The goal of the game is to checkmate the other general. Checkmate happens when the general is in a position to be captured (in check) and cannot escape from capture Unlike Chess, in which a stalemate is a draw, in Xiangqi, a player with no legal moves left loses.


Xiangqi is played on a board 9x10. The pieces are played on the intersections (as in Go or Gomoku). River separates the two opposing sides. The 3x3 zone is marked by two diagonal lines connecting opposite corners and intersecting at the center point. This area is known as the palace or fortress.


General The general may move and capture one point either vertically or horizontally, but not diagonally. A general cannot move into a file which is occupied by the enemy general unless there is at least one piece positioned between the generals in the file. The general may not leave the palace.
Advisor Advisors move and capture one point diagonally and may not leave the palace.
Elephant Elephants move and capture exactly two points diagonally and may not jump over intervening pieces. They may not cross the river.
Horse A horse moves and captures one point vertically or horizontally and then one point diagonally away from its former position. The horse does not jump as the knight does in Western chess.
Chariot The chariots move like the rook in Western chess.
Cannon Cannons move like the chariots, horizontally and vertically, but capture by jumping exactly one piece (whether it is friendly or enemy) over to its target
Soldier They move and capture by advancing one point Once they have crossed the river, they may also move (and capture) one point horizontally. Soldiers cannot move backward



Xiangqi has a long history. Xiangqi evolved from an ancient Chinese game called Liubo that was invented some 3,500 years ago Xiangqi predated both Shogi and International Chess. During the Han Dynasty, a new game called GeWu or Saizhang emerged from Liubo making it one step closer to the rules of modern Xiangqi. By Tang Dynasty, Xiangqi had evolved into a game with many game pieces.