Played widely in China, Indo-China, the Malayan archipelago, and world-wide where ever Chinese people have settled, Shang Chi is the Chinese version of the game of chess. Information about this game was first brought to Europe in the 17th century.
The game is played on the 9 by 10 points of a 8 by 9 rectangular paper board. Dividing the board in the middle is a section known as "the river" (labeled with various names).
In the top and bottom central end portion of the board, the points are connected by two crossing diagonal lines representing a castle, or a fort, or a royal palace.
Unlike European chess sets, the Shang Chi pieces are round, and marked with Chinese characters identifying their role in the game. The pieces in this set are made of wood and measure 2.6cm in diameter by 1.3cm thick. Usually, the colors are red - representing the forces south of the river - and blue - representing the forces north of the river. While both sides have identical pieces with the same powers and roles, their names varies depending upon the color of the pieces.
An excellent graphic Website which explains what each piece is and how the game is played is: http://www.chessvariants.com/xiangqi.html. To return to this Virtual Museum chess set Website, please use your "back button".
Last update February 15, 2010