Introduction to
Ancient Xiangqi Manuals

There are many ancient Xiangqi manuals. These are an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Chinese. They reflect the wisdom of our ancestors. 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 such Xiangqi manuals and indeed, there are only passages or remnants of some of the books. But unfortunately, maybe some of these priceless heritage 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 (Hanyu Pinyin, Wen1 Gu4 Zhi1 Xin1) which roughly translates as: you revise the ancients to know the new. Even today, in competitions, these openings or kiling 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.

Again, I must emphasize that I am not a historian. I will try to introduce to you the Xiangqi manuals in general and maybe delve deeper into some of them. It is impossible for one person to do so much within such a short period of time.  Anyway, I have painstakingly prepared each board, tried to correct mistakes found, and tried my best to reference them to contemporaray study. 
Mistakes will be made, so please tell me at . I will have it corrected ASAP.

Whilst there are many many more ancient Xiangqi manuals, some of the more famous Xiangqi manuals include the following. I will slowly add on to the list. Please click on the hyperlink to see the manual you would want to view and it will be shown in this same window.

自出洞来无敌手 --> The Invincible Xiangqi Manual ( which loosely translated would mean Invincible after training in the Caverns).
金鹏十八变 --> The 18 Stances of the Golden Roc (roc = mystical bird of prey from yahoo.dictionary)
适情雅趣 ---> Elegant Pastime Xiangqi Manual
橘中秘 --> The Secret Inside the Tangerine
梅花谱, 反梅花谱 and other Plum Flower Manuals --> The Plum Flower Manual , The Anti-plum Flower Manual  
梅花泉 --> Plum Flower Springs Manual
夢入神機 --> Dreams of Divine Positions
心武残篇 --> Remains of The Warrior Spirit Xiangqi Manual

百局象戏谱 --> Manual of One Hundred XiangQi Puzzles
竹香斋象戏谱--> Fragrance of the Bamboo Xiangqi Manual
蕉竹斋 --> Banana Bamboo Manual, abbreviated BB Manual(?) lol, otherwise still cracking my head...
韜略元機 --> Strategical considerations in Xiangqi
渊深海阔 --> Fathomless Ocean Xiangqi Manual
极巧穷极 --> Extremely Brilliant and Superb Xiangqi Manual .
錦囊妙手 --> Gems in the Satchet

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

As can be seen, the translations are well, a bit embarassing even for me. Anyway, if anyone can come up with a better translation or naming of the ancient manuals, please tell me!

First created : 31st Mar 2011
Last updated: 2nd Jan 2014
Acknowledgments: None yet

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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