Introduction to
Ancient Xiangqi Manuals 象棋古谱

There are many ancient Xiangqi manuals that are still extant. These are an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Chinese. They reflect the wisdom of the Chinese forefathers. Basically, most of the ancient Xiangqi manuals can be divided into 2 types : books on openings and books on various endgames or midgames which are the equivalent of today’s endgame compositions ( the term "endgame composition" was only coined a few decades ago). I believe there should be more of these Xiangqi manuals. Unfortunately, many of this priceless cultural gems were destroyed during the various wars or simply lost in the sands of time.

Why devote an entire section to ancient manuals? Wouldn't it be more practical to study contemporary Xiangqi? The following are the reasons why:

1) They are the basics and foundations of what Xiangqi is today. It does not matter how fancy or how brilliant a new opening or variation is, they can all be traced back to the ancient manuals. The same goes for midgames and endgames. Strategies and tactics abound in these ancient manuals.
2) They represent the cumulative wisdom of centuries of study of Xiangqi, some dating over 500 years ago.  
3) In ALL the books that I have in my collection, be it beginner's manuals, specific openings... they were highly recommended reading material.
4) There is a saying in Chinese called 温故知新 (wēngù zhīxīn) which roughly translates as you revise the ancients to know the new. Even today, in competitions, these openings or killing techniques are seen over and over again. The same time-proven strategies are seen over and over again. It would definitely put you to a huge disadvantage if you DID NOT KNOW the ancient manuals..., especially when every other Tom, Dick or Harry knows them.
5) Click here for the first page of chapter 10 in the endgame lectures by GM Liu Dianzhong. He puts this point across nicely with many examples.

In this section, I will introduce the ancient Xiangqi manuals.
Mistakes will be made, so please tell me at xqinenglish@gmail.com . I will have it corrected ASAP.

List of ancient Xiangqi manuals

《事林广记》(shì lín guǎng jì) --> Encyclopedia of Everything (earliest extant records of Xiangqi)
梦入神机 (mèng rù shén jī ) --> Dreams of Divine Positions (now available in print and ebook)

自出洞来无敌手(zì chū dòng lái wú dí shǒu) --> The Invincible Xiangqi Manual ( which loosely translated would mean Invincible after training in the Caverns).
金鹏十八变 (jīn péng shí bā biàn) --> The 18 Stances of the Golden Roc (roc = mystical bird of prey from yahoo.dictionary). The contents of this ancient manual are the same as the Elegant Pastime Manual and Secret in the Tangerine and have been assimilated into both books.
适情雅趣(shì qíng yǎ qù ) ---> Elegant Pastime  Manual (now available in print and ebook)
橘中秘 --> The Secret in the Tangerine    (now available in print and ebook)


As there have are many ancient manuals whose titles contained "Plum Flower" and were related, they have been grouped into one page for discussion.
List of Plum Flower Manuals :
梅花谱 (王再越)Plum Flower Manual by Wang (the original),
无双品 梅花谱 , 崇本堂  梅花谱
梅花泉 Plum Flower Springs Manual   , 郑氏 梅花谱, 吴著  梅花谱 , 善庆堂  梅花谱 , 反梅花谱  

百变象戏谱 (bǎi jú xiàng xì pǔ ) --> One Hundred Variations in Xiangqi
百局象戏谱 (bǎi jú xiàng xì pǔ ) --> One Hundred Xiangqi Puzzles
吴绍龙象棋谱  (wú shào lóng xiàng qí pǔ ) --> Wu Shaolong's Xiangqi Manual 01 02
 
石杨遗局 (shí yáng yí jú ) --> The Games of Shi and Yang
心武残篇 (xīn wǔ cán piān )--> Remains of The Warrior Spirit Xiangqi Manual

竹香斋象戏谱 (zhú xiāng zhāi xiàng xì pǔ )--> Recluse of the Fragrant Bamboo 
蕉竹斋 (jiāo zhú zhāi) --> Jiao Zhu Zhai
韬略元机 (tāo lüè yuán jī) --> Strategical Considerations 
渊深海阔 (yuān shēn hǎi kuò) --> Fathomless Ocean 
烂柯神机 (làn kē shén jī ) --> Lan Ke Shen Ji
蕉窗逸品 (jiāo chuāng yì pǐn ) --> Window by the Banana Fields
湖涯集 (hú yá jí ) --> Cliff by the Lake Collection

Alleged ancient manuals... (Inner Mongolian Publisher said so... nevertheless ok puzzles)
极巧穷极 (jí qiǎo qióng jí ) --> Extremely Brilliant and Superb Xiangqi Manual . (alleged ancient manual according to publisher...)
錦囊妙手 (jǐn náng miào shǒu) --> Gems in the Satchet (alleged ancient manual according to publisher...)


... many more still to come. This is but a tiny fraction of the good stuff.


First created : 31st Mar 2011
Last updated: 17th of May 2019
Acknowledgments: None yet

References:
1. <<中国象棋谱大全>> by 程明松, 杨明中, 屠景明 et al.
2. <<象棋杀局宝典—适情雅趣>> by 徐家亮
3. <<象棋辞典>> by 屠景明 杨柏伟
4. <<象棋杀局宝典—适情雅趣>> by 徐家亮
5. <<橘梅新编>> by 屠景明 and 居荣鑫
6. <<中国象棋江湖残局-极巧穷极>> by 了然

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