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Help For Xiangqi


Welcome to the network Xiangqi server. The rules of Xiangqi are below. The commands are the same for all pbmserv games.

Xiangqi (Chinese chess) is a chess-like game which is especially popular in the Far East: China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, etc. Xiangqi is NOT any of the following games: Shogi, Japanese chess, go, wei chi, weiqi, Chinese checkers, western chess, Korean chess, Thai chess, Makrook, Malaysian chess, Mah Jong, Sic bo, Pai gow. In Xiangqi the pieces moves on the intersection of the board, not in the spaces between them. The board with the start position is:

     A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I

10  gR--gH--gE--gG--gK--gG--gE--gH--gR 10   Green 
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   | 
 9   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+  9
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |   
 8   +--gC---+---+---+---+---+--gC---+  8
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   
 7  gS---+--gS---+--gS---+--gS---+--gS  7
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   
 6   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+  6
     |         R  I  V  E  R         |
 5   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+  5
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
 4  rS---+--rS---+--rS---+--rS---+--rS  4
     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 
 3   +--rC---+---+---+---+---+--rC---+  3
     |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |  
 2   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+  2
     |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
 1  rR--rH--rE--rG--rK--rG--rE--rH--rR  1   Red

     A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I

Notice the "River" between Row 5 and Row 6. The pieces are the following: 'R' are a Rook 'H' are a Horse 'E' are a Elephant 'G' are a Guard 'K' are a King 'C' are a Cannon 'S' are a Soldier

Rooks: The Rooks move and capture like Rooks in Chess.

Horses: The Horses move and capture as in chess, with one important difference: they can be blocked. Example: if a Horse sits on C3 and another piece (either your own or the opponent's) sits on C4, the Horse can't move to D5 or B5; but it could move to B1 or D1 or A2 or E2 or E4. If a Horse sits on F3 and another piece is on G3, then it can't move to H2 or H4.

Elephants: The Elephants can move only two diagonal spaces at a time. They cannot cross the River (see River below) to the other side of the board. It captures on the square to which he is moving. A Elephant on G1 can move to E3 or I3. If an opposing piece sits on E3, he can capture it. If his own piece sits on E3, he can' move there. If he sits on G1 and another piece sits on H2, he can't move to I3 because he is blocked.

Guards: The Guards can move only one space diagonally, and can't leave the Palace (see Palace below). They capture the same way they move.

Kings: The Kings moves as in chess, only he can't move diagonally, only one square vertically or horizontally. The King must remain in the palace.

Cannons: Cannons move like Rooks, as many squares vertically or horizontally as they want, as long as there is no other piece in the way. However, Cannons capture by jumping over a piece to capture another piece. Example: a Cannon sits on E2; a Horse sits on F2 (the piece can belong to either side); and an opposing Rook sits on H2. The Cannon could capture the Rook by jumping over the Horse. It can only capture by jumping, and can jump over only one piece. If there were two pieces between the Cannon and the Rook, then the Rook couldn't be captured by that Cannon. The Cannon cannot jump if it isn't going to capture something, it must simply move like a Rook.

Soldiers: Soldiers move one square forward. While the Soldier is on its own side of the board, it captures by moving 1 square forward and taking an opposing piece that may be sitting there (the Soldiers don't capture diagonally as in chess). Once a Soldier moves across the river onto the other side of the board, it acquires an additional power: it can then move 1 square sideways in addition to being able to move one square forward. On the other side of the board, the Soldier could then capture by moving sideways or forward. The Soldier can never move backward. The Soldier does not promote when it reaches the back rank of the opponent.

Palace: The King and Guards can't leave the Palace (except the Guards who leave when they are captured). The Palace is the 9 points: D1,E1,F1,D2,E2,E2,D3,E3,F3 for Red and D10,E10,F10,D9,E9,F9,D8,E8,F9 for Green

River: The River is nothing more than an empty space in the middle of the board dividing the two sides. A piece can't move into the river and it doesn't count as a space. The Elephants and Guards are purely defensive pieces because they can't cross the river and attack the opposing king. Once a piece crosses the river, it becomes more important for attack than defence.

Colours: In chess, the player who moves first has the "white" pieces. In Xiangqi, the player who moves first moves has the red pieces. The second player's pieces are green.


a) the object of the game is to checkmate or stalemate the opponent. This is accomplished by:

1. Placing the opponent in check so that he has no legal move to get out of the check.

2. Stalemating your opponent so that he has no legal move (when you stalemate your opponent, you win. It is not a draw as in chess).

b) Red moves first.

c) You can't check your opponent indefinitely by moving the same piece to the same squares (resulting in perpetual check and a draw in chess). You can't put the opponent in check more than three times in a row with the same piece without either side moving any other piece.

d) Similar to the rule above, you can't indefinitely "chase" an opposing piece from one square to another if your opponent has no other way to avoid losing the piece. If you move a Rook to E6 threatening a Cannon on E7, and your opponent's only move to avoid capture is to move the Cannon to F7, then you can't keep chasing it from E7 to F7 by moving from E6 to F6 indefinitely. The idea of this rule and the rule above is to avoid perpetual check draws. Some of these situations can be complicated but usually the person who is initiating the perpetual move loop must break it off.

e) The two Kings can't face each other on the same file. If Red's King is on E2 and Green's King is on E10 and there are no pieces directly between them on the E-file, then that is an illegal position. If Green's King is the only piece on the F-file, then Red's king on the E-file can't move to the F-file.

f) When neither side can capture the opposing King, the game is a Draw.

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