One Hundred Variations in Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Introduction
The early ancient manuals were contained mostly Xiangqi puzzles (as the term endgame compositions had not been invented yet).
One of the earliest and still fully extant Xiangqi literature was One Hundred Variations in Xiangqi which would be abbreviated as ‘Hundred’ in this book. The author of the book was believed to have been Zu Long Shi (祖龙 氏 zǔ lóng shì）but not much else is known about the author except that he was very enthusiastic about Xiangqi.
It is not known when Hundred Variations was first printed, but reprints of the manual were already mentioned in a book catalog that dated back to 1522AD (Ming Dynasty, Jiaqing period), meaning that Hundred Variations had already existed much earlier. There were many more reprints of the ancient manual in both the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
There were earlier Xiangqi manuals than Hundred Variations. However, either the material written about Xiangqi was a minor part of the book, as in the Chen Yuanliang’s Shi Lin Guang Ji (previously translated as Encyclopedia of Everything in the translator’s other books), or there were incomplete works of the original books that were passed down, like Dreams of Divine Positions. One Hundred Variations is considered to be the earliest book on Xiangqi that has been preserved entirely and still extant.
According to the information given in the Encyclopedia of Xiangqi Manuals, there were several versions of the ancient manual that were present throughout the centuries, but the contents was the same. The only differences in these versions were the calligraphy used and the change of the wording used for the Forward. The Ming version of the manual was 21*13 cm in size.
There are seventy Xiangqi endgame compositions still extant. They will be presented in interactive format with some simple explanations over the next few pages.
In this online version of the ancient manual, the Encyclopedia of Xiangqi Manuals will be used as the main reference, even though there appears to be have been some mistakes in the contents. Abridged versions of the endgame compositions will NOT be given.
During his study of the ancient manual, the Webmaster has found some new variations and rectified some of the mistakes in the ancient manual.
The Webmaster has published the book with detailed explanations.
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Reference: 程明松, 杨明忠, & 屠景明. (2007 重印). 中国象棋谱大全. 成都: 成都时代出版社.