Commonly used tactics:
Now we get to the fun stuff. Below is an incomplete list of the names of the tactics used in Xiangqi. There are many many more. I will try to arrange them in a palatable format and add on as time goes by.
Many of the tactics/concepts will overlap. For example, you sacrifice a piece to prevent being killed when on the losing end. When the game is even, you might try a sacrifice to gain position or even kill. When you are on the winning side, you could choose to sacrifice a piece to clog your opponent's palace for the final kill. All involve a sacrifice, but it means different things in different scenarios.

When the game is even:
A) Gaining material 得子 :
When you gain material, without sustaining a loss in position or tempo, it brings you closer to winning the game. Indeed, when there is no immediate kill, gaining material may be the primary goal of your game.  
Below are listed some of the commonly used tactics to gaining material. Please remember, if gaining material implies a loss in the control of the game or a loss of position, it should NOT be done.

         1. Gaining Material by means of a Discovered Check 抽将得子  01  
         2. Gaining Material with a Fork 捉双得子
         3. Gaining Material with a Pin 牵制得子
         4. Gaining Material by Trapping your opponent's pieces 困子得子 

B) Gaining Strategic Positions by maneuvering your chesspieces 运子 :  
When material gain is not possible or when both sides have equal chances, you try to maneuver the pieces to strategic positions, or gain tempo/control of the game. There are may ways to do this. There are many many tactics that can be used.
Simply put this is the tactic whereby you move a chess piece to a better position for attack or defence. Usually, it refers to moving a major chess piece like the chariot, horse, cannon or sometimes the pawn. 
         1. Overview of the Maneuver 运子  
         2. Maneuvering the pieces by means of a Discovered Check 閃擊 
         3. Maneuvering pieces with help from other pieces to gain control of the game  借力 01   
              a) Moving other pieces with help from the chariot 借车运子 01    
              b) Moving other pieces with help from the cannon 借炮运子 01 

C) Shifting 腾挪. Sometimes your own pieces get in the way. With this tactic, you shift the roadblock away. This is one of the more advanced tactic to explain.

D) Zugzwang 顿挫 . This is another nearly impossible tactic to translate and explain. I think that Zugzwang is the closest term I can find

E) Going around the opponent 迂回  : 01  

F) Sacrifice 弃子 : You make a sacrifice to gain tempo or control of the game. Much more commonly used tactic in Xiangqi as compared to International Chess. 01 
        1. Sacrifice before gaining back先弃后取: 01 

G) Surprise 冷着:  You make a move that is completely unanticipated by your opponent, be it a sudden sacrifice, threaten to kill...such that it catches your opponent off guard and allow you a gain in material/positional/tempo or even a kill. 01     

When you are on the losing end... 
When you are on the losing end, the following tactics might help you out.

1. Contain an important opponent's piece such that it has less function 牵制 
2. Forming a blockade to seal off an important piece 封锁. If it stays put, it cannot cause trouble.  
3. Blocking or obstructing your opponent's chesspiece(s)  拦截/阻拦 
4. Expel a threatening piece away by force 引离. 01  
5. Giving the threat a false incentive for it to move to a spot where you want it to be.吸引 01     
6. Tempt your opponent with material gain or other false incentives. 诱着 01 
7. Sacrifice a chesspiece in the hope of winning or turning the tables around. 弃子. 
      a. Sacrifice for attack 弃子抢攻 01    
      b. Sacrifice to resolve threat 弃子解危 01 
8. Go on the aggressive and try to go for a kill 解杀还杀. Make or die! 01

When you are on the winning side...  

1. Clogging your opponent's palace or side of the board. If there are no escape routes, the king will be caught
堵塞.  01  
2. Idling 停着: You do nothing and wait for your opponent to commit suicide.  01  
3. Kill
杀: Well, self explanatory! 01


Double threat tactic 双重威胁  
You use any two of the tactics in combination to achieve an effect of 1+1>2!  01        

Last updated: 5th September 2011

1)Mr Peter Sung for his invaluable help. is the url where the free ebooks can be downloaded at the WXF website.
2) Mr Harvey Blume for providing more material.
3) Mr Chris Hankinson for suggesting and explaining certain terms whilst discussing


1. Basic Xiangqi Tactics, Free Ebook found at the World Xiangqi Federation
2. <<象棋基本战术>> by 程明松. Approved by the Chinese Xiangqi Federation.
3. <<象棋入门>> by 刘国斌, 徐家亮, 韩宽 . Approved by the Chinese Xiangqi Federation.
4. <<象棋辞典>> by 屠景明, 杨柏玮
5. <<象棋入门>> by 马正福, 李浭
6. <<象棋入门>> by 朱宝位
7. <<象棋形势判断>> by 黄少龙   
8.<<象棋中局战法>> by 刘殿中 齐津安
9. <<象棋实战技法>> by 傅宝胜

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