The Xiangqi Endgame

 

---“it starts and ends with the endgame…”

 

UTE 3a Cover for KindleIn Xiangqi, the end game can be defined as the last phase of the game. Thisphase is usually the stage where the final result is determined, be it a win or a loss or a draw for the player.

Most games last till the endgame phase unless fatal mistakes have been made too early. The endgame has the following characteristics:

  • Fewer pieces ( after exchanges in the opening or mid-game),
  • Less complex than the mid-game or opening phase,
  • Easier to analyze, and
  • the presence of specific situations where the result can be predicted.

The endgame phase can be further categorized into the early endgame phase, the middle endgame phase, and practical endgames.
Endgames can also be categorized as endgames encountered in actual play and man-made creations which would be the International Chess equivalent of a problem or study.  As mentioned earlier, the ancient manuals are full of man-made endgame situations or puzzles.

Practical Endgames

UTE 3b Cover for KindleIn the last century, advances in endgame theory have allowed Xiangqi experts to identify various situations whereby the result can be predicted with certainty if perfect play was done. These endgame situations are called practical endgames. Practical Endgames can be further divided into:

  • Book Wins 例胜lì shèng
  • Draws 例和 lì hé
  • Positional Wins 巧胜 qiǎo shèng
  • Positional Draws 巧和 qiǎo hé

Note: In the early years of translating, the Webmaster used the term 'sure win' but has since opted to use the term 'book win' to refer to situations whereby it a win would be guaranteed by the player with the advantage if perfect play were shown.

For the beginner, it is advised to learn the various practical endgames to improve your skill during OTB play. It is also advised to try the puzzles given in the ancient manuals like the Elegant Pastime Manual, the Secret in the Tangerine and Dreams of Divine Positions

Please also visit the Endgames Section on this site for more information.

 

References :

In Chinese, <<象棋入门>> by 李浭 and 馬正福
In Chinese, <<少兒象棋啟蒙篇>> by 傅寶勝
In English, Chinese Chess, An Introduction to China’s Ancient game of Strategy by HT Lau
In Chinese, <<象棋四日通>> by Master 黃少龍
In English, http://www.chessvariants.com/xiangqi.html In English, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiangqi