Traditional Board Games

Xiang Qi: an Interesting Variant of Chess

Xiang qi set (no backdrop)
Xiang qi set (no backdrop)

Wednesday, 29th June 2016

Xiang Qi is Chinese chess.  In appearance it is one of the most far removed Chess games from the one familiar to players in the west.  And yet it is the world's most popular board game by number of players.  In its game play it remains truer to the Indian original.  Its pieces, which include catapults and cannons, war elephants and war chariots, are more appropriate to its battle theme than the queens and bishops of western Chess.

I wanted to include a chess variant in A Book of Historic Board Games, and the most probable candidates were Xiang Qi, Shatranj and Shogi.  Xiang Qi won out because of its striking appearance and its interesting history.  Shogi, or Japanese chess, was a close second, but as I was already considering the inclusion of the Japanese Renju I opted for Xiang Qi to represent the chess family.

If you are interested in learning more about the book, or in buying a copy, then please take a look at its page on Lulu.


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