Nobody The Turnaround: Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) Guide

Interested in getting 135¥ a day for only 45 min but don’t know how to play Xiangqi? This is the guide for you.
I will show you how to move the pieces (TODO) and the solutions for the puzzles (WIP).

 

Basic Rules

TODO
If you already know the rules, you can skip ahead to the puzzle solutions.

Xiangqi or Chinese Chess has deceptively many similarities with chess. However, the subtle differences make the transition confusing. It is mathematically more complex than standard chess and has more unit types, which have more limitations. This forces the player to calculate much deeper, as you will see with some of the puzzles.

What is confusing is that the same unit types have different names depending on which side/colour they are. Also, the units are placed not on the squares, but on the intersection lines. That’s why I will use the clumsy “length” instead of “square”.

  1. King
    King or general. Can only move one length along the horizontal and vertical grid and only in the 3×3 square in the middle.
    If the enemy king captured, you win the game.
    (In this game you can and must capture the king, but normally, like in chess, the game ends with a checkmate.)
    There is a special rule not found in chess. Even though the king is confined in the palace and can only move one length, it has a long-range effect: the kings cannot be allowed to see each other. The must always be a unit between their line of vision. This rule allows the king to play a crucial rule in attacks.
  2. Advisor
    The advisors also stay in the 3×3 “palace”.
    They can move one length along the diagonal lines.
    If we want to borrow the scoring system from chess, the advisor is worth 2 pawns.
  3. Bishop/Elephant
    The bishops also only move diagonally with many limitations however.
    They cannot cross the horizontal squares in the middle (the river), they can only move exactly 2 diagonal lengths, and if any unit blocks their path, they not only can’t capture it, the bishops can’t move in that direction / jump over it. Also only worth 2 pawns.
  4. Knight/Horse
    They move like in chess in an L-shape (not J-shape!), but with a huge limitation.
    Like with the bishops they can’t jump over other pieces if their movement path, the first point along the grid, is blocked. 4 pawns.
  5. Cannon
    A very special unit: It can move along the horizontal and vertical lines like a rook, but can only capture an enemy unit, if there is exactly one unit between them. It then jumps over the unit in the middle and captures the enemy. It is the only unit that can jump over another one. When it jumps, it has to capture an enemy! It cannot capture a friendly unit or jump to an empty intersection. 4.5 pawns
  6. Rook/Chariot
    Moves exactly the same as in chess, along the horizontal and vertical lines.
    Because of the long-range effectiveness, it is the most valuable unit and is worth 9 pawns.
  7. Pawn/Soldier
    There is no fantasy in Chinese chess – a pawn stays a pawn and cannot promote. The pawn can only move forward one length and captures like it moves – unlike in chess no diagonal captures. It also cannot retreat.
    However, when it crosses the river, it get’s upgraded and can also move sideways. A pawn on your side of the river is worth 1 pawn, but after the river crossing 2!

Additional rules

  • The stalemated party loses. No draw!
  • Normally, there is no three-times repetition allowed, but in this game version, it means you lose (because the computer can play forever).

Tactics Solutions

Apologies for the bad gif quality, 2MB file limit…
I still recommend you to learn the basics of the game because the AI does have alternative moves. The solutions should still give you the winning ideas in this case, but you have to convert it yourself.

There are many more interesting positions, but the game is currently bugged. I have not included the puzzles where the AI skips moves and you have a free win.

  1. Craziest horses ever
  2. Mate in one
  3. Another easy one
  4. I think the position is actually drawn, but the AI ♥♥♥♥♥ up here
  5. Rook swings around
  6. Rook sac into horse-cannon mate
  7. Quiet moves
  8. If the king doesn’t take the pawn you can mate with the horse
  9. If Black takes the pawn, move your rook to your back rank to obstruct their cannon so you can mate with your cannons
  10. Another weird AI behaviour. If it takes the pawn, check with your rook, it gets taken by the cannon, check with your cannon, its cannon moves away, move your pawn to the left to check, its cannon interposes, then move up your pawn to mate.
  11. The Great Horse Race
  12. More diligent horses
  13. Another pony show
  14. Ring Around the Rosie
  15. Black could have resisted much better, but too long a variation to elaborate
  16. Quiet rook moves (AI does not choose the best defense)
  17. Unsolvable puzzle. You have to blunder and then the AI blunders back, but harder
  18. AI ignores a better defense
  19. If the black king moves up, it would have been more difficult…
  20. It could have made it tougher

Thanks to high pH bitch for his great guide, all credit to his effort. you can also read the original guide from Steam Community. enjoy the game.

Post Author: Robins Chew

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