Xiangqi, known as Chinese chess in the Western Hemisphere, was introduced in the after-school games program in November by Glenda Ding, Mandarin teacher and Ted Shieh, a Board of Trustees member and parent. It blends the strategic aspects of traditional chess with the richness of Chinese culture. “Xiangqi is not only the most popular form of chess in the world,” said Shieh, “but a more interesting form of chess that helps develop planning and analytical skills as well as improving self-confidence.”
The first syllable, Xiang, or elephant, is a piece in the game. The second syllable, qi, is one of four traditional arts in China: qin (music), hua (brush painting), shu (calligraphy), and qi (strategy games). Traditionally, all Chinese gentlemen scholars were expected to be proficient in the four arts.
The rules, pieces, and movements of Xiangqi are similar to international chess with the exception of an additional piece, the Pào, or cannon, which catapults in an attack. The pieces are identified not by their shape but by traditional Chinese characters engraved upon them. The placement of the pieces is on the intersection of board lines, rather than in the squares. Reflecting historic Chinese battles and military rules, the board has a river and palaces, which restrict movement of certain pieces but enhance those of others. For more information on the afterschool program, contact Ashley Ingold.