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Xiangqi (Siang K'i)DLP Game   

Period Medieval

Region Eastern Asia, Southeastern Asia

Category Board, War, Replacement, Checkmate, Xiangqi


Xiangqi, or "Elephant Game," is a Chinese game ultimately derived from Indian Chaturanga. Its exact date of origin is disputed, but it has been popular in China for over a thousand years.


Played on a board with 9x10 intersecting lines. Pieces are placed on the intersections of the lines. Centered on opposite sides of the boards are two areas, known as the gong ("castle"). Bisecting the board is a blank space known as the he ("river"). Pieces are double-sided, with different colors and names of the pieces indicating to which player they belong. Jiang("general")/shuai("marshal")(1): may move one space orthogonally and cannot leave the gong except when opposite the opponent's jiang/shuai, in which case the piece can capture the opponent's jiang/shuai. Shi("guard")(2): moves one space diagonally and cannot leave the gong. Xiang("elephant")/xiang("minister")(2): move two places diagonally and cannot cross the river. Ma("horse")(2): move orthogonally one and then diagonally one space. Can be blocked by a piece next to it orthogonally. Ju("chariot"(2): moves any number of spaces orthogonally. Pao("catapult")/pao("cannon") (2): can move orthogonally any number of spaces, captures by jumping one piece (of either player). Zu("private"/zu("soldier")(5): can move one space forward. Once they cross the river, can also move one space horizontally. The goal is to checkmate the opponent's jiang/shuai.

Murray 1913: 121-134.



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Murray 1913: 121–134.

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Lequan, Cui. 2009. "Archaeological Discoveies. and Tang-Song Period Sports and Games. Chinese Archaeology 9: 55–62.

Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.

Niu Sengru. Xuanguai Lu. (Trans. Murray 1913: 123–124).

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