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Text By Rick of ancientchess.com
Xiang Qi, pronounced “shyahng chi,” is said to translate as “the elephant game.” This form of chess has been played for many centuries throughout China. Although only beginning to become widely known in the west, Xiang Qi is probably played by more people than any other board game in the world — including the familiar western “international” chess.
The Arrangement. The pieces are arranged symmetrically, as shown left. Note that some pieces on the Red side bear different characters than their counterparts on the Black side. They are the same pieces — with the same power — on each side. But names on the Red side are subtly more noble than those on the Black side. It’s a fair match, but you could say the Reds are the “good guys.” The set you play on may have slightly more or less variation between the two sides, and may be of colours other than Red and Black. Not to worry; it’s still the same game.
The Pieces. Here are the pieces and their approximate Chinese pronunciations, names translated into English, and equivalents in our more familiar western chess:
Layout for printed viersion
Author’s own Xiang Qi board
Other wooden Xiang Qi Boards
Electronic Xiang Qi board
Ahome made Xiang Qi board
Ancientchess.com Xiang Qi page: http://ancientchess.com/page/play-xiangqi.htm
Yutopian.com Xiang Qi page: http://www.yutopian.com/chinesechess/history.html