Chinese Chess Rules

Interested in learning how to play Chinese chess? Want to know the rules? Read on for facts & information explaining how to play this great board game from China.

The game of chess is considered to be an activity for intellectuals. The same goes for the oriental cousin of International Chess known as Chinese chess. When it comes to the rules of the game they can be categorized into basic rules and advanced rules

Basic rules of Chinese chess

The first and foremost thing to understand is the movements of the pieces. The general, which is the royal piece and head of the army, has a one space at a time movement which can be horizontal or vertical. The general is also confined to the palace which is marked with an X. The advisors are allowed to move one space diagonally at a time and like the general it is also confined to the vicinity of the palace.

The pair of elephants can cover two spaces in one go in a diagonal direction. They are however not allowed to cross the river and must remain on their side of the battle field.

The chariot is given the freedom to move any number of spaces as desired by the player either vertically or horizontally. This is conditional to whether the starting and ending positions are not occupied.

The horses can be moved two spaces horizontally and one vertically or vice versa. It can not however move over an occupied space. The cannons can make a one space advance either horizontally or vertically. In order to capture their opponent however there must be one space occupied between the opponent’s piece and the elephant which the elephant will leap over to capture the opponent. The pawn can move one space forward at a time before crossing the river. Once it has crossed the river it has the freedom to move sideways as well.

A capture occurs when one player’s piece moves into a position that was being held by an opponent’s piece. The piece that is captured is then taken off the board.

Another basic rule is that the two opposing generals can never be in the same line without having any piece in between them. Any move that brings the two generals in line is considered illegal. Similarly a move that puts the king in danger of a check is also illegal.

There are two ways to end the game. You can either checkmate your opponent’s general by giving him no way out or secure a stalemate that leaves your opponent with no legal move to make.

Advanced rules of Chinese chess

Advanced rules cater to make the game fair. This includes the prohibition to score consecutive checks on your opponent. A check is a move where the general of the opponent’s team is threatened. Then you have a sacrifice move that places a piece of your army in such a position that you can either strike the opponent’s piece in the next move or he can strike yours.

A chase occurs when you move your piece into such a position that enables you to capture an opponent piece in the next move. When the king or pawn threatens to capture a piece it is not considered to be a chase. A piece is said to be protected if it is secured by another piece from being captured. Basically the two prohibited actions are perpetual checks and chases.

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