Asian Xiangqi Federation Rules

The Asian Xiangqi Federation, AXF, was founded on 23/11/1978 in  Kuching, Sarawak.
It is responsible for promoting Xiangqi in Asia and to make it international. Amongst the many contributions to Xiangqi, the rules formulated by the AXF remain the standard rules for competition in Asia, mostly outside of China. The rules are somewhat different from the rules by the CXA or Chinese Xiangqi Association, which are slightly more complex. The beginner is encouraged to follow the AXF rules.
The first draft of the rules was approved in 1982, and the latest version is the one published in 2003.  is the url of this great organization. is the url of the rules in Chinese. is the url of the rules in English.

1. Common terms (slightly condensed from the original version)

Check照着  A move that attacks the king immediately. 
 Kill杀着  A move before a check or a series of checks that leads to a checkmate.
 Chase捉着  A move that threatens to capture a piece (usually a major piece) other than the king in the next move.
Exchange兑着  A move that trades pieces with an opponent's piece.
 Block拦着  A move that prevents an opponent's piece to move in a certain direction.
 Offer献着  A move that invites the opponent to capture a piece.
 Idle闲着  A move that is NOT a check, kill, chase, exchange, block or offer.
Perpetual check长照  A string of consecutive checks, causing a similar situation to recur endlessly. Same goes for perpetual block, perpetual exchange and perpetual offer.
Perpetual kill
 A succession of  kills
Perpetual chase
 Player A makes a succession of chasing moves, and Player B counters by moving that piece out of harm's way. Player B may resove the chase with another piece. If A does not give up and continues, it would be considered a perpetual chase.
 A move that directly foils the opponents threat to checkmate. Resolve-check, resolve-chase have similar meanings.
Counter check
 A move that resolves a check and checks the opponent's king at the same time.
A piece is said to be "protected" ( literally "rooted") if when an opponent's piece captures it, it can be recaptured immediately. Simply said, there is a big brother looking over his shoulder. The protector of a piece is called the root (root =big brother).
Real Root 
 When a protected piece is capture, and the protector can in turn capture the captor, the protector is a real root. (For example, you buy insurance and an accident happens. You are able to claim it. No offence to insurance companies or agents...)
Fake Root
When a supposedly protected piece is capture, the protector is immobilized and cannot recapture the captor immediately. (Your insurance gives you hell and refuses to pay..., no offence again...)
 Alternate check and kill 一照一杀  A check followed IMMEDIATELY by a kill move. Similar defns apply to " alternate check and chase", "alternate check and idle", "alternate kill and chase", "multi-check with one kill", "multi-check with one idle" etc
Two-to-one check
Player A is making a perpetual check on Player B.  Player B resolves the check with a counter check on every other move. See diagrams below to understand better.
Two-to-one chase
Player A is making a perpetual chase on Player B's pieces.  Player B resolves the chase, and chases back one of player A's pieces on every other move. See diagrams below to understand better.
Two-to-two chase
Player A makes two consecutive chases on player B. Player B resolves the chases and in turn, uses 2 consecutive chases back on player A.

2. Basic Principles of Judgement 

A) When both players do not violate the rules, and neither of them wishes to vary the moves, the game shall be declared a draw.
B) When both playes violate the rules simultaneously, the game shall be declared a draw.
C) Where one side checks perpetually, and the other side chases perpetually, the side making perpetual checks must vary the moves. Otherwise, it loses.
D) Where one side violates the rules, and the other side does not, the side violating the rules must vary the moves or lose.

3. General Rules
1) Under ALL circumstances, perpetual checking will be ruled as a loss.
2) In any of the following cases, the game will be declared a draw if neither side wants to vary the moves: alternate check and kill, alternate check and chase, alternate check and idle, alternate kil and chase, alternate check and capture-after-check, and alternate chase and capture-after-check
3) Perpetual chase of one piece on another piece ( a pawn that has NOT crossed the river is exempted) will be ruled as a loss. It is also illegal for two or more pieces to make perpetual chase on one piece, except when one of the chasing pieces is a pawn or a king.
4) One piece chasing >=2 pieces repeatedly will be ruled as a draw. The same applies to two pieces chasing two or more pieces.
5) In the case of two-to-one chase, the player making the 2 consecutive chases is considered making a perpetual chase and has to vary the moves. Otherwise, he loses.
6) Perpetual chase on a piece with a real root will be declared a draw. Even if the protector is a fake root, it is still a draw. There is an exception though, a perpetual chase on the chariot by a horse or cannon is prohibited.
7) Perpetual chase on a piece of the same type will be ruled as a draw. It will not be allowed if the piece under attack is pinned down to a file or a rank. A “free” horse ( that is a horse that is not blocked) may NOT perpetually chase an “impaired” ( a horse that is blocked). Animal rights…
8) When one of the 2 consecutive chases can be also viewed as an invitation to exchange pieces, it is still defined as a “perpetual chase”. Even if each move that a player makes is an invitation to exchange pieces, it is still a perpetual chase.
9) A king or a pawn chasing any piece perpetually will be ruled as a draw. A king or a pawn, in combination with another piece, chasing perpetually on a piece will also be ruled as a draw. The reason for this (though not stated in the rulebook) is that the king and pawns are considered to the be the least powerful pieces on the board.
10) In all the following cases, the game will be declared a draw: perpetual block, perpetual offer, perpetual exchange, perpetual threat to capture-after-check.


4. Details and Illustrations.

1) The side that captures the opponent’s king first wins the game.
2) A game can be also won by rendering all the opponents pieces immobile. (Note: There is NO stalemate in Xiangqi.)
3) When a player repeats any illegal moves for 3x, despite being told by the referee to change his moves, will be declared a loss.
4) It is a draw if:
    a) neither side can force a win
    b) one side offers a draw and the other side agrees ( happens quite often in competition for various tactical reasons or when the final outcome is already known)
    c) the referee declares it so

5) If a game comes to a standstill with a repeating sequence of moves, and neither player has violated any rule and does not wish to vary his moves, it will be declared a draw.

5. Legend of the examples. Click to view .

Dia 1-3 NO perpetual Check + Dia 4  Both sides perpetual checking + Dia 5  2-to-1 check. Click here 
Dia 6-9   Perpetual kill is permissible +  Dia 10  Perpetual kill and counter kill.
Click here    
Dia 11-12  Alternate check and kill +   Dia 13 Check and chase + Dia 14 Alternate check and idle.
Click here  
Dia 15-16  Threat to win material +  Dia 17 Chase & threat to capture after check.
Click here  
Dia 18-25  A cannon or 2 cannons may not perpetually chase a chariot. 
Click here      
Dia 26-28  One cannon chasing two chariots on alternate moves.
Click here  
Dia 29-31  Chariot chases protective cannons consecutively.
Click here     
Dia 32-38  Chariot cannot chase unprotected cannon.  
Click here  
Dia 39-41  Chariot immobilized by horse. + Dia 42-44  Cannon and horse no chase chariot.
Click here   
Dia 45-47  Horse perpetually chases chariot + 
Dia 48-50  Chariot vs horse chase. Click here    
Chasing a piece of the same type:
 i) Chariot vs chariot
   When both chariots are free to capture each other, it will be treated as perpetual offer, and ruled a draw if both sides do not change the moves. If one of them is pinned and cannot capture the other, the opponent’s chariot may NOT chase is perpetually. 
 ii) Cannon vs Cannon:
    When both cannons are free to capture each other, it will be treated as perpetual offer and ruled a draw if both sides do not change the moves. If one of them is pinned an cannot capture the other, the opponent cannon may NOT chase it perpetually.
 iii) Horse vs Horse
    Where both horses are free to capture each other, it will be treated as a perpetual offer and ruled a draw if both sides do not change the moves. If one of them is blocked and cannot capture the other, the opponent horse may not chase it perpetually.
Dia 51-55 Same type chase same type. Click here    

The cannon may not , by making use of another piece as a gun-mount (WXF is cannon mount) , perpetually chase an unprotected piece be it a horse, advisor, elephant or a pawn that has crossed the river. This applies even if the cannon remains stationary, only those pieces that function as the gun-mount are moved by either player. Such chase is regarded as perpetual chase and thus a violation of rules. The cannon side must change his moves or he loses. The EXCEPTION is when such chase is performed on a pawn that has yet to cross the river.
Dia 56-60 Chase by cannon and gun-mount use.   Click here   
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Last updated: 11th April 2011 2.30am
Acknowledgements: none yet, but i am sure there will be


1. <<象棋词典>> 屠景明 杨伯伟 2009 Ed  
2. The AXF. Links found above. The links are also free for download at my site under the downloads section.
3. <<象棋入门>> 刘国斌 徐家亮 韩宽 . Approved by the Chinese Xiangqi Association.

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