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Chinese Chess (Xiang Qi):  
How To Play Chinese Chess

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Now that the parallels are known, letís distinguish the few unique differences between these two games:

  • An Imperial Palace
  • A river located in the middle of the board that must be crossed
  • The creation of the Cannon

The object of Chinese Chess is the same as the game of International Chess—to capture the enemy General (or King).

Chinese Chess is played on a board that contains 64 squares. The major distinction of this game is the battlefield. In the middle of the board is a river. Another difference is that the pieces are placed on the intersections of the lines, called points, and not in the squares that can be found in International Chess. Therefore, Chinese Chess is played on a board of 9 x 10 points, rather than on a board of 8 x 8 squares.

On each side of the board in Chinese Chess there is a palace (known as the Imperial Palace). Neither the General nor the guards of the Generals are allowed to leave the palace. Also, the opposing Generals are not allowed to "see" each other directly across the board.

Like International Chess, Chinese Chess is easy to learn but difficult to play. The basic movements of the pieces are as follows.

How to Play

Each player starts with 16 pieces of 7 different varieties. Playing pieces are placed on the intersections of the board, not in the squares. The playing pieces are flat disks with red or black characters. The red player begins play, and then play alternates black, red, black, and so on. Chinese Chess can be won either by putting the enemy General in checkmate or stalemate. It has been said that the player who makes the first offensive move has the advantage.

The Board

As mentioned earlier, Chinese Chess is played on a 9 x 10 grid. There are nine points on each side of the board that are marked by two diagonal lines. (This area is called the Imperial Palace.) The open space in the middle of the board is called the river. The two areas do affect the movement of several pieces. (See Pieces and Their Movement.)

From left to right on the bottom and top rows, there is the chariot, horse, elephant, guard, king, guard, elephant, knight, and rook. On the third rows, there are the cannons, and on the fourth row are the soldiers. Pieces at the bottom half are red. While the other side of the pieces are usually black or green.

Correct Opening Setup of Chess Pieces on the Chessboard

Correct Opening Setup of Chess Pieces on the Chessboard

 

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