Endgames:The beginning of the end...

Why learn the endgame? The Endgame phase of the game is one of the most important phases in the game of Xiangqi where the final outcome is usually decided. Perhaps the best piece of advice is from the ancient manual, The Secret in the Tangerine ...

Advice on the Endgame collected from the Secret in the Tangerine:
"The endgame is the last stage in a game of Xiangqi. In the beginning, there is much material on the board, and the possibilities are many and confusing. In the endgame, the material is much less, and it would be easier to learn various principles and draw conclusions that would help one in one's game. Moreover, if one were able to master certain principles in the endgame, the same principle can be extended and be applied in the opening and midgame, resulting in a bigger gain. If the endgame you study is a draw, the emphasis would be on defense. Arrogant people who attack endlessly will not be able to find the path to victory. In fact, the tables would often be turned on them, and they would often lose the game. Therefore, if there is a possibility to win, you must consider the potential strategies required. The faint and confused do not know how to win and would draw games that should have been won. Sacrificing material recklessly without consideration would also be detrimental. The above two mentioned scenarios are the result of an inadequate analysis. Therefore, to be able to learn Xiangqi continually, one must be systematic and precise and learn from the manuals while continuously improving. I (Zhu Jin Zhen) have sieved through the ancient manuals to present to you various endgames that have been categorized as endgames whereby Red can win, and endgames that end in a draw." …

Original text:
东海朱晋桢 进之 棋有残局,补全盘之未备也。全盘子多而难明,残局子少而易悟,尤可取法。况得其一诀,便可触类引伸,其于全盘所裨实倍至。如局本成和,贵乎能守。惟刚愎自用,锐其攻而布其胜,胜不可寻,而反致失中,败且随之。局固可胜,贵乎善谋。彼昏愦不知,馁于进而诿于和,和已自慊而安敢他谋,子并弃之,此皆不审局面之误也。故必确有持循,方可为法是集。余从旧谱殚精毕虑务别雌雄,诚使胜者必胜,和者必和,至无余蕴而后敢录焉,共得百四十局,伸其说者十之五,订其谬者十之三,间亦有窃附云。

On this website, the Webmaster has collected several important books on the topic.
The beginner is advised to go through GM Liu Dianzhong's work on Xiangqi Endgame. During analysis, the reader can go through Practical Endgames by the late Tu Jingming for various concepts and understand the tabiat.
The Chariot-Horse Treatise, Cannon-Pawn Treatise, and Horse-Pawn Treatise remain the foundations of modern-day endgame theory that must be read by the serious Xiangqi player. 

Over the years, the Webmaster has published two volumes on practical endgames tabiat which are available on Amazon.



Over the years of classification, the Webmaster devised a classification system to help categorize the various endgame situations.
To facilitate coding and classification of the various endgames, I will use the following format:

Red's available pieces (no. of pieces + piece-name) -- end result -- Black's available pieces (no. of pieces + piece-name) -- the number of web pages available for this endgame (if more than one page is needed).

For example, 1h bw 1a would mean that one horse is a sure win against one advisor.
To make sure that the names are in the same order, the pieces will be placed in the following format:

  • R > H > C > P(bp or hp) > A > E
  • 车 > 马 > 炮 > 兵/卒 > 士 > 象

Therefore, if there are 2 cannons and 1 chariots, it will be "1r2c", not 2c1r.

The following abbreviations will be used:

  • bw= book win ,
  • pw= positional win,
  • d = draw,
  • bw = book draw,
  • pd= positional draw,
  • vs = when the outcome is dependent on who moves first.

The classification of the pawns present an issue which the Webmaster has chosen to categorize as:

  • bp = bottom pawn (pawn on bottom ranked)
  • lp =  low pawn (on throat rank or cannon rank),
  • tp = pawn on throat rank,
  • hp = high pawn (pawn on enemy pawn rank or a pawn that had just crossed the river).