Invincible Xiangqi Manual Introduction
The Invincible Xiangqi Manual is one of the earliest Xiangqi Manuals that is still extant in its entirety. It was written by a Taoist priest called Chun Yang (纯阳道人 chún yáng dào rén). The actual date of the publication is not known but is believed to have been written in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644AD).
The title was probably derived from a poem by Yao Kuan (姚宽 yáo kuān) from the Song Dynasty.
烂柯真诀妙通神 (làn kē zhēn jué miào tōng shén)，
一局曾经几度春 (yī jú céng jīng jǐ dù chūn)。
自出洞来无敌手 (zì chū dòng lái wú dí shǒu)，
得饶人处且饶人(dé ráo rén chù qiě ráo rén)。
A rough tranlastion by the Webmaster would be:
The secrets of Lan Ke are deep and profound,
A game can last for many seasons.
Coming out of the caves after training would render one invincible,
Even so, forgive others when it is possible.
Priest Chun Yang divided his book into seven sections with different themes.
There were five boards per section for a total of thirty-five boards. Priese Chun Yang used a Chinese character to represent each of different themes in his book. He even had names for the opening variations. Unfortunately, the names he gave are NOT in use anymore except perhaps for the Opposite Direction Cannons.
自 Zi Volume 信手炮 (xìn shǒu pào) = Same Direction Cannons: Ranked Chariot vs. Filed Chariot.
出 Chu Volume 列手炮 (liè shǒu pào) = Opposite Direction Cannons: Major Variation.
洞 Dong Volume 入手炮 (rù shǒu pào) = Central Cannon with Ranked Chariot vs. Single Horse Defense.
来 Lai Volume 窝心炮 (wō xīn pào) = Same Direction Cannons: Ranked Chariot vs. Filed Chariot.
无 Wu Volume 袖手炮 (xiù shǒu pào) = Screen Horse Opening vs. Central Cannon.
敌 Di Volume 出手炮 (chū shǒu pào) = Same Direction Cannons: Filed Chariot vs. Ranked Chariot.
手 Shou Volume 应手炮 (yìng shǒu pào) = Same Direction Cannons: Ranked Chariot vs. Filed Chariots.
The level of play is rather rudimentary by modern day standards but it reflected the temperament of play in his time. The style was romantic and there wer short and brilliant kills. In the Webmaster's humble opinion, the Invincible manual is perfect for newcomers to Xiangqi.
There was also some advice given in the book by Priest Chun Yang.
Wong Ping Loong has published the ancient manual which he named The Xiangqi Master of the Caves. The Webmaster has had the honour of helping him out in that endeavour. Wong's book can be found on Amazon.
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It would seem that there was an English version called Victories all the Way by a Xiangqi expert living in England but the Webmaster cannot be sure because he does not have that book or seen the entire contents.