Xiangqi was part of the recent ASIAN (official name) games held in China in 2010. This was the first time Xiangqi was officially recognized as a sport and a singles competition was arranged for both male and female competitors.
Twenty six competitors from 10 different countries and regions participated in this event. In the male division, the eighteen players had seven rounds of Swiss competition, whilst the 8 female players played a round robin. As expected, China won both gold medals in both the male and female divisions.
China was represented by Hong Zhi, Lv Qin and Tang Dan. The head coach was Hu Ronghua, and assistant coach was Zhao Guorong.
The men’s results are as follows,
Gold medalist: Hong Zhi from China: 5W-1D-1L opponent points 59
Silver medalist: Nguyen Thanh Bao ( Pinyin: Ruan Tianbao)from Vietnam: 5W-1D-1L, opponent points 54
Bronze medalist: Lv Qin from China
4th place Wu Guilin from Taipei, Taiwan ROC
5th place Lai Lixiong from Vietnam
6th place Zhao Ruquan from Hong Kong SAR, PRC
7th place Ma Zhongwei from Taipei, Taiwan ROC
For the female’s competition,
Gold medalist: Tang Dan from China with 7 straight wins.
Silver medalist: Wang Linna from China
Bronze medalist: Gao Yiping from Taipei, Taiwan ROC
There was much drama in the males competition.
Thirty year old Hong Zhi is one of the hottest players now. Having won major tournaments the past few years, he came into the Asian Games with determination to win. In his first game against Taipei’s Ma Zhongwei, he played black and offered a sacrifice early in a game. He would later win with an overwhelming advantage. In the fourth round, the gold medalist and silver medalist met. A hard, long battle was fought till the end game. Under normal circumstances, the game would have been a draw. But silver medalist Nguyen had spent too much time earlier in the game, and made an error thus resulting in a Hong win. Had the game been a draw, the placing of the two players might have been switched. Hong also showed his superiority in the 6th round against Singapore’s Alvin Woo, by moving his horse nine times in the entire game, and trying to sacrifice it for 6 moves in mid-game. It was also the same horse who captured the opponent’s king. Hong’s lone loss was to compatriot Lv Qin.
Special mention must be credited to the silver medalist Nguyen. In a sport that has been totally dominated by China for the past century, Nguyen represents a new force: Vietnam. Indeed, Nguyen’s skill has been rated as equivalent to that of a Chinese Grandmaster and he has beaten these grandmasters on many occasions. He came in runner up in the 2009 World Xiangqi Federation Singles Competition, narrowing losing to Zhao Xinxin from China. Indeed, Nguyen is so good that another Chinese grandmaster Xu Tianhong has been openly polling for Nguyen to join his Jiangsu team. Before Nguyen, Taipei’s Wu Guilin was considered the best Xianqi player outside of China. In the Asian games, Nguyen beat Wu Guilin, a feat that not even Hong Zhi or Lv Qin could accomplish. They had both drawn against Wu. Another Vietnamese player Lai came in 5th place, just behind Wu Guilin. In the world of Xiangqi, Vietnam is emerging as a force to be reckoned with.
In the females section, China basically maintained its domination. Both the gold and silver medalists are top players from China. Even bronze medalist Gao Yiping was an ex-champion from China. Gao is currently married to Wu Guilin and thus represented Taipei ROC in the Asian games.
The games also highlighted a 12 year old competitor from Taiwan.
The 2010 Asian Games for Xiangqi ended on 19/11/2010.
Last updated 7th March 2011
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