Introduction to Xiangqi

象棋 - Chinese Chess

Xiangqi, also called Chinese Chess or The Elephant Game is an ancient board game which is a distant relative to Western chess.

It is played worldwide but is most popular in China and Vietnam.


The objective is to capture the opponent's King. The King is in his palace, a 9 point box around him which he and his advisors cannot leave. The river runs through the center of the board and effects how some pieces move. Pieces are placed on line intersections rather than in the squares.

King (General)

Moves one point up or down and cannot leave the palace. The two kings are not allowed to look directly at each other down an open file.


Moves and captures one point diagonally and cannot leave the palace.


Moves and captures by moving exactly two points diagonally and cannot cross the river. It cannot jump over other pieces.


Moves similarly to the rook, however it must jump over another piece to make a capture.

Knight (Horse)

Similar to the knight in Chess, it moves one point orthogonally and then one diagonally, however it cannot jump over other pieces orthogonally.

Rook (Chariot)

Moves and captures identically to the rook in Chess. It can move any number of squares orthogonally without jumping over pieces.

Pawn (Soldier)

Moves and captures by advancing one point. After crossing the river they can also move and capture one point sideways. There are no promotions for reaching the back rank.

Play vs Computer

Play vs Friend