What is Xiangqi? Xiangqi is an ancient form of chess that is popular worldwide. Xiangqi is believed to have developed as a variant of chess in China around 700 AD. It is now played all over the globe by over a billion players.
Commonly known as Chinese Chess, or Elephant Chess, xiangqi is a game of skill and strategy. At first glance, the board is very similar to an international chess board, with a few key differences.
Xiangqi’s board has a story behind it: it’s not just a group of squares, it’s the tale of a great battle between two generals and their soldiers, their palaces divided by a river. The fate of the battle rests in your hands, if only you have the skill to win the day.
In your arsenal, you have 6 types of warriors: infantry soldiers or pawns, two massively powerful cannons, elephants, lightning fast chariots, horses, and two advisors closely guarding your general.
Each army is dressed in red or black. Legend has it that the xiangqi pieces get their colors from the story of a real battle between the Qin and Han dynasties. Back in the 3rd century BC (around the time of Rome’s great battles with Carthage, and Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants), there was a rebel leader named Liu Bang who faced off with his red army against the black army of Emperor Qin, and emerged victorious.
Like chess, xiangqi ends when a general/king is in checkmate. Unlike in chess, the general/king in xiangqi is confined to his palace (marked by diagonal lines), commanding his army from a distance. Click here to learn more about the pieces and how to play xiangqi.
Ready to try your hand at this ancient game of skill and strategy? Think you can be a master of xiangqi? Challenge a friend to a game or test your mettle against one of our bots. Let’s see who will really emerge victorious…