the enemypiecesare removedfrom the board.
Therefore,you need to concentrateprimarily on how to
If you havecompletedyour mateyour opponent,not on how to win material.
studyof all of thesediagrams,
\ ,v,/
try setting up your own ,^(
mating positions. Actually, ,\n
there are not that many.The
Quiz Number One
same mates tend to occur Diagrams31 through 40 are Quiz Number One. You
again and again.Perhapsyou are askedto decidewhethereachposition is mate or not.
could qeate your own small If the position is not mate,then Black has only one legai
library of possiblecheckmates move.The answersstart on page42. If you do not score
(including stalemates).You
will need to developthis skill
/A lffi%, go backuntil you understandwhat you did wrong.

of creating mating positions, 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

becausethat is what you will Dia.30
be trying to do when you sit

-38- -39 -
Quiz One. Is Black Mated? Is Black Mated?
euiz One.
| 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
lt , \ I
1H '- t I
) I E{
) \

G l !l" l ' 1 "

t )

lb,\A ,4
4) 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Da 31 Dia 32 Dia 35 Dia. 36

t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 s 6 7 8 9
7 E'! X ,/
( i r
G \\
l 9

d '\
,r\l '\,/

4^) ,#/L\
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Dia.33 Dia. 34 Dia 37 Dia 38

-40- -41 -
34. This is not checkmate.The guard simply captures
G )>7\
1\.!: fa Y\Y/ the knight.
!t ^j/; /v\
35. This is not checkmate.Black has one legal move:
-+-{e_|_-{-|-- 36. Not checkmate.Black plays N3-5, capturing the
I Y l l l
rear cannon.
t /
A\ 37. Mate by stalemate.If Black movesthe rook or the
9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2| knight,then the cannontakesthe king.
Dia.39 Dia.40
38.Not checkmate.Black'sonly moveis B3 + 1.
AnswerTo Quiz Number One @iagrams 31 - 40)
39, Double checkbut not checkmate.Black playsB5-7.
31. This position is mate (by stalemate).The guard
cannotretreatbecauseof checkby the cannon. 40. Not checkmate.Red hasjust playedN5 + 6, giving
triple check.The knight,rook and cannonare all checking
32. Also mate (by stalemate).The black guard cannot at the same time. However, in spite of this, Black can
move, becausethe knight would capture the king. Note merelystepawaywith K5 : 6.
that the black king is not presentlyin check. The red
knight, which would otherwisebe checkingthe king, is If you did score 100Vo,then you are ready for Quiz
blocked by the guard.Rememberthat the knight cannot NumberTwo, which is Dias. 41 through50. The question
jump. is whether Red has checkmatein one move and, if so,
how. Again, you really need to score1007oon this quiz,
33. This is not checkmate.Black has one legal move, or elsestudythis sectionsomemore.
RB:6, blockingthe knight.

-42- _43_
Quiz Number T$o @iagrams 41 to 50) euiz Two,DoesRed Have Mate in One?
DoesRed Have Mate in One?
| 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 I | 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 I t 2 3 45 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
t {RXC \ \try./ \ ,v/
Y Y >f,
A /
/i i\
\ li
4 I /i
s, \_v
- t li

{( )-
\1./ \Z
\\l ,/l>
---al )- \
I z\J
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Da 41 Da.42 Dia 45 Dia 46
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
\tl vst

,x\ \
,l 1t n
,t IiA


AA ,/ 1\.)
qf )-
ZN n{
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Dia.43 Dia.44 Da 47 Dia 48

*44- ^<
44. Red stalemateswith K4 = 5.
\{) ,l
a I i 45. Not checlffrate. ff Red plays R4 + 4, Btack surprises
) \L
v him by capturingthe rook with C3:6.
46. Not checkmate.If Red check with N4+3, Black
E)r€r€--rOl blocks the knight with R64 or caphfes with C1:7. If
RedplaysN4 + 6 check,Black hasCl :4.
\./ \1,/
,+4\ ,/l>,
I 47. Red has mate (by stalemate)with P6 + 1.

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 48. Red has checkmatewith R6+1. However,if Red

Da 49 Dia. 50 tries R6 = 5 double checlg Black merely steps away with
Answersto Quiz Number Two @iagrams 41-50)
49. Not checkmate.If C9=5 capturingthe rook with
41. Mate in one.Red mates(by stalemate)with N2+4 check,Black canplay N7-5.

42. Red has checkmatewith R2:4. If. instead,the red 50. Not checkmate.It is not legal to move the knight
rook retreats, giving check by the cannon, then Black becausetlen the two kings will face eachother. However,
rnerelyadvanceshis cannon,breakingthe check.This ex- if Red's king were on the fifth line rather than the fourth
ample comesup frequently. line, Red would give stalematewith N4 +5. N4 +3 would
not evenbe checkbecauseRed's knieht would be blocked
43. Red stalemateswith C5 + 3! Do not feel bad if you by his own oawn
didn't get that one.This blockingtheme is commonin ac-
tual olav.

-46- _47 _
W + I ??, C7 +7 cbeck;5. G4 + 5, C7:9 checkwinning
ChapterFour therook.
4. N8 +9. Unlike in internationalchess,it is quite nor-
A SampleGame 6al to placea knight on the edgelike this.
4 . . . .. , N 8 + 9 .
It is time to seewhat an actual game of Chinese chess 5. Rl =2, R1=2. Placingthe rookson open files is also
look like. Although the game selected is uncommonly a commonidea in intemationalchess.
short, it is a real game by Liu Chen Ching, a famous 6. C8=7. Both Red and Black have now adopted a
playerin the 1950's. popularattackingformationwhichwill be discussed in the
next chapter. While it is normal to see one side or the
1. P3 + 1. The most popular first move is cannonto the
center. The move here is one of the major alternatives. other set up this formation,it is lesscommonto seeboth
1. . . . . , C8 =7. Black attack the pawn right away, playersplay it at the sametime.
6.. . . ., P7+1. Black sacrifices a pawnand opensup
2. C2= 5, C2 = 5. Both playerscentralize their cannons.
3. N2+3, It would have been bad for Red to capture the gameradically.We havenow reachedDia. 51.
the pawn with C5+4 checlc Black would simply defend t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
against the check with G4+5 and tlen drive back the
cannon with N2+3, gaining a lead in development. A
pawn at this stageof the opening is almost worthless.It is
much more important to develop the piecesquickly.
3.... ., N2+3. Sinilarly,it wouldhavebeenquiteter-
rible for Black to captwe the pawn with C7+3. The
reason that Black attacked this pawn with his cannon on
the first move was not to try to win Red's third line pawrl
but rather to pressure any piece which might happen to
be behind that pawn For example, if Red's right side
7 6 5 4 3 2 1
knight had not come out on tle previolls move, Black
Dia. 51
could now have played 3. . . . . , Yl+l; hoping for 4.
-48- _49_
7. Y3+!, R2*4. The pupose behind the sacrificebe- 9. R9=8. Red rvouldhavebeenbetter off doingthis on
comesapparent.Black intends to recapture the pawn with .t L. I:rsrmoveand thenwouldhavebeenone moveahead
rr! '--
the rook, activating his pieces and putting strong pressue ,)f hisPresentdevelopment.
on Red's third line. g. . . .. , R2=8. Now, Black has recoveredthe
8. P3 =2. Red could not advancethe pawn with P3 + 1, sacrificedpawnwith a big lead in development.
because Black would simply capture it with the knight. 10. R2=1. Tenible. Red apparentiydid not want to
You can see that the knight, in spite of being stuck on the trade rooks becausehe felt that his right side would be
edge of the board, is already playing an active role in the unclefended. However,this passivemoveis just hopeless.
game. 10....., R8=7. Simultaneously attacking the knighl
8. . . . , , R9=8. It was probablya mistakefor Red to with both the cannonand the rook.
try to savethe pawn with the previous move. Now, Black 11.Rl +2. The only hope to defendeverything.If Red
has merely increased his lead in development and the tries N3-1, then Black traps the knight with R8+8. If in-
pawn is still in jeopardy. We are now at Dia. 52. stead 11. N3-5, Black pins the knight by capturing the
pawn with C5 + 4, threatening to end the game with
C7+ 7 check.
t7\ 11.. , . . , R8+8. A fatal penetration.
12. R8+4, R8=7. Now, Red resigns,Biack threatens
o6 ( ) li
to take the knight with the cannonwith C7+5. The red
7 o A\
knight is attackedby three piecesand defendedby only
two. Moreover, if the knight moves away with N3+4,
-.6 Black capturesthe pawn with C5 +4. After that, the two
t \ (
A -\7-
/A r^\ -\t
!)' \7- rook plus the two cannonsbearingdown on the virtually
\Yl (E
,A 6\ G
I tt
\ undefendedking guaranteesany number of possible
!ry checkmates. The final positionis found in Dia. 53.
fot n6\
6 5


ChapterFive ,

vrt ) €o(
How to Start the Game 7 rt tt


It may seema bit earlyto discussopeningtheory,but ir -l_ A

is no fun to try to play a game of Chinesechess,only to P)
i\ ,6\
/A\ -\7-
get crushedin the first eight moves.Fortunately,it is not 0r-

too difficult to get a reasonableposition out of the early / G\fr r-z\/l.-\/E \

z\\tr/\rv$.ry\u, \./-
opening.There are a number of formationswhich even 9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1
grandmasters use and yet beginnerscan learn to set them
Dia. 54
up without much difficulty.
Diagram54 is not intendedto representan achralplay- Meanwhile,Black has adopted one of the strongest
ing position (althoughit could be) but rather showstwo defensiveformations known to exist in Chinese chess.
"Fan Gong
possibleopeningformationswhich Red and Black might This formation is known in Chineseas the
well use.Each sidehasplayedsix moves.Most likely, Red Ma".It is alsothe favorite of manygrandmasters. The key
made his movesin the followingorder: C2=5, N2+3, to Black'sdefenseis the cannonon Black'ssixth line. At
first, this cannondoesnot seemto be doing anything.Ac-
R1 = 2, N8 + 9, R9 + 1 and C8:7. Meanwhile,Black has
tually,it is the glue which holds Black's entire position
made the following moves:N2 + 3, C8 = 6, NB+ 7, 83 + 5,
together.The camon directly protects the knight on
Black'sthird lile becauseof the bishopwhich actsas the
Red has adopted a shong attackingformation which
gun mount betweenthe cannonand the knight. The can-
many grandmastersplay. One cannon is on the center
non also indirectlyprotectsthe knight on Black'sseventh
line, where it menacesthe enemyking. The other is on
Iine,becauseit attacksthe point beyondit on the eighth
the seventhline, where it is lined up againstthe enemy
Itne. In other words, the red rook cannot now move up
knight. Both of Red's knightshavemoved out. The rooks
sevento attackthe knight with the move R2 +7, because
are alsodeveloped.
thenBlack'scannonwill caotureRed'srook.

<,) -53-
Note that Black has also moved up both one of lf5 va11tage,except for the fact that your opponentwill be
guards and one of his bishops.The two bishops noys ableto predict in advancewhat you are goingto play.
protect each other and the two guardsalso protect each The position in Dia. 54 is important from both sidesof
other. One guard alsoprotectsthe sixth line cannon.The the board, so we will continueto look at it. Notice the
presenceof the bishop in the middle enablesthe cannon nlacementof Red'srook. Red has diversifiedhis rooks,ir
to defend the knight on Black's third line. That bishop commonpractice in Chinesechess.One rook points up
alsoretardsRed's threatenedadvanceof the pawn up the the secondline. The other will probably come over to
seventhline. eirherthe sixth or the fourth line, from which it will try to
Black has movedup his seventhline pawn to free the penetrateto the ninth rank and sit on a point directly
knight.Rememberthat the knight is not allowedto jump. diagonalto the enemyking.
For this reason,the other knight on Black'sthird line can- Rememberthat for the moment,we are just looking at
not presentlymove anylvhereexceptbackwards.Also note the featuresof Red's formation,irrespectiveof the place-
that Black has moved up both the guard and the bishop ment of Black'spieces.In the actualposition in Dia. 54,
liom the same side. This will enable Biack to bring his Red'srook cannotpenetrateall the way up the fourth line
rook into play efficiently.One of Black'snext few moves becauseit is blockedby the cannon.It will alsoprobably
will probably be R1 :4, bringing the rook next to the nevermake it up the sixth line either, becauseas soon as
king. This preparesthe rook for actual penetrationinto the Red rook cornesto the sixth line, the Black rook will
Red'sposition. opposeit on Black'sfourth line and offer a trade of rook.
Black'sformation is so strong,so advisableand so easy (Rememberthat Red's sixth line is one and the sameas
to remember and set up, that it is recommendedthat Black'sfourth line, in casethis causesany confusion.)The
every beginning player adopt it whenever possible. point is that Red has adoptedhis current attackingforma-
However,this is not a beginner'sopening.Hu Long Hua, tion with certainobjectivesin mind, one of which is to try
the strongest player of Chinese chess in the world, to penetratewith his left handrook up the fourth or sixth
regularlyplayslike this. ln fact, he sometimeseven turns line,if Black ever giveshim a chanceto do so.
the board around and playsthe Fan Gong Ma from the One move which Red might considerright now is to
red side.In short,you canplay the Fan Gong Ma in every advancehis seventhline pawn. This does severalthings.
game for the rest of your life and not suffer any disad' First and foremost, it preventsBlack from immediately

advancinghis thlrd line pawn,which is what Black migl61 If the bishop movesawayto capturethe pawn, then the
otherwiseprobably do on the next move. Black wants1q knightwill be left undefended.
advancehis third line pawn in order to free the knighl. Now, Black is really worried, as well he shouldbe be-
L,et us supposethat Red now advancesthis palvn but .311sehis position is already nearly lost. He considers
Black is a weak playerand thinksthat his knight can come bringingup his knight with either N3 +4 or N3 +2. Justin
out anylvay.The game continues,7. n+\ P3+1?; g. time, he remembets that the opposingpawn has now
P7+ 1, reachingthe positionin Dia. 55. crossedthe river and therefore car move sidewaysand
caprurethe knight with either P7= 6 or P7 = 8, depending
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
on wherethe knight moves.
Finally,Black has a wonderful idea. He will move the
rook over to defend the knight with R1 :3. However,
thereis one little thing wrong with this.He hasplacedhis
rook into a self pirq which is an especiallydangerousthing
to do when there is an enemycannoninvolved.He will
not have to worry about this problem for very long,
however.Red will put him out of his misery right away
with P7+ 1. Now, the knight is lost. Black camot move
the knight anpvhere,becausethen Red will capturethe
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 rook with C? + 7. Therefore, Red has no choice but tr.r
Dia. 55 move somethingelse, following which Red will simply
Now, Black realizesthat he has just made a terrible capturethe knight with P7+ 1.
beginner'sblunder. He was thinking that he could now Sti1l,we cannotsaythat the positionin Dia. 55 is really
safeiyrecapturethe pawn by 85 +3, becausethe knight is lost.Black can more or lesssuwive,althoughhis position
defendedby Black'ssixthline cannon.However,he forgot is bad.His best chanceis to make anyrandomdeveloping
that, while the knight is now defendedby the cannonin moveand thereafterrefeat the knisht when it is attacked
the position in Dia. 55, this is only becausethe bishopln by the pawn.One ideawouldbe to playR1:4, activating
betweenthe lcright and the cannonactsas a gun mount. the rook. Now, Red aclvances with 9. P7+ 1, both attack-

ing and blockingthe knight.
Again, it must be rememberedthat the knight cann61
jump. In this position,which is now Dia. 56, the knight on
B1ack'sthird line has actuallyonly one legal move. Blac\
must play N3-2. If you do not understandwhy this is the
only legal move in this positionwith this particularlaighq
go back to the sectionon how t}te piecesmove.

l r
ri/i| a\^ 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
\ ,v )
ii /A I
( Dia. 57
a \r, \t
!t Note that the knight on Black's seventhljne cannot
-\ then capturethe cannonbecauseit is blockedby its own
A /A
(n G
\r7 {P'
ia\ ,6\
{BI cannonon the sixtl line. However,pawn captureslil<s1'ris

\^!z u are usually risky. Here, Black can immediately p)ay
R4+ 7, forking the camon and knight. Red has a defense.
crClilddrr He brings the knight back with 11. N3-5, defendingthe
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 camon. However, this type of defenseis generallybad.
Dia. 56 Here,it leavesRed's king with no point of escape.Black
cannow play K5:4, reachingDia.57. This sneakyking
The game goes on. Black has lost a pawn and an movethreatenscheckmatewith R4 +2. Red, who had al-
enemy pawn has crossedthe river. However, Black has mosta winning position until just two movesago,is now
somecompensation. Red useda lot of movesto bdng up Iost. I:Ie avoids immediate checkmateby interposinga
this pawnwhile Blackcontinuedhis development.By the pawnwith 12. P7=6, breaking the connectionbetween
way,Red can now win a secondpawnwith 10.C5 + 4. Black'sking and rook. (It would havebeen much better,

-58- -59-
instead,to interposea cannonwith 12.C5 =6). Black now - =
11. N3-5, K5 4; 12. P7 6; R44; 13. N5 + 4, R4 + 6; 14.
capturesthe pawnwith R4-4. (J+1, R4=f; 15. N4+5, R6-6;16. R9-6, C2=4; 17.
Since we have gone this far, we will show how 1!15
R6+5,C6-1;18.C7=6, N2+4; 19.R6=7 Blackresigns.
game might continue.Red, realizingthat he is lost, tries
to mix it up with 13. N5 +4. Black could now just win 3 1 2 3 4 s 6 7 8 9
cannon with R4:5, but he is greedy and wants more.
Therefore, he plays R4+6 check.Red cannot take the
rook, becauserwo kings cannotface each other, so he is
forced to play 14. K5+1. After R4=6, the gamemight
continue 15. N4 + 5, R6-6 (trapping the carlnon); 16.
R9:6, (2:4; 17. R6+5, C6-1 (auackingthe cannon
with the knight); 18. C7=6 (so that if Black rries to win
the cannonwith N7+5, Red irstead wins the rook with
R4:5, discoveringcheck with the cannon,followed by
R-5='4)N2+4 (if Black playsK4=5, Red can snapoff 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
th, t,rrxoll with R6+1); 19. R6=7 reachingDia. 58. Dia.58
Blat.r now resigrsbecausehe has no answerto the threat Why has a1l this attention plus four diagramsbeen
of R6 + 3 mate since both his cannonand his knight on devotedto such a bad game starting with essentiailya
the fourth line arepinnedby the red cannonto the king. beginner'sblunder on the seventhmove?Becausegames
This has been a poorly played game. First, Black like this happen all the time, that's why. The tlpe of
blundered a pawq then Red nearly got himself check- blundersmade in this game are rather typicai of those
mated, and then Black misplayedan easilywinning posi- madeby new playersof Chinesechess.Actua1ly,this was
tion, got his piecescompletelytangledup and lost. Here an inventedgame.No two humansreally playedlike this.
is the completescoreof this gamefor posterity:L A=5, We will return againto a discussionof Dia. 54,because
N2+3; 2. N2+3, C8=6; 3. R1=2, N8+7; 4. N8+9, the formationsof both Red and Black are to be recom-
B3+5; 5. R9+1, P7+1; 6. C8=7, M+5; 7. P7*1, mended. As noted previously, Red's next move will
P 3 + l ; 8 . P 7 * 1 , R l = 4 ; 9 . P 7 + 1 ,N 3 - 2 ; 1 0C. 5 + 4 R 4 + 7 , probablybe to advancethe seventhline pawnwith P7+ 1

-60- -6r-
This is a good move becauseit freezesBlack'sthild line nawncornot be moved now, however,becauseit will be
knight. It also gives the Red knight on the ninth line 3 crpnrredby the enemypawn. After that, the black pawn
chanceto get into the gamewith a future N9+7. AIso, a1 rvouldadvanceand push back the red knight, just as the
some future point in the game,Red might advancefuig hlackknightwaspushedbackin Dias.55,56 and57.
seventhline pawn agair with the idea that if the pawr One way in which Red might try to get his knight out
capturesthe pawn, then the cannoncapturesthe knight. sone daywill be to bring his secondline rook up four and
Again, this does not work right now becauseof Black's then aclvancethe third iine pawn up one to force a trade
central placementof the bishop,as a result of which the of pawns.However,this will not work at present.If Red,
cannon defendsthe knight. However, later in the game, in Dia. 54, plays7. R2 + 4, Biack will counterwith R9 : B,
an advanceof the seventhline pawn is likely to be a offeringa trade of rooks.If Red acceptsthis offer with 8.
strongattackingidea. lndeed,that is exactlywhy Red has R2+5, Black recaptures with N7-8 and Black hasgained
placedhis cannonwhereit now is. irom this exchange.ln Dia. 54, Red had an active rook
There is still more to be saidaboutDia. 54. Notice the which controlled the secondfile, whereasBlack had a
placementof the red knights.One is near the center,but passiverook stuck in the corner. Now, Black has ex'
the other is on the edge.This will shockand horrif, most changedhis bad rook for Red'sgoodrook.
playersof internationalchess.There is a saylngin interna- On the other hand,if it was now Black'smove in Dia
"a knight on the rim is grim". Every
tional chessthat 54, he would not bring the rook directly over to oppose
beginneris told not to develophis lcrightsin this way. the red rook. The reasonfor this is that it would involvea
However, in Chinesechessit is not so bad to put a Iossof time. If Black to move now playsR9 : B, then Red
knight on the rim. Grandmastersdo it al1the time. There immediatelywill exchangerook. Red is quite happywith
are several reasonsfor this. A knight on the third or this exchangebecausehe has gained two moves.This is
seventhline is likely to be both undefendedand unableto the conceptknown in internationalchessasthe "tempo".
move.On the other hand,a knight on t}rerim is automati- This conceptis quite importantbecauseit comesup all
caliy subjectto protectionby the bishop.For example,the the time. We will illustrateit more clearlywith a position
third line lcright in Dia. 54 might be stuck in its present from an actual popular openingvariation shown in Dia.
position for a long time. It will probablynot be able to get 59.This positionarisesfrom the movesl. C2=5, C8=5;
into the game until the pawn in front of it moves.That 2 . N 2 + 3 .N 8 * 7 : 3 . R l = 2 .

-62- -63-
CompareDia. 61 to Dia. 60. In both casesit is Black to
move.Perhapsyou can see the difference.Black has one
exrra knight out. This makes al1 the difference in the
world.In Dia. 60, Red has a far superiorposition.In Dia.
61,the position is almost dead even and Red has nearly
givenawayhis advantageof the first openingmove.
Going back just one more time to Dia. 54, we have
now explained various reasons why the formations
adoptedby both sidesare consideredfavorable.However,
thereis no suchthing as a really solid position in Chinese
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 chess.Every position containsweaknesses. You just have
Dia.59 to try to do your best to stop your opponentfrom coming
In this position, Black cannot continue with 3 . . . in to exploit your weaknesses, whiie thinking of ways to
R8:9 becausethen Red exchanges rookswith 4. R2+9, exploityour opponent'sweaknesses.
N7-B;5. N8 +7, reachingDia. 60. Now, count the number
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
of pieceswhich havebeen developed.Red hasmovedout
three pieces:one cannonand two knights.Black, on the
other hand, has only one piece out: the cannon.He lost
two movesbecausethe knight moved out and then back.
It is now Black'smove.He may decideto bring the same
knight out again.That will still leavehim a move behind
where he would havebeenhad he not exchangedrooks.
lrt us sayinsteadthen that in Dia. 59, Black continues
with 3 ....N2+3. Now, if the red rook movesup the line
with R2 + 4, Black seizesthe opportunity with R9 = 8.
Then, if Red exchanges rooks with 5. R5 + 5, N7-8; 6. 9 8 7 6 5 4 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
N8 + 7, we reachDia.61. Dia 60 DirL 61

-64- -65-
f-et us considerfirst the weaknesses in Red's position and the knight next to it. The cannonright now is com-
in Dia. 54. Flis cannonoccuplesthe center,which is con- pletelyundefendedand the red rook might attackit with
sidereduseful in attackingthe enemyking. However, 45 jO = 8. The knight on the third line is defendedbut will
long asthe cannonstayswhereit is, the bishopscan never not be able to get out easily.It is alsoto someextenttied
get cnnnectedthe waythat Black'sbishopsare now. to the defenseof the centerpawn.
Another problem is with the knights.As alreadyex. One firal point shouldbe mentioned.Black in Dia. 54
plained,the knight on the third line might wind up stuck has a pawn en prise. However, nothing would please
there for a long time. The other knight is also not doing Biack more than for Red to capture this pawn with
so we1l.The best way for it to get out will be throughthe C7+ 4. This would be truly a beginner'smove.The reason
moves P9+ 1, N9 + 8, and N8 + 6, attacking the enemy rhis mnve is so weak is that then the cannonwill have
knight. Rememberthat in this resultingposition,the red nothing to do after it arrives on this point. Moreover,
knight is threateningto capturethe black knight but the Blackcan attackthe cannonby playingN7 + 6 foliowedby
black knight is blockedby the pawn and thereforecannot N6+ 4. If the cannonmoves away,Black's other knight
capture the red lcright. However, this maneuver takes will then be free. Al1 of Black'scurent problemswill be
time. It also conflictswith Red's more urgent plan to ad- solved.The rook now on Black's first line will come in
vancehis seventhline pawn,becausethat pawnwili block quickly,the two knightswill swarmall over and Red wil1
the knight from going from the eighth to the sixth line. be luckvto survivefor h.ventvmoves.
Fina1ly,Red is faced with the burden of being red.
Having the first move is a big advantage,much bigger
than in internationalchess,but this compelsRed to attack
stronglyand try to crushhis opponent.However,if the at-
tack fails,Red couldbe in trouble.
Black also has problems to worry about. Having a
bishop and a guard in front of the king is good for
defense,but preventsBlack from shiftinghis rooks quick-
ly from one side of the board to the other as Red can do'
He alsohasproblemswith the cannonon the secondline

ChapterSix rhenthe cannonwouid be worthless.
On the other hand, the knight has problerns in the
earlypart of the gamebecauseit is not able to jump. As
RelativeValue of the Pieces thepiecesare clearedfrom the board,the knight becomes
strongerand stronger.
In intemational chessthere is a sort of mathematical Then there is the pawn. The pawn becomestremen-
formula which saysthat a pawn is worth one, a knight or douslystrong and valuable in the endgame.Without a
bishopthree,a rook five and a queennine. Thus,a queen pawnit is often impossibleto win, evenwith force which
and a rook are worth two bishops,two knights and two wouldseemto be overwhelming.For example,it is pos-
pawns.This formula has proven over time to be surpris- sible to be a fu1I rook ahead and not have sufficient
ingly accurate. mating matedal because of not having any pawns.
In Chinesechessthere is no suchformula. In order to However,just one pawn aheadcal be enoughto win the
appeasethe cravingby someplayersof intemationalchess game.
On the other hand, in the opening,a pawn can be ac-
for a formula which applies to Chinesechess,one oc-
casionallyseessuch a formula, but this conceptis really tuallyworth lessthan nothing.Pawnsget in the way of the
rooksard especiallyof the knights.If the pawnswere not
invalid.However,certainobservations canbe rnade.
alwaysgettingin the way,the lnights could quickly come
First, the rook is by far the strongestpiece.In fact,it is
outwith devastatingforce.
evenstrongerthan a lnight plus a camon combined.Two
The bishopsand guardsare purely defensivein nature.
cannonsplus a knight or rwo knightsplus a cannonare
Therefore,they havezero value in somecasesto a player
sfonger than a rook, however.
who is attacking.A player who is in no dangerof losing
Second,the knight and the cannonare about equal.It
will find the gr-rards
and bishopsto be valueless,exceptin
all dependson the position.In the earlypart of the game, so:rlecaseswhen he is attackingwith the cannon and
when the board is cluttered with pieces,the cannonis wanbto bring it aroundbehind a guardin order to check
stronger. L,ater on, as the pieces are cleared from the thc king. The guard is a strong piece when defenriing
board, the knight gets strongerand the camon weaker. againstthe knight but often worse than wor.thlesswhen
The reason for this is that the cannon cannot capture ctetencling againstthe cannon.See,for example,Dia. 15
without jumping. If there were no pieces to jump over,
-68- -69-
where Black is in checkmateonly becauseof his oy1
stupid guards.It often happensthat a defender rn the Chapter Seven
endgamewill try to throw awayhis guardsand bishops,
especiallyif being attackedby a cannon.
If a player has one pawn in the endgame,but thar
pawn has crossedthe river and is slowly approachingths
enemyking, exactlyhow valuableis it? It may be worth a One thing which a player of international chesswill
thousandpoints if it is threateningto give checkmate. haveto do if he wantsto take up Chinesechessis to learn
Otherwise,it might not be worth an).thing.A defenderis howto think differently.In other words,he shouldtry to
reshape the strucntreof hisbrain.
often willing to trade both of his bishops for just one
In spite of the similarity betweenthe two games,the
slowly approachingpawn. Otherwise,the pawn may just
slip pastthe bishopsand renderthem useless. basicstrategicideas are fundamentallydifferent between
In short, there .is no valid way to assignany fixed them. For example,in international chessthere is the
conceptof the centersquares.Ideally,you try in the open-
numericalvalue to any of the pieces.It all just dependson
ing to occupythe center squareswith pawnsand to con-
the oosition.
trol themwith pieces.
No such concept existsin Chinesechess.The actual
physicallocation of the center of the board has no
strategicsignificancein Chinesechess.However,there is
a differentidea. Red usuallytries to attackup the center
Iine by putting a cannonon that line becausethe enemy
kinghappensto be on that line. If that line is blocked,he
insteadtries to attackup the fourth or sixth line. Another
rdeais to try to put a rook or a cannonor both on the
enemy'sback rank in order to attack the king from the
A different considerationis that there are no long
diagonalpiecesin Chinesechess.There is no queen or
-70 - -11 -
long range blshop. In international chess,one fties 1o national cness'
keep the major piecesdefendedbecauseof the dangers1 1sinternationalchess,you usuallytry to keep the rooks
queen forks. One does not have to worry about this I connectedand preferablydoubled.Among other things,
Chinesechess.Even knight forks occur lessoften, siqpl, this protects t"hemfrom queen forks. In Chinesechess,
because the boardis bigger. thisis generallynot desirable.To the contrary,you often
In Chinesechess,as there are no big diagonalpieces, try to diversi$/the rooks. If they do not shareany com-
everything moves horizontally or vertically, unless you mon line or rank, they will cover more territory.
considerthe knight move to be a partially diagonalmove, Moreover,it can be dangerousto havetwo rook on the
Therefore, attackingand defensivepiecestake longerto sameline. If an enemy cannonmanagesto get on that
maneuveraround the board into the right position.Yen line,one of the rooksmight be lost.
will need to be able to see attack comingfrom a longer Blockingis important in Chinesechess.ln intemation-
range in order to be able to bring your defensivepieces al chess,one rarely tries to biock the enemypieces.The
around in time. You will alsoneed to keep remernbering queencannot be blocked becauseit is too strong, the
that the bestway to stopyour opponent'spiecesis usually bishopcannotbe blocked becauseit is too weak and the
by blocking them. You will not have been used to doing knight cannot be blocked becauseit can jump. The
this in internationalchess,and thereforewili keep forget- bishop,becauseit moves diagonally,cannot block the
ting about it in Chinesechess. rook and the rook cannot block the bishop. In Chinese
Often, an enemyrook, cannonor knight will be slowly chess, the piecesare much easierto block. Just place anv
maneuveringthrough a clutter of other pieces.You will piecein front of a knight and it cannotgo forwarcl.The
haveto be able to realizethat it is gettingreadyto check- cannoncan also be blocked in a similar way, as long as
mateyou four or five movesin advance.Otherwise,when thereis no piecebehind which it canjump over and cap-
the position is only two or three movesawayfrom check- ture.The rook can be perpetuallyblockedby the cannon.
mate,it will often be too late to stopit. ror example,in Dia. 62, if Black's rook ever reaches
In Chinesechess,a player often wants to "guardthe Red'sback ran\ it will be chec}rnate.However,the rook
river". He might move the cannon,for example,up to the will never be able to get past Red's cannorx, because,
wnereverthe rook moves,one or the other
edge of the river, just to block an opposingpiece from of the nvo
cannorxwill be able to block it.
crossingit. This concept,of course,doesnot existin inter'

-72- -73 -
/rl\ (
Managementof the Pieces
€- The rook is by far the strongestpiece.As a result,it is
/t /6 A
) ?./ \\-, importantto bring the rooks quickty into the game and
) not to leavethem stuckin the corners.This is often easier
rtn n'K saidthan done.It is usuallypossibleto get at leastone of
6 5 4 rherooksout quickly.However,the other rook often gets
Dia.62 left behind zrndis jr:st forgotten about. We have already
seenseveralexamplesof this. In the game in Chapter
Four, Red lost in just 12 moves.The reasonis obvious.
Notice the way that the cannonsin Dia. 62 seemto be-
Blackwasable to activatehis rooks quickly.On the other
have like a scaleof weights,with eachside balancingthe
hand,Red'srooksneverreatlygot into the game.
Don't feel so smugaboutthis.You are goingto losea
In short, in Chinesechessit is necessaryalwaysto be
lot of gamesjust like Red did. Everybodylosesgameslike
thinking about ways to block your opponentand to stop this.The best chanceis that if your opponenthas an ac-
him from blockingyou' tive rook and you have a passiverook, try to exchange
Havingsaid that, let us look at the individualpieces your rook for his. A discussionof how to do this has al-
and seehow they canbestbe used. readybeenpresented in connectionwith Dias.59 to 61.
I[ you do manageto get a rook out, what do you do
with it? Naturally,you try to get it behinclenemy lines.
Unc of the bestplacesfor the rook is insidethe imperial
pirlrrccjusrdiagonal to rheenemyking,as in Dia.Oj. Not
only does the rook there menacethe king, but it breaks
-'74 - _75*
the connectionbehveenthe two bishops.For exarnple,in
Dia. 63, the red cannon is threatening to capture the The knight is the secondeasiestpiece for a player of
black bishopwith C7 + 7 checlanate.
internationalchessto masterbecauseit also existsthere.
1 2 3 4s 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 In contrast,Chinesehavea lot of trouble with the knight
rnciconsiderit to be more difficult than the cannon.

K t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

\! )-
\ )-
+r )_
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2r 9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1
Din.63 Dia.64
One other thing to be concernedabout is that if you 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
manageto get one of your rook behind enemylines too Dia.65
quickly, it might get trapped. For example,in Dia. 64, One of the bestplacesfor the knight to be is shownin
Red seemsto havedone ever)'thingright. All of his major Dia.65,which is checkmate.How manymovesdid it take
pieces are developedand his rooks are posted actively tot the knight to get there?The alswer is five. Startingon
Red has even won a pawn. On the other hand, both of polnt zero, the knjght arrived on points 1, 2, 3 ancl4 as
Black's rooks are stuck in passive,defensivepositions shownon the diagram.In practice,it is much easierfor
The only small problem which Red has is that his rook is the knight to crossto the oppositeside of the boarclthan
trapped and will be capturedby the cannonon the next LItsto arriveat point 'a' on the samesideof the board.
move. Actually, Red has a lost position already.Be care- When the knight arrivesat one of thesevital points in
ful aboutthis; thi.ssort of thing happensquite frequently. Ineenemycamp,there is a Chineseexpression that "1he
-'16 - -17 _
horse is in the stable".Usually,when the horse is in qu becauseotherwiseyou cannotactivateyour rooks.
stable,checkmateis not far away. fer this reason,there was once a tendencyto bring the
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 lnights immediatelyto the edgeof the board with moves
like N2 + 1 and NB+ 9. There, they were out of the way
t \lt\gt
JA+- ilncl at the same time were protected by the bishops.
Llorvever,modern playersrealizethat at least one of the

knightsmustbe developedtowardsthe centeror elsethey

I, it
!t rre likely to be left permanentlyout of the game.
While the knightsmust be developedat an early stage,
-vG you should be careful about moving them out into the
openboard too quickly.Dia. 67 illustratesa t)?e of posi-
t tion which might arise. This position could be reached
{BXCVAA a f t e rt h e m o v e sl:. C 2 = 5 . N 2 + 3 ; 2 . N 2 + 3 , C 8 = 6 ; 3 .
9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1 R l = 2 , N 8 * 7 ; 4 . P 3 + 1 ,8 3 + 5 ; 5 . N 3 + 4 , R 9 + 1 .
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
In the initial position, a knight has only two legal
moves.Remember,it can't move immediatelyin front of
the guard becauseit is blocked by the bishop.However,
you might want to move the bishop at an early stageand
shift the knight quickly to the oppositeside of the board
as in Dia. 66. This maneuveris especiallysuitablewhen
the enemyhashinderedthe lright from comingdirectly
out by advancingthc seventhline pawn,preventingthe
third line pawnfrom advancing,asin the diagram.
In the early part of the game,the knights are difficult
to managebecausethey are alwaysgetting blocked bI 8 7 6 5 4 3 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
their own pawns.However,you must get your knightsour Dia 67 Dia 68

-78 - -79 -
Here Red has a choiceof two succulentpawns.Which knight which has only made one move. In
charlleit for a
one shouldhe take?He can capturethe pawn on his third
the resulting position, Black has a clear advantage.
line directlywith 6. N4 + 3 or he can win the centerpawn Diagram 68 (precedingpage) showsa common type of
with 6. N4+5, N3+5; 7. C5+4, G4+5. (Remembel
trap which almost every beginner has fallen into at least
again that the black knight cannotnow take the cannon once.This particular position could arise after the follow-
becauseit is blockedby its own cannon). ingmoves:t. C2=5, N2+3;2. N2+1, 83*5;3, Rl=2,
The answeris, of course,neither.Taking the pawn 61 gg=6;4. R2*8 BlackResigns.
the third file is especiallybad becausethe knight has no The reason Black resigns is that his knight is trapped.
future there. If it wants to get back in the game,it will Rememberagain that the knight cannotjump. Regardless
have to go back to where lt came from. Note that the of what Black now does, on the next move Red will play
knight will not be able to hope for N3 + 1 foliowed by C5= 2 followed by C2 +7, captudngthe knight.
N1+ 3 checlgbecausethe edgepoint it needsto crossis However, if Black had played G4 + 5 instead of 83 + 5
guardedby the bishop. on the secondmove,he would have a way out. He could
Taking the centerpawn is alsobad. In general,it is not play4. . . . ,A-l attacltngthe rook. Regardlessof where
a good idea to waste time tryhg to win pawns in the the rook moves, the knight will be able to come out and
opening.In this case,Black will eventuallymove the can- Black will be ahead in development.(Actually, Black has
non on his sixth line, unblockingthe knight and attacking a wayto savehimselfin Dia. 68.Can you find it?)
Red's camon that will then haveto retreat. This actually happenedin the great game I-arry Kauf-
In the t)?e of positiontn Dia. 67, the correctplan is to manplayed againstGrandmasterLu Chin in a grrnnasium
bring the knight to point 'a', attackingthe black knight. in New York City's Chinatown on Jure 17, 1986before a
Later in the game,Red's knight might evenreachthe ob- crowd of severalthousandspectators.It was an exhibition
jective shown in Dia. 65. However, at present,it is too gzunewhich was supposedto prove that a personwho is
earlyin the gameto bring the knight to point'a'. If Red not Chinesecannevertheless play Chinesechess.
plays6. N4 +6, Biack playsP3+ 1, unblockinghis knight, The game started as follows: 1. C2=5, N2*3i 2.
thereby counter-attackingRed's knight. Then there *'jll N2+3, p7+1; 3. R1=2, CJ=6; 4. It2*g, G4*5; 5.
likely be an exchangeof knightswith 7. N6+7, C6=3. N8+7.C2-l reaching Dia.69.
Now, Red has spentfour moveson a knight, only to ex-

-80- -81 -
is rhe most difficult and frustratingpiece for a player of
internationalchessto dealwith. Perhapsthe real problem
is that everythingelse is so easythat you don't expectto
experience so much difficultywith the cannon.
The Chinese,on the other hand, considerthe cannon
an easypiece to deal with. Their problem is that they
c|n't figureout the knight,whichis a reallysimplepiece.
Intellectually,of course,the cannonis an easypiece tc
understand. It moveslike a rook but capturesby jumping.
Whatis so difficult aboutthat?The problem is that in the
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 heatof battle, with the clock ticking and momentsleft to
Da 69 : Kaufmanv.Lu Chin makethe final moves,you tend to forget al1aboutthe fact
It is not clear why Kaufman thought that his opponent, thatthe cannoncanjump. Horrible blundersresult.Here
the current champion of all of Chin4 was going to allow is howto stop a few of the most cornmonblunders:
his knight to be trapped on just tle fourth move. Anyway, 1. \Vhen you haveboth a rook and a cannonlined up
in Dia. 69 Kaufrnan's rook was forced to retreat and the to capturea target piece,you haveto rememberthat the
game continued:6. R2-4, N8+7; 7' I'31*1' F7*1; E. cannonmust capturefirst. If the rook capturesfirst, the
R2=3, N7*6; 9.C8=7, 83+5. Blackhadnow equalized, cannonwill no longer be attackingthat point. For ex-
in spite of having the secondmove, due to the time Red ample,going back to Dia. 68, after tie red camon comes
had wastedmoving his rook back and forth. overto the secondline, the knight must be capturedby
Actually, after this opening, Kaufman played quite the cannon,not by the rook. After that, the rook musr
reasonablyand his opponent allowed tle game to go on withdrawand only then the eurnon can withdraw. Be,
for 27 movesbefore sacrificingfor checkmate. causeof the time this takesand the resultingdangerof a
counter-attacbthere is the temptationto want to take the
The Cannon knightwith rhe rook.This is a gooclwayto losea rook.
If you want to know how to use the cannon, dont ask 2. Never put three pieces on the same line without
me. I still haven't got it figured out. Seriously,the cannon checkingto make sure that there is no cannon lurking

-82- -83-
about which might be able to attack all of them on 6., voll are the one who is going to get checkmated,not your
line. For example,in Dia. 66, if Black had a cannonwhis6 ,.noonent.
While you have been taking off all of these
he could place on point 'a', he would automatically attac\ oa\vns,yolr opponentwas developinghis piecesand by
either a camon or a knight. Regardlessof which piece nowhe shouldbe just aboutreadyfor mate.
movesaway,he will be able to capture one of the remnin- 6. Cannonfork are dangerous,especiallyin the early
ing pieces on that line. (Actually, in this particular q- pfft of the game.The more piecesthat are on the board,
ample, Red would be able to recover the piece. Can you ihe b"tte. it is for the calnon. Here is a rypicalexample
seewhy? This sort of situation occursfrequently.) of a camon fork. 1. C2=5, N2+3;2. N2+3, C8=6; 3.
3. Remember that when you capture somethingwith a p 1= 2 , N 8 * 7 ; 4 . R 2 + 6 , P 7 + 1 ; 5 . P 7 + 1 , B 3 + 5 ; 6 .
cannon,it will not normally be able to go back to where it N8+7,C2+4; 7. N7+6, R9=8. Now,Red decides not to
camefrom right awayand might even get trapped. exchiinge rooks becausehe doesnot want to give r-rphis
4. When attacking the enemy king with yorrr cannon, actrve rook for his opponent's relatively undeveloped
remember that the enernyguardsare your friends. If they rook. Therefore, he decides to attack the knight. 8,
are in such a position that you can capture them easily, M=3?, C.2=7reachinsDia. 70.
they are probably getting in the way of their own king.
1 2 3 4 s 6 7 8 9
5. Do not go aroutrd capturing random pawns in the
opening with your cannon.Once the c:mnon has captured
an early pawrg it is likely to be out of the game for a long
time. If you really want to capture a lot of pawns,yolu oP
ponent will be happy to oblige you. You can start the
game with C8=7. Theq you can capture two pawnswith
C1 +4 afi A =3. By now, yoru opponentwill have ac-
tivated his roolrs, so you will be able safelyto capture two
more pawnswith C3=9 and C9=1. Now, there is only
one pawn left, and you can get that one as well with
A:5 andC5 +4. You havenow got all of the pawnsand 7 6 5 4
the position is nearly checlmate. The only problem is that Dia.70

-84- *85-
Black has just forked Red's rook and bishop with 61" .fhe ideal placementof the three major pieces,knight,
is illustratedin Dia. 71. The cannonis
cannon.Red's only chanceis to attack the other cannon rookand cannon,
with 9. Rli = 4, but Red first capturesthe bishop pi16 in the corner, the knight is in the stable and the rook is
C7*3 checkand then defendsthe other cannon'"vith10. insiclethe palace.It is not surprisingthat Red has check-
G4+5, G4+5. Black now has nearly won the game.T\s mateon the movewith R6 + 1.
important thing is not that he haswon Red'sbishop(in it- Another point is that if Black doesnot defendhimself,
self a minor matter) but that he is able to get into the the red cannonscan checkmatewithout any outsidehelp
enemycorner with Red's king exposed.This bringsus 1s in just four moves.From the startingposition, Red can
the next point, which is: playthe movesC2=5, C5+4, C8+2 and C8=5 check.
7. The most effectiveposition for the cannonis n the mare.The positionis shownnDra.'72.If you cannotsee
opponent'scomer. When the cannonis there,it is almost rvhythis is checkmate,pleasereview the section on the
impossibleto dislodge,especiallyif there is nothing be- movementof the pieces.
tween it and the enemykilg. The rook cannotinterpose
to drive it awaybecausethe king wor d then be in check. TheBishop
Ideally,the bishopsshould be connectedtogether,so
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
( ))- -li|19lr as to protect the king. Remember,of course,that the
bishopsare purely defensivepieces;they cannotcrossthe
o@l( river and they cannotjump. When two bishopsare con-
nectedtogether,the opponentwill often try to put a piece
in behveenthem so asto break the comection.Once one
of the bishopsis captured,the other one is almost dead.
You really need to have both bishopstogetherfor them
to be of muchuse.
Actually, this is not completely true. Although the
I t / V bishopis a weak piece, it protects vital and important
1r ) ;
6 5 4 pornts.When there is only one bishopleft, it might run to
Dia 71 tneedgeof the board,figuring that the opponentwill not

-86- -87 -
take the time and trouble to try to pick it off. From the TheGuard
'Ihe guard is an important piece in protecting
edge,the bishoponly protectstwo points.However,the5g against
two points might turn out to be vital. The presenceof 15g the rook or the knight, br.rtis uselessagainstthe camon.
bishop on the edge of the board might slow down the Whenfacedwith an attack,one of the guardsshouldbe
enemyattackjust long enoughto savethe game. plrcedin the middleof the imperialpalaceto prorectthe
Consider how much stronger two bishops are when orherguardanda.lsothe king.
they are connectedtogether.When the two bishopsffs However,the guardsoften do not guard at all. Some-
connected:Lndone is in the middle,they defenda total ol limesthey help strangletheir own king. For example,in
six points. However, when they are not connecteds1 Djas.72and 15,Black is in checkmatebecausethe suards
when neither of the bishopsis in the middle, the two of preventtheir own king from escaping. Removethe guards
them together defend exactlyfour points, not more and and these positionsare no longer checkmate.There are
not less. Try moving the bishops around the board to moreand better examplesof this.
verify that this is true. The reasonfor this is that when the Frequently,in the endgame,a player will just push his
bishopsare not connected,they do not defendeachother. guardsasideand march his king to the front. This is not
For that reasonalone,they defendfour points and not six. onlyto attackthe enemyking but alsoto keep the guar<is
For example,in Dia. 71, the two bishopsonly defendfour frominterferingwith their own king.
points betweenthem becausethere is a rook in betweer If your opponentgivesyou the chanceto captureone
and thereforethe points upon which the bishopsthemsel- of his guards,think twice. A loose guard often causes
ves are sitting are not defended.However, remove the more problems for the defender than for the attacker.
rook and now the bishopsdefenda total of six points. Perhapsit will be better to let him keep his guard zrnd
Naturaily, you will want to try to win one of your concentrate on checkmatinghis king.
opponent'sbishops.However,rememberthat the bishop
is basicallya weak piece. If you waste too much time
trying to maneuveraroundjust to capturea bishop,you Although the king's safetyis impofiant, you must also
rememberthat the king can be an aggressive
might fall behind in development and your opponent attacking
might be able to cormter-attack. It is best to go afiet a f,:,c N though rhe king crn neverleave the imperial
bishooonlvin comectionwith a directthreatof mate. irlllirce.
it actslikea rookwith respect
to theenemyking.

-88- -89-
The way to attack the enemy king is usually up 6.
16okbecausethe cannon would then check the king.
three center lines. Dia. 73 illustrates a common sifuation ftlctwevet,once again,Red doeshave an ingeniousmove
Whoever movesfirst wins. to savehimself.Try and find it.)
Both sideswant to seizeRed's fourth line. ff Red is to Always be on the lookout for the type of situation
move, he will play 1. R8:4 check.Black must move bis shownin Dia.73. This is one of the most commonkind of
king with K6=5 and then Red will play K5=4. Now checkmates in all of Chinesechess.Pleasetry to be sure
mate is unstoppable.No matter what Black does,ua1s,s thatyoLlare the one who is checknatingyour opponent,
he just gives away his roo\ Red has checkmateon 6. norhe the one who is checkmating you.
next move with R4 + 5. A kind of tacticalmotif which often arisesis shownin
Dia.74. As usual,this is supposedto be just an example,
notan acfualplayhg position.
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
, ,Y..-;
it I A I ,^ i I
,A _\

D. Iri,-'\r
7 6 s 4 3 ]- i-ti
Dia 73 i)-<BXG,KXC
Il on the other hand, it is Black's turn to move, he 7 6 5 4 3
seizesthe same line with R1= 6. On the next move he Dia.74
will play R6+5. Remember in these examplesthat the Red is a pawn down and wantsa draw,so he decidesto
king cannot take the rook becausethe kings c:rrmrotfNe capturethe last pawn. However, there is a surprise in
each other. At the same time, the guard canxot take the store for him. He captures the pawn with 1. N4+5,

-90* -91 -

N3+5; 2. N6+5. His knight is now pinned.It caqor
pawnsare not quite the soul of Chinesechess.Sometimes
move awaybecausethe two kings cannot face each ot1s,'
Therefore,the black knight simply artacksthe red kniehi theyjust seemto get in the way. However,it would often
with eirherN8 + 7 or N8-6.The red knight cannot,nfy. beimpossibleto win an endgamewithout pawns.
In the early part of the game,the major benefit of the
and thereforeis lost.
However,Red noticesthat after the black knight cao- prwnsare that they keep the enemypawnsout. Starting
tures the red knight, then the black knight will also be lronr the initial position, as soon as a pawn crossestle
pinned. Therefore,he plays3. R9=8, so that after N7-s 1iver,it encountersan opposingpawn.
Pawnsare easyto capture in the opening.your op_
he has 4. R8+6 winning back the knight. However,in-
ponentwill generallybe happy to let you captureone or
steadBlackcanplay3. . . ., R1 + 1, so that after4. R8+6
moreof his pawnswith your cannonor your knight. you
he has R1 =5 pinning the knight and at the sametime
hadbetter avoid this. For example,let,s saythat at some
breakingthe comectionbetweenthe two kingsso that the
earlystageyou play C8 =7 followed by C7 +4. Now, you
red knight canbe safelycapturedon the next move.
havewon a pawn. The next thing you wiil need to do is
In the middle and endgame,watch your opponent\ getyour equivalentpawn acrossthe river. Therefore.vou
king carefully. Beware if he ever moveshis king one point pushwith P7+t and P7+ I agajn.Now,you norice;har
tr ti;e left or right without being forced to do so. This yourpaw]l hasjust blocked the only retreat polnts avail_
sneakyking move is almost certainly part of a plan to ablefor your camon. You want to bring your camon
checkmateyour king. When your opponent moves his backso it can shift over and attack somethinselse. At
king, all sorts of bells shor.rldbe going off in your brain. present. il is more or lessout of the
You should start trying to figure out what mate he is pian- getyour pawn out of the way with p7 = 6 and retreatyour
ning and what you can do to prevent it. (Actually, by the c:mronwith C7-4.
time he moveshis king,it is oftentoo lateto stopmate.) You
rvq rr.rvc
have rluw
now caplureu
captured aa pawr!
pawr4 but have eX-
DUt yOU nave ex-
perdedsix movesto get your pawn across
the river and
The Pawn Dnngyour cannonback to safety.your
A famous quotation lrom internationalchessbI urdrrnlsnonsense
fL... -r
hasgoneon for long enough.He brings
Philidor, the best player in the world more that two 'it\ rook over, recaptures
yotlr pawn, and material is equal
hundred yea-rsago, is "pawns are the soul o[ chess." agan,except that you
are far behind in development.
-92- _93*
ChapterNine hedid not know how to win the bishopand knight against
kingendgame.(He said he would figure it out over the
boardif the situationever cameup.)
The Endgame Here, we will try to solve the problem with Chinese
chessby discussing just a few of the more basicencls:une
The endgameis a vast subjectin Chinesechess.
Mosr situations.In Chapter Three dealing with simple check,
games between fairly equal opponents reach
the ntates,we alreadyshowedtwo of the most basic mates.
endgame.The endgameitself often goeson for more than Diagram 12 shows how to mate with khs and rook
a hundred moves and two-hundred-moveendgames againstking. Diagram 14 showshow to mate with a kins
not that uncorlmon. There are lots of books on endgame andknight againstking.The other would be kins and can-
studies,just crammedwith all kinds of fantasticand un_ nr.rnagainstking. However,a cannonalone is n-otenoush
believablesolutiorsto difficult situations. to checkmate.The cannonmust also be aided bv a suard
This presentsa problem becauseit is obviouslybeyond (a bishop will not do). The camon comes Uetrini tne
the scopeof this book to deal adequatelywith sucha vast guardand checks,reachinga position like that in Dia. 75
subject.The reader will not be prepared for this. More (nextpage).Notice the routine procedureof putting the
than that, the biggest problem which a new player of kingin the front of the imperialpalaceso as to more easi_
Chinesechesswill have is just to get to the endgameat ly threatenthe enemyking.
all. Most new playerswill get wiped out long beforethat. Now, the black king is in checkfrom the red cannon.
Finally, there is the problem that most examplesin the He must move to the left with K5 =4. The red kins alst_r
endgame books do not seem to have much oractical movesto the left, seizingcontrol of the center line. Next,
value.Perhapsit is like the bishop and knight againstting Ine cannon and the guard move one line to the left,
endgamein international chess.Everybodv studies and reachingthe position in Dia. 76 (next page),
which is
learns this endgame as a beginner. ffren, ii never comes checkmate. The next exampleis Dia.'77 lpage Ol). tn ttrls
up. I have been plalng international chesssince I was ptlsition,Red has an extra rook. Howevei,
the game is a
sevenyears old and I have never yet seenthis endgame clraw.Pleasecheckthis out. Try moving
the piecls around
actually played in all the hundreds of tournamentsand until you are satisfiedthat there is no
wav that Recl car.
matchesI haveattended.Bobby Fischeroncetold me that makeprogress. Similarly,a singleknight or a singlecan-
non would not be enoughto win in this situation.
andso are easyto catch,especiallyif you still havea pawn
t 2 3 45 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 s 6 7 in the way. However, once acrossthe river, they have
threedirectiors in which they can move and it is difficult

X D evenfor the mightyrook to catchthem.

t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
\E try,/ v,
t ' 7 I\ ,4

-tr l l
ZF\ A1\
8 7 6 5 4 3 7 6 5 4 3 2 i r ;i
I | \\9,/
Dia" 75 Dia 76 1 1 t
__.{GXK \u/-
This exampleis supposedto teachyou the importance 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
of pawnsin the endgame.Without pawns,it is generally Dia.77
impossibleto win. Only one pawn is usually more than
enough,however.A singlepawn can be worth more than Mastersof Chinesechess,like mastersof international
two bishopsin the endgame.ff ever you are in a losing chess,are especiallymastersof the endgame.They win
position in the endgame(as often you will be) try to run consistentlywith even the tiniest advantage,or no ad-
around and capturea1lof your opponent'spawns.If you vanhgeat all. Frequently,the player with the advantage
can get all of his pawns,you havea good chanceto draw will win even a theoretically drawn endgame.He just
However, if just one pawn escapesfrom your clutches, keepsmovinghis piecesback and forth, torturing his op-
you areprobablya deadduck. ponentto death,until finally his opponentallows a fatal
Try to catch the pawns before they cross the river weakness.
Before crossingthe river, pawnshaveonly one legalmove Going back to Dia. 77, remove either one of Black's

-96- -97 -
bishopsor one of Black'sguards.You can alsoremoveal axpturethe
back bishopwith R3 +2. If that bishopmoves
of Red's bishopsand guards,becausethey are totally ir_ .way,then he takesthe front bishop.Therefore,Black has
relevantto the situation. go to the left with K5:4. Theq Red
no choicebut to
I{aving done that, the position is now a win. If y6u checksand puts his rook right in the center of the im-
removeda bishop,then it is easyto run down the rern4in- perialPalace'
ing bishop.Finally,you might reacha position like that irr
Dia. 78,which is mate (by stalemate).Notice that Red hs5
pushedawayhis grrardsand bishopsso a^sto try to direcfly
confrontthe enemykhg.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
{ Da 80 Dia BI

Now, Black is in a situation which in international.

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 chess is known as"zugzwang". If Blackwasnot required to
Da 78 Da.79 makea move but could simplypass,the gamewould be a
draw.However, the rules require Black to move some-
If you removed a guard then you might wind up in.a tntng.Any move he makeswill allow Red either to cap-
position like that in Dia. 79. On the next move, Red wtll trrrc{rncof the hishopsor. if thekingis in frontof the im-
taketheguardwith the mightreach a perialp:Llace,to bring his rook back and over,
position suchasthat in Dia. 80.The red rook threatenst0 Inecheckmateshownin Dia. 81.

-98- -99 -
,o Blackmust retreat the king with K6-1. Again, Red ad-
vances the pawn with checkwith 3, P3+1. If Black goes
z I
tl ,
I !
fbnvard,Red checkmateswith N1-3. Therefore, Black
,/^,s nust retreat agail with K6-1. Now, Red plays the key
v )G
)- { \
ld. ( moveof 4. Nl * 2, reachingDia. 84.
In Dia. 84, Black has only one move. He must play
R8=9. Now, Red merely retreatswith 5. N2-3, On the
lext rrlovo,he has checkmateregardlessof what Black
piays.Presently,he threatensmate with P3:4. If Black
tnesto defendwith R9 + 1, Red hasmatewith P3+ 1.
<N\ ZN
8 7 6 5 4 3 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Dia- 82 Dia. 83 , rat
,/ ,.
Incidentally,I had to figure this all out myseif.These
endgamesare consideredso elementarythat it is
to find them in any book in Chineseon Chinesechess,
even a beginner'sbook. You should play around with
these endgamesyourself until you are satisfiedthat you
canwin them.
Diagrams 82 and 83 are a cute duo which is in the
bools. The only differencebetweenthem is the position
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
of the black rook. Both positionsare a win for Red. In Dia.84
DLa.82, Red startswith l. P4+ 1 check.If Black retreats
the king,Red hasN1 13 checkmate. In the endgame, you must remember that perpetual
Therefore,Black takesthe pawnwith 1. . . . . , K6+1. checkis prohibited. It will almost always
be possible for
Now Red plays2. P3+1, advancing thepawnwith check, a defcnding rook or some other piece
to check the enemy

-100- -101 -
king back and forth forever.However,that is not allowed. havereachedDia. 86. Red threatensN1 +2 check.If the
That is the reasonthat we saidback in Chaptertwo thai comesback,Red canplay N2-3,forking the king and
goesforward,Red hasR1-2 mate.
if perpetual checkwere a draw then almost every gnqu rook.If the king
would be a draw. t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
In the final positionjust before checkmatein this ex. \ ,& -1{!

ample, Black could have checkedwith R9 + 9 and then t I I

started checkingthe red king back and forth forever.11 z\ \!!
,/"r \
t ti I
an official toumament game, the arbiter would hnyg tl , tJ ,
stopped him after rwo rycles.Thus, the possibility that
Black can start checkingis irrelevant and is not evendis-
cussedin theseexamples,
Diagram 83 is the hvin to Dia. 82. The solution is l.
P4*1 chec\ K6+1; 2. P3*1 check,K6-1; 3. P3=4
check!,K6*1; 4. N1'3 check,K6-1; 5, N3*2 checkand
,+{ /i. / \

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
wins becausethe king and rook are forked by Red\
knight. As you can see,theseendgamesare in someways Da 85 Dia 86
quite similarto thosefound in internationalchess. Thereare now two variations. The first is 3,....,
Diagram 85 is much more difficult. In comesfrom a R5=8; 4. Rl=3. Red threatensa matewhich comesup
book on the endgameby Wang Jia Liang of Harbirl quitefrequently.There is even a name for it in Chinese.
China,who wasborn in 1933and is a veteranglandmaster He threatensto play 5. N1-3 check,K6 + 1; 6. R3-2 check,
of Chinesechess.He hasnow retired from activeplay and K6-1;7. R3 + 1 checkreachingDia. 87.Now, regardlessof
whatBlack does,there is checkmateon the next move.If
works as a trainer in Singapore.Although the solutionto
Blackgoesforwardwith K6 + 1, Red mateswith 8. R3 =4.
Dia. 85 is not easy,it involvesideaswhich comeup in ac-
If Blackretreatswith K6-1, Red mateswith 8. R3 + 1.
tual gamesand wasselectedfor that reason.
Red stansby checking,forcingthe Bllck king towards Blackdefendsagainstthis checkmateby playing4. . . .,
R8'1,bbcking the knight.Red plays5. N1+2. This move
the middlewith the moves1. Nl +3. K5=6:2. Rl+l'
tnreate[sto move the rook with discoveredcheckby the
K6 + 1; 3, N3-1. This last is one of the key moves.We

-t02- -103-
knight. In particular, Red threatensto take the gun.6. lnight check. Therefore, play continues with 6.
Black defendsagainstthat by 5. . . , . , G5-6.Now, Red gS=7;7.N1-3,K5-1reachingDia. 89.
doublecheckswith 6. R3-1,forcingBlack to play K6 + 1.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 , \

a tl

#@d n
\ I
\ ,


,+11\ 6\ ni 'C, /1\

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Da 88 Dia 89
Dia. 87 Now, we have reached a classicposition: a knight
The next move is the key move. Red quietly plays7, againsttwo guards.In just four more moves,Red will be
K6=5 and after R8-2,capturingthe knight, Red retreats ableto finish Black off. 8. K6+1. A tempo move.8. . . . , ,
with 8. R3-8, reaching Dia. 88. Black resigns, because K5-1.There wasno other legal move.9. N3 +2, G4 +5. If
there is no defenseto R3 = 4 checkmate. Blackretreatsthe other guardby G6-5, Red has a win by
The secondvariationfrom Dia. 86 startswith 3. . . . , , stalemate with K6=5. Checkthis out. 10. K6-1, G5+4.
K6+1; 4. Rl =3, K6=5; 5. R3-2,G5+6. Black played Again,Black had no other legal move. 11. N2-4 check
theselast movesin order to stop the checkmateshownin captrrringthe guard.Blackresigrs.
Dia. 87. However,Red now playsthe key move, 6. R3'1. There are other, relatively minor, variations to this
The idea behind this move is that Black is now forcedto endgame. It is recommendedthat you play aroundwith it,
trade rooks.If insteadBlack moveshis rook forward,Red untilyou are satisfiedthat you can checknateagainstany
will be able to shift his rook to the sixth line followedby Possibledefense.

-104- -105-
tlntil around twenty or thirty yea$ ago, everyone
ChapterTen xEced that the best ffust move was the center carnon
nroveof 1..O,:5. That wzrsplayed in about 80% of the
About the Openings toumamentgames.Now, playersare trying other moves.
Still, the center camon is played in around 50Voof the
sames, with other movesdividingup the rest.
Another vast subjectin Chinesechessis the studyof
the openings.There are almostas many books aboutthe Actually, almost every legal first move is playable.
openingsin Chinesechessasthere are about the openings Aboutthe only movesthat are really bad are movingfor-
in international chess.Curently, there are around sixty ward the rook, because then the opponent's cannon
openingbook in print in Chinaalone.There are certainly wouldcapturethe knight, and moving forward the king,
more openings, simply because there are more legal whichwould be a goodway to commit suicide.
movesand plausiblevariationsin the averagepositionin Popular alternativefirst movesinclude advancingthe
Chinesechessthan there are in internationalchess. third or seventh line pawrL bringing out the knight,
Fortunately, a new player in Chinese chess has a centralizingthe bishop and moving the cannonto some-
whereelsethanto the center.
limited objective.He doesnot want to win in the opening.
Note that the initial position in Chinesechessis sym-
He merely wants to avoid losing.It is quite possibleto
metrical,unlike the initial position in intemationalchess.
achievethis limited goal (althoughsometimesjust barely)
Ary first move from the right sideof the board could also
becausethe sameideasand themeskeep comingup even
be playedfrom the left side.It makesno differenceif;r
in much different openings.
playeropenswith 1. C2=5 or 1. C8:5. It happensthat a
It must be emphasized, however,that the openingsare
majorityof playersmaketheir first moue from rhe rieht
of critical importance.This is demonstratedby the fact
side.burthereis no rule or convention aboutthis.
that in high level competitionbetweenequal opponents'
One point which must be mentionedis that in defend-
Red wins about fifty percent of the games,with the .
tng againstthe central carrnon,on the first move, one
remainder being divided about equally betweendraws
musteither protect the attackedcenter pawn or elseput
and losses,ln other words, in tournament competition' somethingin betweenthat pawn and the king. Otherwise,
the player of Red is roughly twice as likely to win as the tnegameis lost.
player of Black
-106- -r07*
This is obviouslya critical and important point. f,ysry ight away,without regard for the consequences.
now and then, a player goesto sleepand sornething111u 'ooffint
Inrerestingly,the most prominentplayer who playsthe
this happens:1. C2=5, P7+1 ???7;2. C5+4, [,
resigns. central bishop is Hu long Hu4 the best player in the
world.You might think that if the best player in the world
The reasonBlack resignsis that there is no real wayto
playsa cenain opening,others would take it up as well.
prevent Red from eventuallyplaying moves like C8+2
i{o*.uet, until now, Mr. Hu seemsto be the main one
followed by C8:5 checkmate.Black could try movinghis
whoplaysan initial 83 +5.
king forward,but is not 1ike1y to survivefor long. Advancing the ure third
Auva.l.tlrlrE, or severun
ullr u ur seventh filee pawn ls more
There are plenty of movesto defendagainstthe central
popularthan the centralbishop.However,if you startthis
camon, however.Among them are N8 + 7, N2 + 3, 83 + 5,
way,you can expectto get attackedimmediately.A t),pical
87 + 5, G4 + 5, G6 + 5, C2 = 5 and C8 = 5. Also, everynow openingmight go as follows: l. P7+L, C2=3i 2. N2*3,
and then a wise guy comesalongand defendswith C8+ 1 P3+l; 3. N8+9, P3+1; 4. C8=5, N8+7; 5. C2+2.
followed by A:8, seizingcontrol of Red's secondline P7+1.
This is playablebut not really to be recommended. An even more radical approachis an immediate pawn
Logically, the best first move would seem to be 1 sacrificeon the first move. Nobody recommendsthii, but
83 + 5. With this move, the two bishops protect each it is quite dangerousagainst anyone who does not know
other and also the two cannonsprotect each other. The the refutation.1. P7+1, p3+ll; 2. p7*1, B3*5; 3.
king is safer.Although this moveis a bit slow,it is a solid P7+1?.This is a mistake.Once Red tries to hans onto
move which most playerswili want to get in anyrvay. The hispawn, Black gains the advartage.Red needed tJ leave
only problemwith this moveis that it preventsthe camon the pawn where it was and try to force Black to
from occupyingthe center. However, the center cannon valuable time capturingit withthebishop.3....., Ni+l;
move is not always effective, anyway.Black quickly for-
tifies his center by bringing up his knights, bishop and .+..P7=6,Rl=3. Now, Red is in serioustrouble. His
Dlshopis attacked and none of his pieces
are developed.
guard and the cannonsometimesgivesup ard movesto His pawn cannot advancefruther because
it will be cap-
anotherline. Perhapsthe real reasonfor the popularityof tured by the cannon. Eventually,
Black will probabiy
the central cannonis that the Chineseare naturally ag- recwer*re sacrificedpawn
with a big advantage.
gressiveand just want to go out and try to kill their op- un around the third move, Red should have played

-108- -109-
CB:7. Otherwise,Black will play N2 + 4, followed by u1i1y2. C5 * 4, capturingthe offered pawn with check.By
Rl=3 and R3*4, recoveringthe sacrificedpawnwith a ir,,v, the reader of this book shouldbe able to figure out
goodgame. rhatthis is bad. Black will simplydefendagainstthe check
Against an initial knight move, the opponent vrdll .r,ith2, .. . . , G4+5. fhen the knightwill comeout and
probably push up the opposingpawn to keep the knjg51 arracl(the canno& driving it back with a gain in time.
in. A tlpical opening might go as follows: 1. N2 +3, Red's cannon will be misplaced,being in front of the
P7+l; 2. P7+1, N8+7; 3. N8+7, N2+3; 4. N7+6. pawnrather than behindit, and Black shouldgain the ad-
8 3 + 5 ; 5 . C 8 = 7 ,R 9 + 1 ; 6 . R l + 1 ' C 8 + 1 . vaitage.Insteadof taking the pawn on the secondmove,
Againstthe centralcannon,the best deferseis the Fan Red should havejust deveiopedhis pieces,ignoring the
Gong Ma, which was alreadydiscussedin chapterfour. 4 offeredPawn.
typical openingmight go: l. C2=5, N2+3; 2. N2+3, One good thing about the openingsin Chinesechessis
C8=6; 3. R1=2, N8*7; 4. P7+I, P7+1; 5. R2+6, that they do not have to be memorizedto the samede-
G4+5; 6, R2=3, R9*2; 7' C8=7, 83+5; 8' N8+9, greeas the openingsin internationalchess.You will not
C 2 + 4 ; 9 . P 5 * 1 , R l = 4 ; 1 0 .R 9 = 8 , C 2 - 4 1 L l ' C 5 * 4 , be told, for example,that it is absolutelynecessaryto
C6+3; 12. C5-1,R4+5; 13. C7=5, R4=5; 14. R8f3. committo memory the flrst 26 movesof the Ruy [,opez.
This position is quite messy,but tlpical of Chinesechess, (Acruatly,they rarely tell beginnersin intemationalchess
especiallyin gamesplayedat a higherlevel. aboutthis.This secretis supposedto be kept from begin-
Another excellentway to counterthe centralcannonis nersuntil much later.)
to answerin kindwith l.C2=5, C8=5; 2' N2+3, N8+7 ln-steadof memorizing fired sequencesof moves,
Now, if Red plays3. R1:2, Black answerswith R9+1' Chinesechess players become familiar with patterns.
but if Red plays 3. R1 + 1, Black answersR9 = 8. The Consider,for example,the pattern in Dia. 90. This, of
reasonfor this wasexplaine<i backin ChapterFive. If play course,is not a completeposition.Half of the board has
beenleft off to emphasizethe point that it is not the
continueswith 3. R1=2, R9+1, Black will try to get in
R9 = 4, fotlowedby R4 + 7, with a goodcounter-attack. wholepositionwe are concernedabout,just the patternof
theseparticularpieces.This pattern is a cornmonoccur-
One sacrificewhich everyonewill eventuallyencounrcr
cones at the first move: 1. C2 = 5, 83 + 5. Alnost
everyonewho seesit for the first time will immediate{

*110- -111-
'b,. Depending
thiskeepsBlack'srook out of point on the
sitLration elsewhere on the board,Red might be planning
to shift his ca lon over to anotherline, therebybringing
abouran exchangeof rooks.Note that this idea wilt only
,vorkif Red'slcrightcontinues to defendthe rook.There_
fore,the knight is required to stay where it is until this
plan has been executed.
If it is Black'smove,he will want to stop both of these
plansand thereforewill move his rook to point .b,, block-
ing the cannon.Red will now probablymove forward his
9 8 7 6 5 4
seventhline pawn with P7+ 1. Note that Red,sninth iine
Dia.90 pawn(the rook pawn) is en prise.However,Red is happy
We have arrived at this position after Black'srook at. if BlackwastesvzLluable time capturingthat pawn.
tackedRed's cannon.Red could have defendedthis can. Sometimes,this formation is reached, except thar
non in any number of ways,but the best way is often to
put the rook behindit, ashe hasdonehere.
Red'sknightis on point'c'. In that case,Blackshoulclnor
advanceto point 'b'with the rook, becausethe red can_ i
In this type of position sometimesit is Red's tum to non will move over with C8:7. Now, the seventhline
move; sometimesit is Black's.We will considerboth pos- pawnis defendedby the lmight.It would be a mistakefor
sibilities. Blackto capture the rook pawn here, becausethen his
If it is Red's tum to move, he might move the cannon rook would be sealedout of the game for a long time.
forwardto point'a'. This threatensto playC8=5, captur- (Noterhat on 'c'. Red'sknightis deiended
by the blshop).
ing the pawn with check.In that case,the knight cannot lherefore,BIackwould be essentially forcedto exchange
capture the cannon,becausethen Red's rook will take rooks,and Red would havegainedbecause
of tradine his
Black'srook. Note that this combinationwiil work onlyif passive rook for Black'sactive rook. 'l ru----s
is the ime
Black'scenterpawnis protectedonly by the knight. pointdiscussedearlier in
ChapterFive with Dias. 60 and
Another thing Red might do is bring his cannontwo 0i.
points forward to guard the river. Among other thil$'

-7t2- -113-

ChapterEleven fliov€ cornmentary given over a microphone by kung

Ire Shin& one of the leading players of Hong Kong, al-
finadrg with a top player from Singaporeand a number
More Games of other prominent playerswho happenedto be present
ar the time. Even Grandmaster Li Lai Chen, regarded as
Until now, we have discussedvarious aspectsof ths the second sfiongest player in the world, offered corn-
game,but we have not shownmuch in the way of actual mentarYon this game.
games,as they are fought and played by actual players. Why did a game by averageplayers attract such atten-
Now, we are goingto makeup for that. tion and interest?Becauseboth of theseaverageplayers
First, I am going to show one of my own games.A1- happenedto be non-Chinese.My opponent, Winston Wl-
thoughI am not by any stretchof the imaginationanysort liams,is also a chessmaster. He has held a FIDE radflg
of world classplayer,this particulargamehasa numberof 0f2220,has played on the Singaporechessteam, and has
advantages. It is a tlpical gameby averageplayers(even representedSingaporein intemational chessevents.This'
on the Chinesestandard).Grandmastergamestend to be therefore,is possiblya gamebetweentwo of the stongest
rather mysti$'ing.It also involvestacticswhich come uD knownnon-Chineseplayers of Chinesechess.
frequently,especiallyin gamesby averageplayers.Some My opponent won the draw for color and therefore
important points I want to explain about the opening, playedthe red pieces.
middle and endgameI have saved for this particuiar
game. Also, most importantly, this game has been WinstonWilliams vs, Sloan, Singapore,Dec. 19, 1988.
analyzed by a number ol top masters and ever.
grandmasters, so I am confidentthat what I savaboutthis l . C 2 = 5 , N 2 + 3 ; 2 . N 2 * 3 , C 8 = 6 ; 3 .R l = 2 , N 8 + 7 ; 4 .
gameis correct. R2+6, P7+1. Now, we have reachedDia" 91. Red has
playeda common opening sequence.Black has responded
l-his was played as an exhibition game in Singapore
with the "Fan Gong Ma", one of tle most popular defet-
before a crowd of about 200 spectatorsin connectionwith
ses.You might call the resulting position the "Ruy Lopez"
the Guinness Asia Cup Chinese Chess C-.hampionship.
of Chinesechess.You wilt find this position discussedin
The movesof the gamewere flashedon a computerized
most standard opening books. 5. P7*1, B3+5; 6.
demonstrationscreenas they were played,with move by
-714- -115-
N 8 + 7 , G 4 + 5 ? ; 7 . M = 3 , R 9 + 2 ;8 . N 7 + 6 . S e eD i a .9 2 . gnssed back in Dias. 65 and 67.
Black'ssixth move was an error. Instead,Black shoulrt 8. . . , . , R1=4; 9, N6+4, N7-9.Becauseof Black,s
havebroughtup the cannonwith 6.. .. .,A+4. He musr epeningerror, he has been forced back into a passive
do this before Red movesthe }night up to the river. fhg position.However,he is not by any meanslost. A good
reasonfor this is that the cannon advancepreventsthg ihingabout Chinesechessis that evenif a player mafes a
red rook from moving onto the third 1ire, becausethen badmove in the opening,he rarely gets a tost position.
the black cannonwill captrueRed's third line pawq fork- Here.Blackhascompensation in otherareas.
ing the bishopand rook. We sawan exampieof this sans 10.P3+1, P7+l; 11.R3-2,R4+4; 12.N4+2. Diasram
fork back in Dia. 70. 93.Already,Black is startingto recover.His rook islow
| 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 | 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 active.The red lcright is not only attackingBlack'sknight
but, rnore importantly, it is threatening to fork with
N2+ 3 check. However, Black has a simple defenseto
boththreats.If you do not see it right away,pleasekeep
$anngat the board until you do, becauseit is quite im_
portantto be ablero seemovesIike this.
12,...., R9=8. The rook block the knight,thereby
stoppingboth threats.Also, now the re<l knieht itself is
blockedand the black knight is threateningto caprureit,
not the other way around.This blocking and unblocking
themeis one of the most cornmonfeaturesof anygame
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 I 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 | Chinesechess.
Dia 91 Da.92 13.N2+4, R8=6; 14.C8=7. Diagrzmr94.Now, Black
However,it is now roo late for Black to bring up hrs hasfully recoveredfrorn the inferioi position
he had in
cannon.In Dia. 92, if Black plays 8. . . . . , (2+4, Red Dia. 92. Red has been forced to
exchangehis active
respondswith N6+4, attackingthe knight and defending knightfor Black'scaruron.Both
of Black,srooks are now
"\ rrvcryplaced and his
the third line pawn (the bishop pawn) simultaneous{' knight is ready to come into the
Notice that this basic type of knight maneuverwas ills' tsdmeby attacking the rook. The onJy problem

- llo - -r17_
Black still has is that his cannonand knight on his secoq6
and third lines are stil1inactive.

t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

6 5 4 7 6 s
Da 95 Da 96

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 | 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 15. R9=8. Diagram 95. Now, Black has lost his ad-
Dia.93 Dia.94 vzntageand is in deeptrouble.B]ack'scannonis attacked
GrandmasterLi l-ai Chen,who waswatchingthe game bythe rook. If the cannonretreatswith C2-2,Red wins a
on the demonstrationboardwhile it wasin progress,com- piecervith M. m + L R4 = 3; 17. C7 + 5, R3-2; 18.R8 + 9
mented that now Black needed only to play 14. . . . ', check.If the cannonmovestwo points forwardwhere it is
R4 :2. This would seizecompletecontrol of Red'seighth protectedby the knight with c2+2, Red alsowins a piece
line and it might take a long time for Red's rook to get with16.P7+ 1, R4 = 3; 11. C7+ 5, R3-2; 18.R8 + 5, cap-
into the game. turingthe cannon.
Instead,Black becarnegreedyand decidedjust to ac' Most of the audiencethought that the gamewas over
tivate his remainingtwo inactivepieceswithout any con' andsomeevenstartedto wanderaway.I went into a deeo
sideration aboutwhat Red miehtdo. 14.. . .., P3+1?' thinkhere and it wasmy good fortune that I found a way
This is a terrible blunder. Black was assumingthat Red outof this horrible mess.
would take the pawn immediately,in which caseBlacl( 15.. . . . , C2=l;16. R8+7, B5-3.Diagram96.Look at
would recapturewith the rook, attackingthe cannon. the ingeniousdefense!The bishopcomesback to defend

-118- -tt9-
the cannonwhile, at the same1ime.opening
the tl;. ihel Black can play B7+5, defendingthe other bishop
rankso that the rook defends
tt. trig'i,t.iftr;Jlld
-" ure "ni1attackingthe cannon.The cannon in fact is nearly
onlywayBlackhad to keep from losinga piece.
it is not a grearsurpriserharsucha defense llxpped'
.Actually, !p, it turns out that Black was not lost after his 14th
existed.Chinesechessis a resilientgame.There be
*. "irll nove after all. Perhaps the question mark should
defensesto eventhe mosli"a"i."riurJ,iiill
positions-. renroved'
,o u. .ru.t in"u"riTl
term defensivepositionin Chinesechess.If you t 2 3 4 s 6 7 8 9
ur. in i
bad or even a lost position,just keep doggedly
waysto defendand keepthe gamegoing.Eventua\, y6lf
opponentwill oftenblunderandgiveyou u.t *." io
17. P7+ l. Most oi the commentaro., ,.u.r.t,
criticized this move. Red should have played 17.C7
That move threatens C7*4, capturing the bishop, fol_
lowed by R8 =9, capturingrhe cannon.If Black tries
defend by bringing in the bishopwith B7+5, the rook is
cut off from the deferse of the knight. The gamewould
continuewith 18.RB= 7, 85 + 3; 19.R7 +2, capturingthe 6 5
bishopwith checlgfoilowedby p7 + l, capturingthe othe, Din.97
bishop. The important thing is not that Red wins two
bishops,but that Black's king is exposedto threatsof 1 7 . .. . . , R 4 = 3 ; I 8 . C 7 + 2 , N 9 + 8 . B l a c ka t t a c k tsh e
checkmate. to^uk.fhally bringinghis lcrightjnto the game.I9. R3 =2,
As it happened,however,Black has a defenseto thls ru*6. Afiackingthe
knight again.20. M=4, N64i 21.
move as well, which even the commentatorsdid not see R4+3.Seeoia."gl.
right away.After 17.C7+3, Blackcanplay R6=4, which This sequenceof moves got the audience excited.
urirn(lnrasler "lt is amazingthat
threatensFRl- 5 chec( followed by BR + 6 checkmat€. Li [-ai Chencommented,
Red mrrsldelentlagainsr rhis rhreaiwirh lB. G4 +5, but apersonwho
is not Chinesecan olav such moves."While

_720_ -121 -
I was naturally flattered by this, I could not understan6 gxnnon.Black should just defend againstthe check by
what the fusswasall about. jhying B7 +5, forcing Red to move the rook. Fortunate-
I-ater, it was explainedto me that the Chinesehavs. oversightwasnot serious.
lot of trouble maneuvering their knights. They were 23. C5+2, G6-5;L4. B3+5, C1+4. Black has been
amazedthat I could ma,kethree knight movesin 4 16y. ableto capturethis pawn for a long time. This pawn is
each time attackinga rook, and firally end up forking 1 oftenavailable,but it is usuallya mistaketo captureit in
rook and a cannon.They didn't seemto realizethat tl15 rhemiddle game,becauseafter the cannoncapturesthis
sort of maneuveris the simplestthing imaginablefor an pawrqit is left out of the game.However,here,Black cap-
experiencedplayer of international chess.I have been Nres this pawn, not to win a iowly pawn, but to get his
making moves like this since I was a baby. Fortunately, cannoninto one of the corners to threaten mate. The
thesemovesdid not in any way involve a cannon'Other- mostdangerousplace for the cannon is the opponent's
wise,I would probablyhavemessedit up completely. corner.
21. . , ,. , G5+6. This was the criticalmove in the 25. N3+4, Cl=9;26. C5=7, C9*3 check Diagrarn
game.Black has four different legal captures.Theseare: 98.Now, we have reachedthe endgame.Although Black
N4 + 3. N4-2, R3 + 1 and G5 + 6. N4 + 3 is unplayablebe- is two pawnsup, it does not look at first like he will be
causeRed answerswith R8:7, winninga rook. (R4=7 ableto put these pawnsto much use. Actually, the a''-
wouldbe a blunderbecauseof22. Cl:3 and Blackhasa vantageof thesetwo pawnsis nearly decisive.They 'nay
strong attack).R3 + 1 could be emswered with 22. R8 =7, moveslowly,but they are virtually unstoppableand even-
G5 + 6: 23. R7-3. N4 + 3. Most of the attention centered tuallywiil stranglethe red king.
on the possibilityof N4-2. After that, Red simply moves 27. CA+5, N3+4; 28. N4*5, R3-1;29. N5+6, R3-2.
awayhis rook. Redwasjust bluffing.He wastrying to frighten Black,but
After a lenghy discussionin Chinese,the commen- he was not really threateninganything.Therefore,Black
tators finally deci<ledthat the move I playedwas actually shouldhave played29. R3:8, threateningto
best.Unfortunately,I cannot understandChinesewell, so penetrateto the back rank. The b1uff worked. Black
I camot tell you what they said. wastedtime defendingagainsta non-existentthreat in-
22. C7=5, N4+5? This was a mistake.I still can'tsee steadof finishingoff the game.
cannonmoves,so I forgot that Red can recapturewith a

-122- -t23-

with R8-4,becausethen Black'slrright capturesthe rook.
Blackhas played this line becausehe seesthat after the
slchangeof knights,he will pick up the cannon.
35. R8-2,R7+1; 36. R8=7, R7+5. SeeDia. 100.The
p6int. Black gives double check with the rook and the
cannon.Red hasonly one legalmove.He mustbring back
rheguard.Then, Black retreatshis roo( givingdiscovered
checkby the black cannonwhile simultaneouslyattacking
the red cannon.Red must block this check. (If Red ad-
6 5 4 t i 5 4 vanceswith the king instead,the black rook grvescheck-
mate).Then, Black capturesthe cannon.
Dia 98 Dia 99
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
30.C7=5, B7+5; 31.N6-5,R3+2; 32.N5-3,R3=7. It
wasnot legalfor Black to take the knight with the bishop,
Lrtcause of checkby the cannon.33. R8+2' K5=4. Red
was threateningto play RB:7 checkmate!!Black neatly
sidestepsthis threat by movinghis king. It is important to
be alert to the possibi[ty of checkmateat al] times.These
keep coming up, especiallyin simple positionslike this.
34. C5=6, N4-3.Gettingout of check'See Dia. 99 Al-
though Black's king appearsto be in a precariousposi-
tion, in fact it is perfectlysafe,aslong asBlack is careful. 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Black's last move has been carefuliyand, fortunately' Dia 100
correctlycalculated.Black is forcinga trade of knightsbe- 37. G5-4,R74; 38.B5-3,R7-4. Red tried to giveaway
causeboth the rook and the knight are attackedat the his bishophere to distractBlack from taking the cannon,
sametime. Red cannot defend the knight with the rook but Blackrefusedto takethe bait.39.G6+5, P9+1; 40.

-r24- -125-

R7-5,C94; 41. R7 = 9, R4,-2;42.P5 * 1, R4 = 5; 43' P5+ 1, anyonehasseen.In it, Mr. Hu sacrificesa cannonfor just
R5 + 1; 44. R9 *4, C9=2. Here, Black could have two insignificantlooking pawns(or who knows,maybehe
threatenedthe mate which has been discussedso fre- just blundered).Slowly,he collectstwo more pawnsand
quentlyin thisbook.Blackhad 44... '., C9:5 check.If then the four pawns together push towards the enemy
Red answeredwith 45. 83 +5, Black wouid play R5=4 king like an arrny of termites.His opponentis the peren-
with the mate threat of R4 +5. As you can see,this is vir- nial championof llong Kong. This gamewas also played
tually identical to the mate shownin Dta. 73. Red could in Singaporeat the GuinnessAsian Cup Championship.
still hold out by defending on the back rank with 45.
ChenJian Yun (Hong Kong) vs. Hu Long Hua (China),
87+5, zu =4; 46.R9-6.However,afterthat,he coulddo
Singapore, 17,1988.
nothing but mark time while Black slowlybrought up his
singleremainingpawnto finish him off. (lt is important to
1 . C 2 = 5 , N 2 + 3 ; 2 . P 7 * 1 , C 8 = 6 ; 3 .N 2 + 3 , N 8 + 7 ; 4 .
note that in spite of being a cannon ahead,Black also
the gameis a draw.) Rl=2, P7*1; 5. N8+9, B3*5. SeeDia. 101.Red has
needsthisexra pawn.Otherwise.
This gamewasplayedunder tournamentrules.My flag openedwith the Central Cannon and Hu has defended
had alreadyfallen once and the scorekeeper was coult- with the Fan Gong Ma. It will be noticed that this posi-
ing down the minutes until the final time forfeit. (This tion is alrnostthe same as that reachedin the previous
procedure will be explainedunder the section dealing game.6. C8=7, N7*6; 7. R9=8, C2=1; 8. R8+3,
with tournament rules.) Therefore, my main objective G 4 + 5 ; 9 . G 6 + 5 , R 9 + 2 ; 1 0 .C 5 = 6 , R 9 = 7 ; 1 1 .R 2 * 4 ,
N6+7; 12. B7+5, R7+1; 13. R2=4, R1=2. Diagram
here was to make a bunch of moves quickly and avoid
i02. So far, there is nothingparticularlynoteworthyabout
both blundersand a time forfeit. As a result,the the game
this game. Red has moved his cannon away from the
becamerather sloppy.Eventually,on move 58, I broke
central Line,admitting the futility of his opening.Black
throughandwon both of Red'sguards.Red resigned.
has captured a not very valuablepaw\ or, at least, the
There will no doubt be somereaderswho will not feel
pawn is not very valuableright now. Black now offers an
completely satisfiedjust to play over a game by Sam
exchangeof rook.
Sloan.Therefore,we havejust what the doctor ordered:a
14. R8+6, N3-2;15. C7+1, N7-8;16. P7*1, P3*1;
gameby Hu Long Hua, the best playerin the wor1d.This
17. R4-8, N2+4; 18, N3*4. Notice that on move L6
was one of the most profound and difficult gameswhich

-126- _127_
Red sacrificedhis seventhline pawn just to be able 16 threatening to play 25. C7:6, followedby R8:6 check,
shift over his rook to threatenthe enemy king. Hu noqn rvinningthe rook. Black getsout of this threat by sacrific-
has two pawrls,but Red has an attack.With the current ing a cannon.Since there is nobody in the world better
move, Red forks Black's rook and knight, but his actual than Mr. Hu, nobodybut he can saywhetherthis sacrifice
plan is to bring his knight over to his left side to help a1- wasjust a desperateeffort to get himself out of a bad
tack the king. 18. ., R7=8; 19. N4+6, P5+1; 20. positiorl or if it was part of a profound plan he made
C6 + 6, R8 4. Dia. 103(nextpage). manymovesago.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

6 5 4 6 5 4 7 6 5 7 6 5 4

Dia.101 Dia. 102 Da 103 Dia. 104

Now, the fun begins.Red has captureda knight, but 25. C9-6, P3+ l. Hu sacrificesone pawn to dislodge
Black recoversit by forking the cannonand knight with the bishop so that another can advance.After capturing
the rook. Now, Red is going to put his cannon in tle this pawn, this bishop will never move againfor the rest
corner (remember,the corner is the most dangerousspot of the game.Now, the pawnsstart mzLrching one by one.
for the cannon) and start threateningmate. 21. R8+5' 2 6 . 8 5 + 7 , P L + l ; 2 7 .C 9 = 7 , P l * 1 ; 2 8 .N 9 - 8 R
, 4+2;29.
G5-4;22. C6=9, R4+1; 23. C9+1, Pl+I; 24. C7'3t FC-l; C6=7; 30. B3+5, N8+7; 31. c5+6, R4+1.
Cl*4. Diagram 1(X (next page).Here it is. Red was Diaeram105.

-128- -129-
Red gives away one guard for nothing,just to make 37. N9+8, P5+1; 38. C3=9, G4+5; 39. C9+7,
more spacefor his king to live. Otherwise,Mr. Hu p4s C9+4; 40.83+5, G5+4; 41. N8+7, G6*5; 42. C7=9,
threateningN7+9 followedby N9+7 mate. (Note thal N7+9; 43. BC+4, P5+1; 44. BC=8, G5*6. Red was
the knight would be in the stable),32. G4+5, R4-l; 33. just threateningcheckmate.(I hope you noticed that by
B5-3,R4=5;34. FC=3, R5=2. This moveforcesa trade now.) Black moveshis guardsup just to make spacefor
of rooks, becauseboth the red rook and the red knigll his king. Actually, Black does not care about his guards
are attackedby the black rook. Hu wants to reduce *ys llny more. He wantsto get rid of them, sincehe is being
numberof pieceson the board,because the lesspieceson aftackedby two cannons.45. C8*5' K.5+1; 46. C9-1,
the board,the strongerhis pawnswill be.35.R8-6,Pl=!. N9+7;47.K5=6, P5=4; 48.N7+8, K5-1.Diagram107.
36. N8+9, C7=9. Diagram 106. Now that Black has The interestingthing about this is that Mr. Hu is being
achieveda trade of rook, he is goingfor the last pawn.In repeatedlythreatenedwith mate by the fu11force of two
spite of havingone piece less,it is unlikely that Black will cannonsplus one knight, but he doesnot seemto be the
lose now becausehe has both guardsand both bishops slightestbit worried about this. In fact, Red hasno way to
and,without pawns,his opponentcan almostnevermate. checkmateaslong asBlack is carefuland doesnot slip.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

'@( I

,fi\ L
t-l--t-?darr \J

!J a ' lYr![rD-
A )41
4 iY. ,6\

9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 9 8 7 6 s 4 3
Dia 106 Dia. 107 Dia 108

49.N8-6,K5=6; 50.N6+8, C9-1;51.N8+6, B5-3;52. 59.N54, K5-1;60.C9+5, N6+7;6r. C9-5,CS=4;62.
N6-7,83*5; 53.N7-5,C9=5;54.B5-3,P7+l; 55.C9+l
C9=6, C4+3i 63. K6+1, P2-3i 64. C4=5, G6-S;65.
K6+l; 56. C84,P7*l;57. C8=4, K6=5; 58.Ca-S,Ni.
C 5 + 1 ,P 9 + 1 ; 6 6 .N 4 + 2 , P 7- 6 i 6 7 . N 2 + 4 , P 9 + 1 .I s t i l l
6, Diagram 108.Now, the game is drawingto a close45
think I have the score right. We will celebratewith a
Red seemsunableto find a way to stop the march of the
diagram.SeeDia. 109.68. N4+5, N7-8;69. N5-3,K5=4;
pawru.Unfortunately,the scoresheetis alsobecomingil-
70.N3-4,P9+ 1; 71. C5- 7, K4 - 5; 72. C7- 5, K5 = 6; 73.
legible. Incidentally,I am not coplng thls game out of a
C 5 = 1 , B 5 * 7 ; 7 4 . N 4 + 3 , K 6 = 5 ; 7 5 . N 3 - 2 ,P 6 + 1 ; 7 6 .
boolg becauseit hasn't been publishedanyr,vhere yet. In_ Cl+3, K5+l; 77. CI=Z, P6+1 Red Resigns.Black
stead, I have the actual score sheet, hand written in
threatensto play P6:5 check,followedby P4+1 and
Chinese.Already,I havecorrectednumerouserrorsmade P4+ 1 checkmate.If insteadthe guard now moves,then
by the personwho wrote down thesemoves.SinceI have Black check with the lcright followed by checkmate.
a partially legible scoresheet and I know the final posi- Black only used59 minutesfor this entire game,whereas
tion and sinceI alsoknow that the gameendedon move Red used95.The fina1positionis shownin Dia. 110.
77, I wldldo my bestto work out the interveningmoves. You will see that in spite of being the best player in
t 2 3 4 s 6 7 8 9 the world, Mr. Hu still follows the samebasicprinciplesI
t 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
havetried to explainin earlier chapters.If you study this
game carefully, you should be able to figure out the
reasonsfor most of the moves.

9 8 7 6 s 4 3 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Dia. 109 Dia 110
-732- -133-

ChapterTlvelve ,6p) of Chinese chessis greater or lesser than being the
tonthplayer in the world at international chess.However,
Fischer'sachievement was not only that he was strong,
Who'sHu in ChineseChess but also that he came from esseniiallya non-chessplaying
countryat the time, namely the United Statesof America.
If you decide to take up Chinesechesson a serious If Fischer had been a Russia4 it would not have been
basis, you will want to know about tie leading per. sucha big deal.
sonalitiesof the game.This makesfor a rather long list, Hu long Hua proceeded to win tle All-China cham-
becausethere are so many peopie who have essentia\ pionshipin the years1960,62, 64, 65, 66,74,75,77,78
devotedtheir livesto Chinesechess. and79, which was every year that it was played. (In one of
The leadingpersonalityis Hu Long Hua of Shanghai. thoseyears he tied for fint.) The gap in the years 1966to
He is the Bobby Fischer of Chinesechess.His career 1974wx causedby the cultural revolution. No Chinese
closelyparallelsthat of Fischer.Born in 1945,he won the chesstoumaments were held in China during this period.
A-lI-ChinaChampionshipfor the first time in 1960,when Mr. Hu had a job cleaning and maintaining a swimming
he was only 15 years old. At that time, this victory was poolin Shanghai.
regardedasa bit luclry.Hu then provedit wasno accident Recently, a number of young players have emerged
by winningthe championshipa total of ten timesin a row. and Hu is no longer head and shoulde$ above the rest.
By comparison,Bobby Fischer,who wasborn in 1943, The first grandmasterof the post-Hu period was Liu Da
earnedthe grandmastertitle by finishingeighth in the in- Hua. Born in 1950,he won the All-China championship
terzonaltournamentin Yugoslaviain 1958.That resultar- in 1980and 1981.After that, an evetr younger player, Li
guablymade him the tenth bestplayerin the world at age lai Cheq born in 1960,took the title in 1982.Hu won in
15, becausethe world champion and the leading chal- 1983and Li Tai f,fis1yyen again in 1984.Hu regained the
lenger were exempted from the interzonal. However, title in 1985. The youngest grandmaster, Lu Chin (b.
there was no FIDE rating systemback then, so we cannot 1962)of Guangzhou (Catrton), won in 1986.Then came
sayexactlyhow strongFischerreallywas. U tai Chen in 1987and Lu Chin again in 1988.
It is a matter of opinion as to whether being the All- Since these tournamentshave recently been conducted
on a Swisss)6tem, there is a certain amount of luck in-
China Champion(whichis, in effect,the world champion-
-t34- -135-

Y 't
volved. Everybody saysthat Hu l-ong Hua is still the best chessthan it is to be one of intemationalchess.
player, although they concede that he does not s1uq, The five active gandmasters of Chinese chessare Hu
much any more. Li I-ai Che4 ranked number two, is saiO
WngHna, Li Iai Cheq Liu Da Hu4 Lu Chin andZhot-
to be the hardestworker at the game.
Go Lorug(b. 1961).The retired grandmastersare Yang
It is fairly recently that the China Chinese ChessAs-
GtatLin (b. 1925),Vy'qngJia Uang (b. 1933)and U Yi
sociationhas startedto adopt someof the practicesof in- Trns(b.1937)'
ternational chess. They now award the titles q1 Two of the three inactive grandmastersstill play, al-
grandmasterand master and have started a ratitrg system. rhoughofficially they are retired. One of these is Yang
However, only about 140 players in all of China have Guan Lin of Guangzhou. He won the All-China cham-
ratings. The highest rated player is Hu I-ong Hu4 with a pionshipin 1956,57 and 59 and tied with Hu l"ong Hua in
rating of 2585. 1962.The other is Wang Jia Liang of Harbin. He finished
There is an informal rating systemin China, in addition secondin the All-China championshipin 1956,57 and 59
to the official FIDE-type system which is just getting andwasfourth in 1981.
started. In this syster! first grade is roughly equivalent to The queen of Chinese chessis Mss Xie Si Mng of
classB, secondgrade to classA, third grade to expert, and Beijing.Bom n 1962,she won the All-China champion-
fourth grade to master. Fifth grade players are Hu I-ong shipfor women starting in 1980 at the age of 18 and has
Hua and the other grandmasters. continuedto win it almost every year since. She was the
The criteria for being awardedthe grandmastertitle is first to be awarded the title of Woman's Grandmaster of
that a player must win the All-China championshiponce Chinesechessand is also the only woman who is regarded
or finish in the top two twice or in the top three three asa masterstength player on the men's standard.If that
times. This is a tough standard, since Hu has almost al- is true, then she is in the top forty players in China and
ways won. Only eight players have been awarded the therefore in the top forty in the world. This makes her
grandmastertitle and only about 30 have the master title. comparablybetter than any woman player of intemationa-
Three grandmastersare veteransfrom before the Hu era chess, with the possibleexceptionof Judy Polgar.
Since there are now a total of 267 grandmastersof in- Miss Xie is the only really strong player in China who
ternational chess, plus around 800 international chess isalso a fluent speakerof English. This, her attractiveness
masters,it is clearly much harder to be a grandmasterof and charming personality make her one of the most

-136- -137 -
girls,WangPnr,77, andpengZhao er;.,23.
There is everyreasonto believethat
womenwill monopolizethe wo-man,s
*o.tO .fra_pio^frip
manl'yearsto come.Signiflcantly,
lor theyhJ;k;;;p

chessjust a fer
C}inesechess.Imaginewhatwould t upp.n
if ,orrr"-oi tt "
loung playersof Chinese"t.r, toot ;il;;_

O": gf the top officialsof Chinese
-. chessis Uu Guo
lT":|.I"!ly thecurtural
T""cbanaed. re";r;;6,n"r"
essentially The purpose anJint"rrt of
:ness lvas
the cultural revolution was to uproot
and exterminate all
vesugesof ancient Chinese
.Jto.e. Chinese ;;-*
ciearlypart of thatculrure.
t"r" *"." ouif;;"L",
tike I iu Guo Bin. It is saidthat

l::-i,"rl"*:riprs he hid the an_
llllj of Chinesechess in tf," t*"_"ot o-frrt
nouse in order ro keep them
aad his family ;;;;;;*g
.1.:Y:*O.gylt theculturar revotution. I onceasked
jf during.thecultural,""orrti;;. ;";;;;", him
I"t:l^:: u.runese
cfiess,but very secretly.
t'or this bravery, he has,now

been rewarded -r,by being
u 1op official of Chinese
prominent personarity .fr"*. ,1" "
aad appearson national terevision
tn Cfuna in connection
with Chinesechess.
rong with two Guo Bin is Mr. CnenZuDe,whois a
other Chinese
official,not a chess
r138_ "tr1;;r.-;;";;;,ffii;
-- -739-

1943, was the AII-China Champion many times of the Chairmanof the Hong Kong ChineseChessAssociation.
game of go, known in China as wei'chi. He is ranked as I His Chinese name is lam Ting Bor. He is a graduate of
9-dango player. rhe University of California at Berkeley in Chemistry.
Outside of China, Chinesechessis lesswell organized- Another millionaire backer and top otEcial of the
It seemsthat in every major city in the world, there are World Chinese ChessFederation is Mr. Wong Ming. He
two clubs or groups of Chinesechess,and they are always is one of the shongestplayersin Hong Kong.
fighting with each other. This conforms to the Chinese Mr. kung t"ee Shing of Hong Kong is a businessman
systemof disorderliness. who is the President of tle Hong Kong Chinese Chess
There are so many important personalities in Chinese Association. He is interested in introducing computers
chessthat it is only feasible to mention those who eitler into Chinese chess and in attracting Westerners to the
speak English or who are interested in attracting non- game.He also strongly encouragedme to write this book.
Chineseto the game. Another prominent personality in Hong Kong is Ire
At the top of the list is Mr. Henry Fok, who is believed CheeHoi, born in 1928.Once one of the game'sstrongest
by many to be the richest Chinese in the world. In addi- players,he is now a leading organizerand officiat.
tion to owning a major portion of Hong Kong, he has an One of the most active persons internationally is Mr.
interest in Macao gambtng casinos, among his other Chen [,o Ping of Manil4 philippines. He was onl of the
holdings. His name in Chinese is Huo Ying Dong (Man- foundersof the Asian ChineseChessAssociationin 197g
darin) or Fok Ying Tung (Cantonese).He is the chairman and has servedas its long time secretary.He is very inter_
of the Asian ChineseChessAssociation.He has offereda estedin introducingWestemersto Chinesechess.
prize of a half million dollars to the first non-Chineseper- Mr. Chan Fok I-oi is the active and energetic Secretary
son to win a tournament of Chinese chess ahead of a General of the Asian ChineseChessAssociation.He is
Chinese grandmaster. He sponsored a match of China also the Presidentof the SingaporeChineseChessAs_
againstthe Rest-of-Asia,which China easilywon. He is an sociation.Remarkably,this organiz2fi6nhasbeen in exist_
impofiant personality in other sports as well, including ence since 1934! His predecessor,Robert I_ooi, has
football.His nameis known to all Chinesepeople. traveled the world in his efforts to stir up interest by per_
'f. sonsof other culturesin the game.
Mr. Paul I-am is the Chairman of the newly formed
World ChineseChessFederation.He is also the former In Taiwan, the leading personalities in Chinese chess

-L40- -141 -

are Mr. You and Mr. Lim Yi She.Unfornrnately, they d6 preparation of the first edition of this book, and who im-
not speakEnglish. Wu Gui Lin is the best player. l"rigratedfrom Beijing to America in 1990with the assis-
Surprisingiy,the third shongestcountry in the world in tanceof this author. Probably number two is Chien Chi, a
Chinese chess seernsto be Thailand, behind China and boat person from Viet Nam. They play at a Z+-hour
Taiwan but possibly ahead of Hong Kong and Singapore. Chinese chess club in New York's Chinatown. In San
The national champion and orgqnizslien president is Frarcisco, the best player is either Yan Tat Su4 a
Chen Su Fei. The principal organizet is Chen I Ping. businessman,or Ng Hak Ill from Hong Kong.
However, the best player is said to be Sei Kai Jo, who is fhe most energetic and enthusiastic organizer of
not a member of the principal organization, or perhaps Clhinesechessin America is Frank C. Eng of San Francis-
Liu Po Liang. The name of Sei Kai Jo in the Thai lan- co. Mr. Eng has this wonderful talent and ability which
guage is SanguanJiakiangkai. He finished a clear second few players of Chinesechesshave,which is that he is able
in the SevenStars Cup lnternational ChineseChesstour- to teach the game in fluent English. However, nobody
nament held in October, 1988 in Beijing. However, Liu there has ever heard of Frank C. Eng. His name in Can-
Po Liang also has a good case.He played fourth board for toneseis Wu Chi Gong.(Seepage174for his address.)
Asia in the China against the Rest-of-Asia match held in There are active communities of Chinese chessin l-os
Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto. Yu Chou Jeq Li
Singaporeand got a draw with Liu Da Hua.
Europe, America and Canadaare far below the stand- Chung and Irong Chick are regarded as the best players
in Vancouver.
ard of Asia in Chinesechess.At the 1988SevenStarsCup
The best Japanesenational is Akihiro Tanaka-He was
toumament in Beijing most of the bottom places were
bom in Beijing, China, but was able to emigrate to Japan
taken by players from Europe. I beat Ire Chi Gong, the
when he was twenty becausehis motler is Japanese.His
U.K. representative.(I was the only non-Chinese there).
Chinesename is Chen Zu Jong Haw. However, he is not
The president of the English ChineseChessAssociationis
even in the top ten in Japan.In the 16 years that the
Dr. M. Chandler. The chief organizer is l*e Chi Gong.
Japan National Championshipof Chinese chesshas beetr
The oresident of the German Chinese ChessAssociation
held, no Japanesehas ever won. The best player is Mr.
is Rainer Schmidt.In France,there is Li Hong Da
Go, from China. The chief organizer and official in Japan
The best player in New York is now Gong Fan, tho
is Einosute Fuiio. However. the hesident of the Jaoan
former Beijing Junior Champion, who assisted in the

- 1,42- - 1,43-

Chinese Chess Association is much more famous as 91"
President of the Japan Shogi Association.He is \41 ChapterThirteen
Oyama,the veteran grand championof Japanesechess.
In Indonesi4 the leading Chinese chess organizer i3
History of ChineseChess
Tanama.The best player in Indonesi4 and very likely the
best player in the world who was not born in China, is Yrr
Chong Ming. (His Indonesianname is Ivan Minarta). 11 There are two ancient Chinese writings pertail.
shiang-chi,as Chinese chessis called, dating bac$ng to
Brunei, there is Sung Pak Leong. In Malaysia,there is rA'
thantwo thousandyears.Thesewe will call and \ more
Tan Koong Hean. The best player in Macau is U Jin
Finally, there is Mr. K.K. Chan of Malaysi4 who lives A = EffiA& ' 6xffqu (€ffi
in Hong Kong. He is a developer of computer software
for Novag Computers,which is marketing a Chinesechess
B = ET,.ftEFtlFAAHnn*trJr(ffiAE)
computer, and also for Mr. leung I-ee Shing of the Hong ',{ is from a collection of poems lmown as C},
Kong Chinese Chess Association, who is developing a
The author was named Chii Yuan. He was th;u Chi.
databaseand electronicdemonstrationboard system.
famouswriter in the Chou DTnasty(L046255 B.(i most
A few years ago, the standard of Chinese chessinside 'B'is from a
China was so advanced as compared with the standard
killed himselfby jumping into a lake. o''). He
book of philosophy known as Shuo Yuan, which ciiamous
outside of China that the outsiders had no chancein any 'A'.
It is from the Han D)'nasry(206 B.C. - 221 A.D.Fd
serious contest. It was one of the highest compliments to
arewell lnown to any student of Chineseliteratur{' Bot}t
say,"That player is so sffong that even Hu I-ong Hua can-
You will observe that both of them contli
not give him a handicapof more than two moves." ttr the
Chinesecharactersfor shiang-chi,nameiy: fi.ffi
Now, the gap has narrowed. One reasonfor this is that 'elephant
The words shiang-chi mean, literally,
previously there were not enough books and the players
asopposedto anotherChinesegame,wei-chi(go)Same',
inside China knew lots of opening traps and tricks which
means 'surround game'. No doubt, many reade;which
had not been pubiished.Now, there are many book and
have a knowledge of Chinese will strenuously o\\ *ho
the playersoutside of China are studyinghard to catchup.
the spellingswhich are used in this book. ln therect to
- 1.44- _ Ms _


spelling system, what here is call shinng-chi is spelled disappearedover the centuries in China. Nobody knows
xiangqi and in the older Wade-Giles systemit is spelled the exactrules of thesegamesor how theywere played.
h"siang-ch'i.However,while those spellingsare doubtless The leadingauthoritieson the subjectof Chinesechess
more widely acceptedand technically correct, the average history include Chen Chien Ching of Singaporeand Yang
English language reader will have no idea how to Guan Un, a Chinesegrandmaster.The curent best thirk-
pronounce a word spelled either xiang or hsiangbut will ing is that the game of shiang-chi played in the Chou
easilybe able to pronounceshiang. Dynastywas a board game with only four pieces and was
Now, the question is: Does this use of the Chinese not recog4izableas chess.In other words,it did not have
'checkmate',which everychess-type game,
charactersfor shiang-chirefer to Chinesechess,or doesit the elementof
refer to another game or perhapsto somethingelse en- by definition, must have. However, by the Tong Dynasty,
tireiy? If we can prove that it refers to Chinese chess,we in around 800 AD., shiang-chi had evolved into a game
havejust proven that chessis a much older gamethan has substantially similar to the game we have today. It was
previously been believed and that it was probably in- also during this exact period that Buddhism spread from
ventedin China,not in lndia. lndia to China. Consequently,there was a cultural inter-
Nobody seriously contendsthat the game played in the change.It could be that chesscame to China from India
Chou Dynasty is the same game which we now know as and simply usurped the name shinng-chi,which had pre-
Chinesechess,althoughthe name is the same.However, viously been the Chinese name for some other board
the possibility existsthat it might be a direct ancestor.Ab- game. It could also be that the game traveled the other
sent a major archaeologicaldiscovery,nobody will ever way and that the Chinese nwne shiang-chiwas revised to
knorv the exact truth about this subject.Still, a number of the Indian chaturanga. However, there is no proof in
Chinesescholarsand researchersare trying to find out. eitherIndia or Chinafor either one of thesetwo theories.
Part of the problem is that the Chineseare great ir- Some sourcesgive the 8th or 9th century as the date of
ventors of games.Today we know about gamesltke mah- the introduction of the cannon,the last major innovation
jong wei-chi, dominoes and even a game known in the in Chinesechess.Otherssaythat the cannonwasinvented
West as 'Chinese checkers', which is still popular in around the yeff 1200.Most sourcesagree that the same
China. AII of these gameswere invented by the Chinese. game as played today was played during the latter part of
It seemstlat manymore board gameshaveappearedand the Song Dynasty (960-ln9 A.D.). It is generally

-146- -r47-
regarded as a proven fact that Chinesechessas we know rhi. This is believed to have once been an alternative
it existedby at least the twelfth century. The oldest books that Chinese
n,rmefo. shiartg-chi.One occasionallyhears
and actual game scores come from the Ming Dynasty, sided
chesswas at somepoint either a six sidedor a thee 'six'
around 1500A.D. liu means and
same.The reasonfor this is the word 'six
Interestingly, this conforms almost exactly to the his- iiu bo chi can be translatedto mean sidedgame'.
tory of intemationalchessin Europe.The oldestbook on There is a children's game known in the West as
international chesswas published n l49j in Italy. Thg 'Chinesecheckers'and, in fact, is a six sided game.The
oldest game n the Word Encyclopediaof ChessGamesis ClLinesecall that gametiaa chi, bttt it is not a chess-tlpe
dated 1490.However,that game doesnot obey the legal gamenor is it a game of the checkersvariety.
rules of modern chess. It is probably a mistalceto conciudethat there ever was
A popular book on sale in China has this to say about a six sided or a three sided version of chess.Liu bo chi
chesshistory:"Chinesechessis one of the traditionalcul- wassimply the name of the game' Problems like this al-
tures. It has a long, long history. A long, long time ago waysarise in the Chineselanguage.Every Chinesecharac-
before 2300yearsago the history books have alreadywrit- ter has severaldifferent possiblemeanings.
ten the words sy'liang-chi.But at that time the chesspieces Another factor which causesuncertainty on this entfue
were made of ivory, also called liu bo chi. The modern subjectis that atrcient referencesto gameshke shiang-chi
chess reached its present form around the end of the also contain referencesto asffolory.The Chinesesome-
SongDynasty.There wasone famouspoet. Her namewas times seem to connectchessto astrolos/.Another game
Li Ching Zhou. Shewrote one book entittedHitting Hone more clearly connected with astrology is Chinese
Pictrtre. Already the chess board then was the same as dominoesQtaigow utd tin gow), which have combinations
now. At that time, the chesspieces also had the same of red and white dots. Finally, it has been suggestedthat
names as now. When we open the coffins from the Song 'elephant', the term
because the word shiang mearts
Dynasty, we find the same names and number of the shiang-chiwhen used2000yearsago merelyreferred to a
pieces." (Teach You How To Play Chessby Chang Ching piece of elephant's tusk. It might just mean that the game
Ming Beljing, 1988,ISBN 7-5007-0395-3, p. 1.) itself,whateverit was,wasplayedwith piecesof ivory.
One significant point which is not readily apparent Liu Guo Bin of Beijing is regarded as one of the
about the abovequote concernsthe use of the term liu bo authoritieson the historyof Chinesechess.He personally

_148_ -t49-


was the guardian of some of the historical Chinese

of chesstype gameswith over a miliion regu-larplayers.
manuscriptswhich were otherwisebeLevedto havebegq Malaysianchessand Nepalese'tiger chess'turn out to
destroyed during the cultural revolution. He saysthat 6
be merely gamesof the checkervariety.Burmesechessis
predecessorform of chessdid exist in China in the firs1
flentioned in variousbook, all of which cite H.J.R. Mur-
centuries B.C. hut that the exact game which we play
ray as their original source,but this author was unable to
today has been played for only about the last 500 years.
find any such game during a brief visit to Rangoon and
He also saysthat chesscame from India. The interesting
Mandaiay. Burma recently joined the World Chess
thing is that theseassertionsare mutually exclusive.Chess
Federationand the members of the Burmese national
did not exist in India until the seventh or eighth century
chessteam are also unaware of any such game. Another
A.D. (if then) and so, if it existedin China in one hundred
game called 'Malay chess'by H.J.R. Murray is simply
B. C., it must havebeeninventedthere.
Thai chessby another name. It is still possible that Bur-
Any person who cmnot read Chinesewill have diffrcul-
mesechessor some other form of chessexistswhich irs
ties discussingthis subject. There is a different approach not on the above list. However, Robert Inoi of Singapore
which does not requhe any specializedknowledge of lal- hasconducteda world tour looking for other membersof
guage.We can follow the method of comparativelinguis-
the chess family of games besides those six mentioned
tics and try to reach conclusions about the history of above,and hasbeen unable to find any.
Chinese chess,and of chessin general, by examining the AII of these six varieties of chess have certain fun-
other forms of chesswhich are populartoday. damentalelements in common.All have two opposingar-
mies which consist of a king in the center, rook in the
Other Varieties of Chess corners,knightsnext to the rooks and a bishoptype piece
These are a total of six known varieties of the game of next to the knights. AI have pawns in front. In all cases,
chesswhich are popular and regularly played in the world thegameendsby checkmate.
today. These are international chess, Chinese chess' In view of these similarities, the differences are minor.
Japanesechess,Thai chess,Indian chess and Korean The boardsare ali about the samesize.International,In-
chess.Of course,people are alwaysinventingchessrype dian and Thai chess all use a board of Bx8 souares.
games, taking out patents on them, and trying to get Japanesechessuses 9x9 squares.Chinese and Korean
otiers to play, but the above seemsto be a complete list chessuse 9x10points.Actually,the differenceis evenless
-150- r<1

than rhat.If you look ", chessboard,you\uilt
se€.rharit contains i.^:li"::,AI the
64 squares. and at the iatest they got it shortly after the death of Ali,
Chineseiii'. oneof the four original companionsof the Prophet.
adda river in the middlef,,,
move thepiecesfrom *o
*" lffi:.Tfr: il",'li..o"*0, After that, Spain became an Arab country and
By examining the diffe remained so until 1492, when the Moors were finally
conclusio; "0"",i"1i11,
Jffi :"L::,ff#'#.,:* driven out. For that reason,we have a lot of old Arab
Wecanfoitowsomewhu, 6anuscriptsabout chess.Many, if not most,of thesewere
,r,"ru,i" olo..* ffiilT::j actuallywritten in Spain.The Spanishword for 'bishop'is
guists.divide languages
into familiesanJ,;Gr;il|: 'alfil', which means'the
clude how they evolvedand separated still elephant' in Arabic.
tom ea"t otte. The rules for chaturanga, which the Spaniardscon-
At the starting point, we have a game
";i;';;;;."_ dnued to play, were: the rook moved like a roolq the
g3 ThI is supposed to havebeerithe o.iginurioria"ot
chess.It is saidto havecomefrom India. knight moved like a knight, and tle king moved like a
Ti;;;;.*. king. Significantly, the bishop jumped exactly two squares
know aboutchaturangais that this i, ,f,"
gu-" ,ilJf, 0,. diagonally, just like the bishopin Chinesechess.Also, the
Arabs broughtwith them when they spr";J
Isl;:i;;" queen moved exactly one square diagonally,just like the
n*,, otin'.."-
l1r" '{"b.
guardin Chinesechess.The only differencebesidesthe
,quered. andpenetrated inro France,ti"Alv lJi"" i"
battle in Tours, Francein 732A.D., rh"; cannonbetween Chinesechessand chaturangawasthat in
;;; ;;;;"", Chinesechess,the bishop cannot ffoss the river and the
a religion; they were alsobearing;il;.
game Thr, guard cannot leave the palace. These ideas are purely
waschess.The Arabs calledlt tlatian;i
theArabsh.adonJyacquiredchessa fewyearr';i;;.- - Chinese.In historical Chin4 the king and his guardscould
alsonot leavethe palace.
,1. authoriryin the Arab world on chesshis_
tory is 1._u9*g
MohammadSuccarof Beirut,Irb"";
The nature of international chesswas radically changed
rl1d. ull of.the originalArab and p"rriun H;;; when the Italians gave the queen and the bishop their
rnunur"rloi, present powers. This happened in 7497. We can be
wnrcnmenrionchess.He saysthat
the Arabs"64;";;.
after they took kan, then knownu, p-r,-.ln sot ches, surprisinglycertain about that date. The reasonwe know
this is that people were writing about the old kind of
Othersgivea slightlylater date.t, *y
"u"rrt,-it" ^i""a chessnntil just a few yearsbefore 1497.However,as soon
that the Arabs had acqured chessby the
Omavado"eriod asthe new kind of chessstartedto be played,the old kind
of chess.completely disappearedand wasforgotten.
The important thing is that
"lu* and one diagonally.
lurt 1,4i In addition,the positionof the knight and the elephant
way between what we now call,chutorungu
internaional "i;;;
Chinesechess.We also know rhat chatuanga *d ar-ereversedby eachplayer on one side of the board. If
tr;; ;d. youwiil look at the board you will seethe reasonfor this.
Therefore, it follows that charuraaga
*ur"fotuiii ,1. Otherwise,both the elephantswould have no legal move
parent of both Chinesechessand
.i,"rr1 fir. in the initial position, becausethey would both run into
other possibility is that the evolutionary
"frun **-.o*"- either a center or an edge pawn. The elephant turns out
what longer and that chatr "tiil.::
*i;;; ;;::ff ilr:f f affi: to be a weak piece. In fact, one of the main strategic ob_
jectr'vesis to exchangean elephantfor a guard.
in the first centuriesB.C.
Other differences are that the cannon not only cap_
We can get more information about this
by looking at tues by jumping, but it also has to jump to move. it can-
the other forms of chess.
lot.iuTq.over or captureanother cannon.Consequently,
in the initial position, tle cannonhas no iegal move. Alst_r,
Korean Chess
there is no promotion. The pawns move one forward or
Korean chess should be of great interest
to the one sidewaysfrom the start. There is also no river. The
Chinese becauseit is almost exactly the
same as Cnioo. lines extend directly across the board. The kinss and
chess.The board is almost the ,urn". It "u"r
has ";;;;. guardscan_ move freely alongthe lines in ttre palace.:lhey
The Chinesecharactersused are similar.
If y", i" *, naveexactly the samemove. However, the king starts in a
know whal to look for, you cannot even
tell the difference
betweenthe two games. lolewhat more exposedposition,one point forward from
ils inidal positionin Chinesechess.
Visuaily, the biggest difference is that Indian Chess
Korean chess
usesoctagonal(eight sided)piecesand,instead
of red. the Indian chessis almost the same as international chess.
precesare green.In Chinesechess,
the piecesare rounc. The main differences are: The pawns
The biggest difference in the game is can onlv move one
tlat tire elephant ia squareon the first move,not two.
Korean chessdoesnot -ou" iik" a bishop There is no castline.a
"t all.'R;; pawn promotes to the piece
it moves like a giant knight. Its move is of the file on whicf, it
one forwarJ and promotes,if that piece is
two diagonally, whereas the knight moves available.Two queensor three
one forward rook for one sideare not
Sometimes it is said about the great master of $e (jnilar but less radical period, with a W{fin and other
1930's,SultanKhaq that he becameone of the best chess fl)thical animalsfor pieces).
players in the world, even defeating the world champion, In the end, shogipiecesbecameweakerbut more ag-
Alekhine, while still a beginner at intemational chess,be- to move backwards.
gressive,tending to lose the capac-:ry
causehe was a masterof lndian chess.This seemslessof The rook became a lance, which can only move forward.
an accomplishmentwhen one realizesthat Indian chessig Tte knight also can move only in a forward directio4 and
almostthe sameasintemationalchess. thushas oniy two legal moves.The bishop becamea silver
The interestingquestionabout Indian chessis: Where general,which can move exactly one squarediagonally or
does it sit on the evolutionaryfiee? Perhapsthe British one square straight forward. The queen type piece,
brought it when they conquered India, and the Indians equivalentto the guardin Chinesechess,becamethe gold
simplified the game. Perhaps,it came straight down from general,which moves one square in any direction except
chaturang4 but the Indians modified it, introducing the for diagonally backwards. Uke the guard in Chinese
queen and the bishop, following the European example' chess,there are two gold generalsin Japanesechessbe-
causethe board is nine squareswide.
JapaneseChess Around 500 years ago, Europeals came to Japan.
Japanesehave done the samething with chessthat While unsuccessful in getting them to change their
the/ have done with everything else, which is that after religioq they did manageto convincethe Japaneseto
getting it from somewhereelse, they have changedit and adoptEuropeanfeaturesin chess.They reintroducedthe
made it into just about the most fiendishlycomplexgame rook and introduced the European bishop. These new
which normal human beings would still be interested in pieceswere placed on the secondrank, in front of the
- The Japaneseword for chessis shogz. other pieces.The pawnsare on the third rad<.
The Japanesereally went wild over this, developing all The main difference between shogi and other kinds of
different kinds of shogi gameson all sizes of boards, the chessis that a piece, when captured,is not out of the
biggestof which had a25v25board and 354 pieces.These game.It becomespart of the enemy'sarmy and can be
gameshad nameslike big shogi,smatt shogi, middl'eshogi droppedback into the gameon the playersturn to move
andgreatgreatshogi 'andpieceslike thephoenix, the drunk on almostany squareof the board.It is this featurewhich
elephant and the blind tiger. (Spain also went through a nakes shogi the most complexof all chesstlpe games.

Secondly, alrnost every kind of piece can promote to a The board is 8x8 uncheckeredsquares.The r1
sfonger piece. Promotion takes place upon passing and king movesexactlythe sameas in intemati'i)k ,
ttnough the opponent's first, second or third rank' The However, the queen moves only one square \^T , trugnt
just like in chaiuranga.More important!, trr(,,\j'.{ chess.
rook fromotes to a dragon,the bishopto a horseand fts
pawnsand other piecesto a gold general' Thaichessmovesjust like the silverg"""ia i i.1S:tnr,
chess.The pawnsalso start on the third rank, I l^\noP m
Thai Chess Japanese chess, and promote upo" reql\ir"Pmese
Millions of toudsts pass through Thailand every year' opponent'sthird rank, againjust like in Japa6'\l' [Ke rn
failing to notice the game which is being played alnost f{owever,a pawn can only promote to a quee*\18 . the
everywhereon the street. Thai chess,known in Thailand ihe weakestpiecein Thai chess.The pawnis 11,,'.,cnes.
as malcrook Thai, has such a wide following that move by a bottle-cap and is prornoted by being tur\\\:^hich is
move commentary of the big matches is given on the down.In the startingpositio4 th.'Li"g- 1*"r t1l\iuld like I
nightly television news, something which cannot be. said queenacrossthe board. 'PDosing
The similarities between malcook Thai and ".
about any other type of chessin any country' The national
led researchers to concludethat chessmust h""\^
championship finals are held in a sports stadiur! to al-
t moughThailand before reachingJapan.This \*"& hu*
commodate all the spectators, and the games are dis-
Thai chessmusrbe very otd, becauseit is be,ll"fasseO
played using giant pieces.This author competedin the na-
chessexistedin Japanby at leastthe year 1636!1fl\ that
iio"ut .t u-pio"ship of makrook Thai in 1990'He got his
chessresembles chaturangaand mayte tl" or;Jialhat
photograph published on the front page of most of the
of the game. However,tn. truis' themseh+'r:'Thai
newspapersin Bangkok as a result.
rccordedhistoryof their gameand seemto bel;l,l.rorm
The Thais have their own style of pieces' All of them
is onlya few hundredyearsold. AlthoughftdI*-,,t o9
are shapedlike a Buddhistpagodaof varioussizes,except \,-'rlat lt
(ltinayanabranch)is differentfrom Japanese
for the knight, which is shapedlike a glant horse' How-
(Mahayana branch),it is possiblerhat chess"Jr,i)ls.
ever,Thai Jhesscould be playedwith tlre sameboard.ani
hom Thailandto Japanby Buddhistmonks. \;:nrsm
oieces as international chess,except for the pawns,which '''u8ht
Because Thai chessis sirnilarto internationa
mustbe turned upsidedown whenpromoted'
best Thai chessplayers are also strong
Thai chessis half way between chatuanga and sho9' " at h,^'1"""
\l_.s$, the
-158- - 159 -

chess.The best player of Thai chessis Suchart Chaivichit. any feature which existsonly in one or two of the modern
who has held a FIDE rating as high as 2420.For years,lg games,suchas the cannonin Chinesechessor the queen
made his living as a street hustler of Thai chessand was in international chess,was most likely a new invention, or
completely illiterate. Recently, some public official5 what linguists call an
decided that it was unseemly to have a national figure From the above, we can construct a family tree. We
living like that, so they taught him how to sign his name can see that the original proto-chess,chaturangaor per-
and got him a respectablejob working for the electricity hapssome other earlier gamethat we don't know about,
company. In spite of still being illiterate, Suchart got g branched into three directions' One direction becamein-
gold medal for his 88.9%result at the 1988World Chess temational chessand lndian chess,the secondbecame
Olympiad in Thessaloniki,Greece.He had the best per- Chinese chess and Korean chess and the third became
centagescoreof any male player in the 107nation event. Thai chessandJapanesechess.
Taking the above information and following the I should caution the reader that this is just a theory'
method of comparative linguistics, we can say that there Even the method of comparative linguistics still is just a
once was a gamewe shall cal).pron-chess.It had a piece theory. The idea that a game like chess evolved and
that moved like a rook, anotherpiece that moved like a developedin much the sameway that the lndo-European
knight, plus a king-type piece, a bishop-type piece and tamity of languagesevolved must be regarded as just this
pawns. The object of the game was to checkmate the author's own opinion and idea, and nothing more'
enemy king. This method does not provide us with any The above is just an outtne of a subjectwhich requires
information about when or where the game was first deeperstudy.A great deal of misinformationhasbeenin-
played.It does,however,tell us that all chess-typegames flicted upon the public about the subject of chesshistory'
which exist in the world today are direct descendantsfrom For example, it is almost certainly not true that the
that original game.We can also saythat any game,past or original form of chesswas a four-handed game' That
present,which does not contain those basic elementsis a crackpottheory propoundedby a British writer named
not chess,and, on the other hand, any gamewhich does Forbesin his 1860bookThe Historyof Chess'It has
containall of thoseelements,is chess.Any element,such dismissedby every serious scholar who has ever
all chess
asthe knight,which existsin all modernchess-type games, sidered the subj".i. Stiu, a high percentageof
the tact
must haveexistedin that proto-chess.On the other hand playen today believe it. The theory is basedon

-160- - 161,-

that the word chalur means four. Therefore chaturanga last one thousandyears. If they ever do find it, it will be
might mean four armies. However, we have the word one of the world's oldest surviving literary works. In addi-
chaturangafrom Arab sourcesand it seemsto be a cor- tio4 Arab scholarswho have studied the original work of
ruption or mispronunciationof the Arab wordshatranj.ln an Arab philosopher named Al-Beruni say that Murray is
'sh' not corect when he statesthat Al-Beruni describedchess
almosteverylanguage,the word for chessstartswith a
or 'ch' sound. These include Chinese (shiang'chi), being playedin India in the year 1030.Unfortunately,al-
Japanese (s/zogz),Russian (shal<tnaty),Arabic (shatranj) most every chessauthor since Murray hasjust copied and
and German (Schach).This provides linguistic proof that repeated his mistakes,without bothering to check the
all of these gamescamefiom the samecornmonsource. sources or doing any original research work. Indian
The two worst books ever inflicted on the history of Sanskrit scholan have expressed surprise at Murray's
chess were: A History of Chas and A Short History of statement that chesswas invented in lndia. The Indian
Clrcss,both by H.J.R. Murray, another British author. The HistoricolQuarterly,Calcutta,June, 1938,Vol. 14, No. 2,
last of these book was written in 1917,when a form of part I, p. 275, in n article by C. Chakravarti, concluded:
'No earlyIndian work on the subjectof chessis known'.
romantic semi-schoiarship was popular in England. The
style of the day was to presentthe writer's ideasof what The fact is that Murray was nothing more than an
might possiblyhave happenedas factswhich did happen' elementary school teacher, with no qualifications as a
For example, Murray cites two early Sanslrit works professionalhistorian.Only one real historianhastackled
which he saysmention chess.These are Harshacharitaby this subject.That was Richard G. Eales,in his 1985work
Bana and Vasavadattaby Subhandu. These works are Chess: The History of a Game. Eales refuted point by
studied by every Indian schoolboy. Modern ffanslations point almost every word written by Murray, while at the
show that neither of these great epic works contain even sametime giving Munay fu1l credit for at least trying hard
the remotest reference to a game resembling chess' during a period when the $eat historicalwork in Persian
Similarly, Murray cites the Karnamak, a Persian work and Sanskrit were just starting to be translated into
from about the 7th centurywhich he saysdealswith chess. English.However,Ealesclearlydid not lnow the rules of
Murray makesit sound like he actually sat do\rynand read Chinese chessand therefore was unable to recognize the
this work himself. In fact, the Karnamak is one of the contributionof the Chineseto the modeir form of chess.
famouslost book of history.Nobody has seenit for the Eales followed Golombeh who dismissed Chinese

-t62- _163_

chessas 'the Chineseriver game,and saidthat it was un_ I who had servedin Afghanistan and who wrote the Pashtu-
related to chess. Referring to the ancient Chinese English Dictionary. Pashtu is a language spoken in Af-
manuscripts, Golombek said that, ,They refer to the ghanistan and in Peshawarin Northwest Pakistan. Thus,
Chineseriversidegameof chess,which is in fact not chess Murray would have us beteve that the Pathan desert
as we know it'. See Golombek, Chex, A History, G. p. tribesmenof Afghanistaninventedchess.
Putnam's Sons,New Yor( 1976,p. 10. It is clear that Murray did not invent the theory that chesscomes
Golombe( an honorary grandmasterof chess. never from India. That idea has always existed, even in China
learned the rules of Chinesecbess.Otherwise,he could and Arabia. It is basedon the fact that in most languages,
not havefailed to haverecognizedthat chessand Chinese the third chess piece from the corner is called the
chessare really different variations of the samesame. 'elephant'. Exceptiors include English, where it is called
The book by Ealesdemonstrates why so littlJ has been the 'bishop', and French,where it is called the'fool'. In
published on chesshistory and why most chessplayers are Chinese,even the rune shiang-chimeanselephantgatne.
not aware that Murray's theodes have been refuted and However, the Arabs also had elephants.The Chinese
are consideredbaseless.In spite of being an exceilent alsohad elephantsin their history.On the other hand,the
work, Chess:TheHistory of a Game is now out of print. Indians did not have horses,anotier chesspiece.Horses
Murray's book state tlat chesswas invented bv one exist in India, but in such small numben that they were
man named Shash4 after whom ,chess' was named. not normally used for war. Chariots were not comrnon in
Shashalived in a part of lndia which is now in pakistan. India. Horses exist in northern China in large numbers.
gives the place of invention of chess as Sind, More importantly, we saw from the quotes in the first
which is a province of pakistan- The story which made page of this chapter that the term shiang-chior 'elephant
Murray famous is that Shashaasked, as a reward, that, game' existedin Chinese2300 years ago. Although that
startingfrom one, grains of corn be doubied and placed gamewas probablynot what we would now call chess,it
on each successivesquare the chessboard. Thai story was also presumablynot a gamefrom India. The fact that
originated from H. J. Raverty, who first published it in an the word for elephantappearsin almosteveryversion of
article entitled 'History of Chessand Backgammon,,Jour_ chess which exists anywhere in the world might just as
nal of the Royal Asiatic Societyof Bengal,Vol. 71, part l, easilyprove that thesegamesare all descendedfrom that
p. 47, Calcutta 1902.Raverty was a British army officer original 'elephantgame'playedin China.

-164_ -165-


ments on the moves.Whenever you see a crowd gathered

ChapterFourteen on t}re street an) vhere inside Chin4 you can bet that
there is a game of Chinesechessbeing played at the cen-
Where to Play, ComputerSoftware, ter of tle crowd.
Be sure to carry your own set with you at all times.
and Other ThingsYou Needto Know. There is always a shortage of sets. Since you will be
weaker than most Chinese,nobody is going to be willing
How to Find an Opponent to let you play on somebody else's set, especially when
One of the easiestthings in the world to do is to find there are stronger players than you waiting to play. The
an opponent at Chinese chess.Just go into any Chinese way I learned how to play, incidentally, is that I took
restaurant and ask the waiter to play a game witl you. several long distancerailroad trips acrossChin4 carrying
Don't laugh. You have to take thesegamesseriously.It my own set. Even though almost all of the other pas-
will be some time before you can beat even the average senge$were too strongfor me, they had no choicebut to
Chinesewaiter, and, when you can finally do that, you will play against me anylvay,becauseI was the owner of one
almost be to the level of some of the best non-Chinese of the setsand there was notling else to do.
playersof Chinesechess.At a recentinternationaltourna- When you are carrying your own pocket set, do not be
ment in Beijing, the roorn boys working in the hotel were surprised if the Chinese ask to borrow it so that they can
alrnostasstrongassomeof the weakerplayers. play with each other. Actually, they will not be much in-
If you ever do learn enough to defeat the average terested in playrngwith you, until you can prove that you
waiter, the next level is the old men on the street. Just go can beat them some of the time. This is one of the ad-
out and buy yourself a Chinese chessset. Then sit down vantagesin owning your own set. You can insist that if
on the sidewalk in any Chinesecity. It can be guaranteed they want to play, they have to play with you.
that within thirty secondsan opponent will materialize. If you can beat the averagesidewalk player, you are
Your new opponentwill not be so easyto beat. Remem- ready to graduate to the park. In alnost every Chinatown
ber that he has probablybeen playingchesson that very in the world there is a park and Chinese chessis played
sidewalk every day for the last forty years.A large crowd there. For example,there is Victoria Park in Hong Kong
wili invariably gather around the game and make com- and Portsmorth Park on the corner of Washington and

-166- - 1,67-

Kearny Streets in San Francisco.However, now you have with you unlessyou come with pockets bulging. However,
hit the big time. Be sure to bring plenty of money with the clubs have several advantages.Spectators wilI not
you, becauseyorr opponentswill want to play for money. shout suggestedmoves if there is rnoney involved in the
The minimum is usually ten dollars a game. game.Also, if you are strong enough actually to win, your
If you can win in the park, you will quickly become opponent will not glve up. He will play game after game
rich. However, this is not so easy.Many players there are with you, until he is broke, even if he has no chance of
full-time hustlers of Chinese chess. Before you play winning. This is t}le reasonthat there are so many profes-
anybody for money, try asking what his job is. If he sional players of Chinesechessoutside of Chin4 much
doesn'thaveone,you may be in for a toughgame. more than there are professional players of international
The playing conditions in the park are less than ideal. chess.ff you can win regularly in the clubs, you will be-
Tremendous crowds gather around the games.Spectators come a millionaire. You will not need to bother with the
start shouting suggestedmoves at the players, like spec- half million dollars Henry Fok is going to give you.
tators at a boxing match who shout, 'hit him with a right.' In placeslike Hong Kong you will sometimesfind a
Since they will be shouting the suggestedmovesprobably dozen or so men lined up, eachwith a Chinesechessset
in Cantonese,your opponent will get the benefit of what at his feet with a position set up. These are professional
they say, but not you. Sometimesthe spectatorswill ac- players of Chinesechess.They have a proposition to offer.
tually reachover and movethe pieces. You can take either side of the positionon the board that
Finally, there are the clubs. In the clubs outside of you want, red or blaclg and they will play the other side.
Chin4 they play for more money, ranging from forty to They are prepared to wager a considerable amount of
one hundred dollars per game. Actuall% even if you do money that you cantrotwin or draw, as the casemight be,
find the club, you will at fust have trouble getting in the regardlessof which side you take. Do not bet with these
door. They will think that you are from the police and are people. The positionsthey show might look simple, but
coming to raid tleir gambling joint. However, if you can actually are so difficult that nobody can solve them who is
somehowfinally convincethem that you are actually there not fami[ar with that particular position.
to play Chinesechess,you will be welcome.
Most of the playersin the clubs will not be able to Where to Play ChineseChess
speak English and will not be much interested in playing The following is a list of clubs, contact penons, as-

a Y

sociationsand federations around the world. It is neither xo4722v DunhuangRd,l-anzhou, tel.35911Ext.2565.

complete nor uniforrn The idea is just to help you get in Taiwan (ChineseTaipei): Telephonenumben of the
touch with someone who plays Chinese chesswherever TaiwanChineseChessAssociationare (02) 5533741and
you may be. If you can just find one such person, he will (AD 5536120.Mr. Yu and Mr. Lim are the top officials.
generally be abie to introduce you to the others. The club is locatedat 34-1Kung-YuanRd, Taipei,tel.
China: Beijing. The Chinese Xangqi Association is at 361,-6138. By mail, try JohnsonJiang,4F No. 75 Min-
the new 'chesspalace' or China Qi Yuaq 80 Tiantandong ChuanW. Rd.,Taipei.
Road, Beijing 100061,China,tel. 86-1-7011618, FAX 86- Hong Kong ChineseChessAssociation, Flat F,lF,4/F
1-5112294.Otricials there include Liu Guo Bin. Go and \\iang CheungCommercialBuilding, 249-253Reclama-
international chessare also played there. There is also a tion St.,Kowloon,teI.3-'723090. Oneof tle bestpeopleto
club in one of the buildings along a western wail inside contact is L.S. Leung, 1 Tai Hang Road, 11/A" Hong
the Forbidden City. However,mostly go is played there. Kong, tel. (res.) 8902918,(otr) 0-a666813, FAX 0-
A master player and noted author in both Chinese chess 4563304or else try ke CheeHoi, 20-30Morrison Hill
and international chessis Xu Jia Liang, 8 Tiyuguan Rd, Road 15th floor Flat C, tel. 5-723090. The Chairmanis
tel. 757L6Lext. 26L. Also, there is Miss Xie Si Mng, Post Paul T. Lam, tel. 7923691.Ottrer importantpersonalities
Box 687,Beijing Normal University, (408) 629-2606. are HenryY.T. Fo\ Room 500-2PedderBldg.,12 Ped-
Guangzhou (Canton): The club is on Shiamen island der St., Hong Kong tel. 5-'2i4944utd 5-?27131. and Mr.
by the tennis courts in front of the White SwanHotel. Wong Mng, 15/F C.M.A Building, 66 ConnaughtRo.
Shanghai:Try Hu l-ong Hua himself. His addressis: 4, Centrai,HongKong,tel.5-8153683, FAX 852-5-8150012.
I-ane 591,NanjingRd (W.), $toanghai, Chn4tel.531267. SingaporrChineseChessGeneralAssociation,10B,
Harbin: Wang Jia Liang, Heilongjiang ChessAcademy, Lnr. 10,Geylang,Singapore 1438,tel 741,0989.Theyare
19 Heping Road,Harbin, China,tel. 229342or 229125. still in the processof movingfrom their previousaddress
Chengdu: Miss Un Ye, Sichuan Chengdu Chess of 21 Tyrwhitt Road #05-07,FoochowBuilding,Sin-
School,West SuburnSportsStadiurn,Chengduor Mr. Cai gapore0820.TeL2960767. This is a veryenthusiasticor-
Shao Pu, Manager, Sichuan Sports Committee, 1 ganizerof intemationalcompetitions,with ChanFok Ili
TiyuchangRoad, Chengdu,SichuarqCbrna,Iel. 62574. as the president and Cecilia Tay as the secretary.Hu
Lanzhou: Han Kuan" Gansu Province Xiangqi Federa- I-ong Hua, regardedas the 'Bobby Fischer' of Chinese

-L70- -171 -


chess,hasrecentlybeenthere as a chesscoachttnder con- Malaysia: MalaysiaChineseChessAssn.,ZO-Q Jalan

tract. Also, there is the Beidou ChineseChessClub. Mr. Bugis,Pudu,55100Kuala Lumpur, tel.2224224.There is
Lim Kwzm How is the president.The addressis: 13 alsoa club aroundthe cornerfrom the Lido Hotel, on the
Hillview Ave., #24-14\6, Singaporen66, tel.4590830. second floor, near to the YMCA Also try Persatuan
Thailand Xiangqi Association, 76 Trok Pantajit Catur Cina Wilayah Persekutuag No. 10, 4th floor, Jalan
Mytrijit Road, Bangkok 10100,Thailand, tel. 2242308. Panggung,5000 Kuala l-arnpur, tet.'2321579.One of the
There is also a rivdl group,The Tio ChewAssociationof officials is Tan Koong Hean, tel. 03-2411000page 6291
Thailand, 1/1 Soi Watprok 1 Soi Yenchit Yannawa, and03-77542i70 (res.).AIso, there is John C.C.Chong tel.
Bangkok, tels. 2112803,21.13204and 2113905.Thailand 07-630695.
has a large Chinese community and is perhaps the third East Malaysia: East Malaysiais locatedon the island
strongestcountryin the world in Chinesechess.The best of Borneo, far from mainland Malaysia and nearer to the
man to contact is Chen I Pirry, 215-217SiprayaSap Road, Philippines. They have their own federation. The address
Soi Santipap1, Bangkok10100,tel. 2362651and2362729. is Persekutan Persatuan Xiangqi Sarawak Dan Sabah,
His houseis convenientlylocatednear Patpong.An excel- P.O. Box 792,90008Sandakan,Sabah,East Malaysia,tel.
lent speakerof English is Mr. Lin Tse Wei, 191/78Soi 272n78 and 666182.ContactMr. [:u Kiing Ho.
Chokchai4 I adpraoRd., Bangkok,te1.539-1989. Brunei Chinese Chess Association,P.O. Box 1417,
Japan: Contact Mitsunori Yamada, Niichu Chinese Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalarq tel. 22:n57.
Chess Association, Shimo Igusa 4-1-15, Suginami-ku, The best man to contact is Sung Pak Leong, a
Tokyo, Japan,tel. (03) 3399-1592(home) (03) 3713-7000 businessmanand speakerof English, or Mr. KC. Chong.
(office). Another contactis Mr. Nagataof Yokohama,a Philippine Federal ChessEnthusiastAssociation,Inc,,
professorat Hosei University,who speakssome EnglisL. Room 219, 945 GandaraSt, Manila, tel.483736.The best
His telephonenumberis (045)432-8139. person to contact and one of the most energetic and
Indonesia: Percasi Unit Catur Gajah Pusat, Jalan authoritativepersons in the worid of Chinese chessis
PejagalanI No. 35C, Jakarta-Barat.The presidentis Mr. Chen l-o Ping, 624 Ongpin St, $:nil4 tel. 486218,FAX
Tanama,tels.3809742(off.) and 6394569(res.).Also try 63-2- 461291.His office was formerly the official address
Lim Cin Kiong, Jl. VikamasUtarail25, Villa Kapuk Mas, of the Asian ChineseChessAssociationof which he was
Jakarta-Utara.te1.374830. the secretary.

-772- -r73-

Macau Chess General Association,3, TravessaDas evicted in a dispute with their landlord and nobody can
Venturas, Macau, tel. 330377.Contact Mr. Kou PengKoi. seemto find them. Someof their membersspeakEnglish.
United States of America: San Francisco.Absolutely The best contact pe$on is Edward Ling Fai Chan,
the best person in America to contactin Frank C. Eng, formerly of 9424 46th Ave., Elmhurst, Queens, New
res. tel. (415) 731-7913.He is the President of the York 11373,if only you can find him. Another possibility
Chinese Chess Association, 153-,{ Waverly Place, San is to write them at P.O. Box 1079,G.P.O.Brookgn, N.Y.
Francisco,Caiif. 94108,tel. (415) 391'-1236.
He comesto Los Angeles.Chinese ChessAssociationof hs An-
the club every eveningat about 5:30 P.M. He is also a geles, 539 East Garvey Avenue, Monterey Park, Calif.
member of the organizing committee of the World 91754.
Chinese ChessFederation. His name in Cantoneseis Wu Miami, Florida. Try Larry Kaufrnan, 77 I-awel [-ane,
Chi Gong, so ask for him by that name. If you live in Parkland, Fla. 33067, tel. (305) 341-4798.Mr. Kaufman
America but do not happen to live in San Francisco, he can also generally be contactedthrough the United States
will know someonewho plays near where you live. ChessFederationin New Windsor,New York.
A newcomerto the sceneis JamesFeinsteiq P.O. Box Washington, D.C. Try Sen Huei Chen, Univ. of
1305,San Bnuro, Calif. 94066,tel. $15) 75642a6 $es.) Maryland, Math Dept., College Par( Md.2U42.
and (a15) 876-0909(otr). He has a bold plan to make Canada: Vancouver Chinese ChessAssociation:Mr.
Chinese chessinto a favorite pastime for all Americans, P.H. Ma, 242-3TEPenderSt., Vancouver,B.C. V6A 1S9,
and hasdesigneda new kind of set,amongother things. tel. (604) 433-0308.Also Mr. I-awrence Der, lTl East
Another personalityof note is David Woo. He publish- 64th Ave., VancouverV5X 2M3, tel. $A) 3n4494.
es his own newsietteron Chinesechess.This is perhaps Calgary ChineseChessAssociation, Mr. Milton Ang, 8
the orily English languageperiodical of Chinese chessin Varcourt Place Nortlwest, Calgary, Alberta 73A OG8,
America. One can also contact this author at Sam Sloan, rel.(043)u7-&49.
2420 AthertonSt. #6, Berkeley,CA94704. Toronto ChineseChessAssociation,32 ScottDrive,
New York Until recently, the club was the Chinese RichmondHill, Ontario,IAC48, tel. (416)492-7581.
ChessConfederationof Eastern U.S.A, 81 Bowery St., Edmonton ChineseChessAssociatioq34 Sterling
secondfloor. room 6. New York, New York 10002,tel. Road,Edmonto4Alberta,Canada,T5X 4C3,tel. (403)
(212) 431-8782.However, in 1991, they were abruptly 421,-0405.
-t74- -175-
7 Y

Australia. Try Iri Shou Tie, the director of the France,c/o Asia Services,15, Rue Des Freres D'Astier,
ChineseCultural Center in Melboume. De l,a Vigerie, 75013Paris,France.Also, RencontreEt
German Chinese Chess Association, Mr. Rainer Culture Franco-Asiatique,29,Av De Choisy,75013Paris
Schmidt, Handjerystr. 58, 1000 Berlin 41, te-. tel. 45861052.
030/8512168. The German organizationseemsto be the The above list is undoubtedly incomplete, but still is
only one with a significant number of members who are possiblythe most completesuchlist ever assembled.
not overseasChinese.Their most famous member is Dr.
Robert Hiibner, a sinologist and one of the top fifty rated Computer Software
grandmastersof intemational chessin the world. David Since the publication of the fi$t edition of this book, a
Wurman has written a book on Chinesechessin German_ first class Chinese chess databaseprogram has been
Hamburg: Sektion Hamburg Taggstr. 15, D- developedin Taiwan. This program is similar to Chess-
2213llVilstr.,Germany. Base.It runs on MS-DOS computers.It was used by the
Holland: NederlandseXangqi Bond, do Peter Blom- SingaporeChineseChessAssociationto record all of the
mers,Tollensstraat134,2513GE Den Haag Netherlands, gamesof the 1989World Cup ChineseChessChampion-
tel.070-6M102. ship. It not only records and saves the games, but it
England ChineseChessAssociation:Mr. C.K. l.;Lt"12 produces a guaranteed accurate score. This program is
l,agan House, Sumner Road, London SE15 5RB. The especiallyuseful becausea high percentageof all publish-
president is Dr. M. Chandler,88 CharterhouseAvenue, ed gamescontainerrorsin the score.
SudburyTown, Middiesex,England. Unfortunately, although this program is commercially
France ChessClub: Amicale des Teochewen,41, Rue available,it can only be obtainedin Taiwan In addition,
du Disque, (Entree: 66 avenuedTvry), 75013Paris. Mr. the only souce of information about this program has
Ly Trach Trung, tel. 45-82-0601.Also, Chinese Chess been Mr. Yu of TaiwarL and Mr. Yu speaksno English'
Club of the American I-egion, Department of France, 49 Mr. Yu did bring rwenty copies of the program with him
Rue Pierre Charro4 75008 Paris, tel. 7214456.Also, Li to the World C\p ChineseChessChampionships in Sin-
Hong D4 23L, rue du Fg St-Martin 75010 Paris, tel. gapore, but they were immediately gobbled up by the
4?392226and 48333686.AIso 5, rue Henri Barbusse players,and none more are presentlyavailable.
93300 Anbervilliers. Also, Association de Xiangqi en A programof this type has alsobeen commissionedby

-176- 111

7 Y

Mr. L.S. I-eung of the Hong Kong Chinese Chess As- would have gotten some of the blunders out of my system
sociation and is being developedby KK Chan. However, which I otherwiseplayed.
that progam is still in the initial developmentstages. Novag Computers, one of the major manufacturersof
Mr. Gong Fan and Mr. Meng Chang tr of Beijing, computer chessgamessuch as the Novag Super Expert,
China have developeda floppy disk containing 124 ganrcs also has a Chinese chessmachine. That machine has not
of Hu [,ong Hua. They also have disla for intemational been a great successand more than 5000remain unsold.
chess,including one disk eachfor the best gamesof Fis- They have hired [Iu Long Hua who has already provided
cher, Kasparov and Karpov. Their Chinese chessdisk is an openingsbook of 8000half movesfor the next genera-
excellent for a player at any level. The program nrns on tion machine.
CGA or EGA" but not on Hercules. This was perhapsone K.K. Ctran, both a programmer and a spokesmanfor
of the first caseswhere someonehas marketed computer Novag, claims that the Novag Chinese chessmachine has
software directly by mail order from tle People's been tested and found to be stronger than Chinese
Republicof China. Chessmaster.The Novag computer sells for about US$50.
Mr. Gong Fan recently immigrated to the U"SA., with Wang Xiao Rurq Guangming General Company, 106
the assistanceof this author, who got him out of China on Yong An St., Beijing 10005Qtel. 338561ext. 392, FAj{
June 22, 1989.Mr. Gong Fan presently residesin Brook- 3016716, has developed computer algorithrns for a
iyn, New Yorlg where he is gainfully employed as a dish Chinese chess program with a professor at Nankai
washer,but his exactaddressis unknown. University in Tianjin. However, they do not have a work-
There are several programs on floppy disk which play ing program yet.
Chinesechess.Perhapsthe best is ChineseChessmaster,
which comes from Taiwan The graphics and display are Tournament Rules
excellent.The program is not terribly strong,but not weak In Chinese chess tournaments at a high level, the
either. It is quite alert to short term tactics. There are player of the red pieceswins about 50Voof the games,
probably few non-Chinesewho can defeat it. Although I with the rest being divided almost equally between draws
can win almost every gameagainstit, I am angry at myself and losses.BecauseRed has a big advantage,most tour-
for not having used it more to prepare for a tournament naments are played under a two game syster! although at
in Beijing. A few hundred gzures against that program times a one gamesystemhasbeen used.

-178- -179-

The Chinese have picked up another Western idea of in the toumament room.' In Chinese chess,it doesn't
using Swiss system tournaments. As the Chinese rating quite work like that. There is a moderator with a loud
systemonly coversa few players,they use lottery pairings. speakeror a microphone.He calls out the moveswhich
Although playen with equal scores are paired against are displayedon a demonstrationboard to the audience.
each other as much as possible, the exact pairings are If several gamesare going on at once, each score keeper
drawn by lot. This is much fairer, as pairings by rating will saveup a few movesat a time and then all the moves
tend to give an unfair advantage to the higher rated will be displayed together. Sometimes,a resident master
players. The pairings are made publicly, with the players will give move by move commentary over a microphone'
watching the lots being drawn. In international chess,the while the playersare sitting right there playing the game.
pairings are usually made in a secretpairing room. The playersdon't seemto mind this. Perhaps,they got
The time control systemfollows that developed for go used to this while playing sidewalk street games on the
(wei-chi). Each player might have one and a half hours to way to the top. Also, this systemhas advantages.It makes
play his game.ff his flag falls, he has ten minutes to make Chinese chessinto a spectator sport. This is the reason
the next ten moves.If he fails to make the next ten moves that there can easilybe a thousandspectatorsat a contest
within ten minutes, he losesby forfeit. If he completesthe of Chinese chess,while an equally strong competition of
ten movesin time, he continues to play until his flag falls international chesswill get almost no spectaton.
again,when the processis repeated.The playersdo not The results of a competition are determined by match
keep their own score.Instead,a scorekeeperwrites down points in two game matches'A win and a draw is just as
the moves.The gamesare collected and toumarnent bul- good as a win and a win. ff two players or tearnsare tied
letins are published containing all of the games. on match points and the tournament is a Swiss,the ties
This system can become crazy at times. Sometimes, will be broken by the sum of the scoresof the player'sop-
two matches of two games each are scheduled for one ponents.After that, game points might be counted. Final-
day. This meansa total of four gamesin one day.A game iy and surprisingly, the number of minutes used in the
can easily go on for more than one hundred moves.The games are considered for tie-breaking purposes' The
players might stafi at ten o'clock in the morning and still player who has played the fastest during the tournament
be sittingthere at six o'clockthe next morning. wins on tie-breaks.
In international chess,there is a general rule of 'quiet

-180- -181-

Handicap Games opening, you should be able slowly to activate your pieces
When you are a new player of Chinesechess,you may and wirl After that, your opponent will not be willing to
find that your opponent will offer to give you a handicap offer you odds of two knights any more.
when he realizes your actual level. The standard hand-
icaps are one move, two moves, one lmight and two ChineseTerminologt
knights. Do not be irsulted by this. Actually, a master can Througlrout this book, we have avoided any use of
give a fairly strong player the odds of one knight. Even at Chinese terminolory. There are several reasonsfor this.
odds of two knights, it is not so easy to win. There is a The marn reason is that it is uselessto give the Chinese
special rule for gamesat odds of two knights. The player terminolory, becausethere are so many Chinesedialects.
receiving the odds is not allowed to capture the Until now, we have managedto use only two Chinese
opponent's center pawn unlessthe pawn has moved or he chess words in this entire book. These are xiangqi or
is giving check. This is because a player without two shiang-chi, the name of the game, andfan gong ma, the
knights finds it difficult to defend his center pawn name of a popular opening formation I thought of
The player who gives the handicap of one or two presenting a list of other well known opening formations,
knights has a compensatingadvantage.He does not have like the pin fong ma, btrt decided against it. In fact, we
to worry about developinghis knights, becausethey don't have not even given the Chinesenamesfor the pieces.
exist. Therefore, he will be able to bring his rooks out J6n need to know the word shiang-chibecauseother-
quickly and penetrate with them to the opponent's second wise, when you say Chinesechas, most people will tttink
rank He will try to pin the opponent'stnight and capture you are talking about go (wei-chi). Actually, you need to
it with the cannonin the manner we sawback in Dia. 68. know two terms,chunguoshiang-chi,which meansChinese
If you play at these odds,you will have to develop your chess, and guaji shiang-chi which means intematbnal
knights quickly to stop that from happening.perhaps you chess.Tll,e word gzoji meansintematbnal.
might try moves like N2 + L and N8 + 9, just putting your We could have told you that the word for horse or
knights on the edge of the board for the time being. The knight is ma, the word for cannonispao and the word for
danger of this is that your knights will be more or less out bishop or elephant is shiang. However, you might have
of the game for at least a while. Also, your center pawn gotten discouragedwhen you found out tlat the word for
will be Ieft undefended. However, if you can survive the red pawn is different from the word for black pawn. Im-

-\82- -183-

agine how discouraged you would have been had you

been told that after learning the Mandarin words for Books and Playing Setsfor Chinese
these things, it was then absolutely necessaryfor you to Chess,Shogi, Go and Mah Jong
learn also the equivalent words in Cantonese,Fukienese
and Shanghaiese. We havedecidedthat it is better for you Whenever you're looking for the best in stratery ganes from the
to use your brain power trying to learn how to play the Orient, think of Ishi Press.We're committed to offering English-speal-
game well, rather than trying to memorize a bunch of ing readersthe best ir all thesefascinatinggames'
Ask your local retailer for our good-qualityChineseChessset with
terms which you will probably never use.
durable plastic chesmen and a folding woodenboard. If you can't find
I tried to write this book using a directory of basic it in your local area,contactus directly for ordering information.
simplified and complex Chinese characters plus their You may also find JapaneseChess(sft41) of interest.Read about it
Pinyin pronunciation. It didn't work. If I want to know in our book S/r4z /or Beginnen, or learn to play with our Shogi Master
how to pronounce a man's name, I still have to call him computer program for IBM PC and compatibles.
Go (Weichi in Chineseor Pahduk in Korean) is another classical
up and ask. Knowing the Chinesecharactersdoesn't help strategygamethat will challengeyour mind' We publish tho most com-
much. The main thing to know about the Pinyin systemis olete collection of books about Go to be found in aly Western lan-
that the letter 'x' soundsto Englishspeakerslike 'sh', 'q' guage.And we can supply the most complete selectionof Go-playing
like 'ch', and'r'Like'l'. For example,I have calledthe equipment to be found aayrhere ir the westem world' Whether you
-L lookiog fot a basic set or the most elega:rttraditional Go-ban with
sfiongestplayer in the world 'Hu I-ong Hua', but he spells
slate and clanshell stonesin polishedwoodenbowls,wele got it.
his own name 'Hu Rong Hua'. I have tended to call the
name for Chinese chess 'shiang-chi', but they spell it Ask your local retailer or write for a free catalog!
'xiangqi'. On the other hand, I left
the spelling of the
name of Grandmaster 'Xe Si Ming' the way it is, rather In North America: In Europe and U.K:
'Shie Ishi PressIntemational Ishi PressInternational' Ltd.
than spell it Si Ming'. With this knowledge,you will 20 BrugesPlace,BaFes Street
76 BonaventureDrive
also be able correctly to pronounce the name of the new SanJose,CA 94043 London NW1 OTE
Woman's World ChessChampion,whose name is Xe Telephone:(4M) 94+9ffi Telephone:07I-28+4898
Other Countries:
The Ishi Press,Inc.
CPO Box 2126,Tokyo, Japan
-184- -185-


Go Books from Ishi Press

AN INTRODUCTION TO CO by JamesDavies and Richard Bozulich
TIIE MAGIC OF GO by Cho Chikun
THE WORLD OF GO (Anything you would ever want to know about Co)

THE SBCOND BOOK OF GO by RichardBozulich
BASIC TECHMQUES oF Go by HaruyamaIsamu and NagaharaYoshiaki
TFST YoUR GO STRENGTH by Miyamoto Naoki

ElementaryGo Seies
VOLUME 1: IN THE BEGINNING by hhigure lkuro
VOLUME 2: 38 BASIC JOSEKI by Kosugi Kiloshi ard Jame.sDavies
voLUME 3: TESUJI by JamesDavies
VOLUMB 4: UFE AND DEATI{ by JatnesDavics
voLUME 5: ATIACK AND DEPENSE by lshida Akira and JamesDavies
VOLUMB 6r TTIE ENDCAME by OgawaTomoko and JamesDavies
VOLUME 7: HANDICAP CO by NagaharaYoshiaki and Richard Bcaulich

THE 3-3 POINT by Cho Chikun

DICTIONARY OF BASIC JOSEKI (3 Volumes) by Ishida Yoshio


' RedChessPieces