Xiangqi Tournaments:

 

Chinese National Xiangqi Singles Championship
全国象棋个人赛

 

The Chinese National Xiangqi Championship is an official event held by the Chinese National Athletics Commission, a government agency. It is an annual event where the best Chinese Xiangqi players gather and compete to determine the king/queen of the hill. In a sport where the Chinese dominate with both hands tied behind their backs, this is the competition to watch.

WXF refers to this competition as the Chinese National Xiangqi Championship. I insist on adding “Singles” to stress the fact that there is also another National Championship for teams representing various provinces in China. More will be said about that in another article.

The first ever championship was held in 1956 and there was only a male singles competition. A female section was only started in 1979. The tournament was interrupted in 1961 and 1963 because of natural disasters, and then interrupted again from 1967 to 1973 by the Cultural Revolution, where Xiangqi was considered to be one of the four “bad practices” and banned. Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 interrupted the event yet again. Other than that, the event has been held annually. 

With Xiangqi gaining more and more recognition, both inside China and overseas, the games played during each championship have been recorded, and published, though mostly in Chinese. It is here where the latest variations or flying daggers can be found. Each year, a game is also determined as the best played game in the competition by a profession group of judges, made up mostly of the Xiangqi grandmasters.  

There seems to be a limited amount of information about the female championships, especially before the 90’s where there was no internet yet. Indeed, I could not find much information about Xie Siming or other champions of the era. I would appreciate if any more information can be provided about the female champions of that era. 

On the other hand, there is an abundance of articles on the male championships.

Interesting facts:

  1. From 1956-2010, there have been only 14 male champions. Prior to 2000, only  Li Yiting (1958), Xu Tianhong (1989) and Tao Hanming (1994) have won the event only once. After 2000, there have been 4 champions: 2002 Yu Youhua, 2005 Hong Zhi, 2007 Zhao Xinxin and 2010 Jiang Chuan, who have won the tournament only once to date. Other champions have won the tournament many times. It shows that Xiangqi is gaining popularity and professional Xiangqi players are having a hard time now. The grandmasters must like Britney Spears “ Oops, I did it again…” very much.
  2. There have been 18 female champions from 1979-2010. Similar to the male players, there have been mostly domination of the scene for specific eras prior to 1994, after which there has been a different female champion each year.
  3. 1994 male champion Tao Hanming was the first ever non-professional Xiangqi player to have won the event. To date, no other amateur has been able to copy his feat.  
  4. Most champions follow the same route. They enter the competition in one year, then slowly improve their rankings until finally winning the championship. Even in the years after their victory, they more often than not lurked in the top 8 positions. The same goes for the female competition.

 

Past male champions:

1956-57 Yang Guanglin from Guandong province. The first ever champion
1958 Li Yiting from Hubei province. The 2nd champion.
1959 Yang Guanglin again.
1960-1979 Hu Ronghua from Shanghai. Footnote: Hu Ronghua tied with Yang Guanglin for the champion in 1962. It was also the first and last time to date where there were 2 champions. Hu, the 3rd champion, begins his legacy.
1980-81 Liu Dahua from Hubei province, 4th champion.
1982 Li Laiqun from Hebei province becomes the 5th champion.
1983 Hu Ronghua again.
1984 Li Laiqun again.
1985 Hu Ronghua again and again and again.
1986 Lv Qin becomes the 6th champion.
1987 Li Laiqun again
1988 Lv Qin again
1989 Xu Tianhong from Jiangsu province becomes the 7th champion.
1990 Zhao Guorong from Hei Long Jiang province becomes the 8th champion.
1991 Li Laiqun does it again.
1992 Zhao Guorong.
1993 Xu Yinchuan from Guangdong province leaves his mark as the 9th champion.
1994 Tao Hanming from Jilin Province becomes champion no. 10. He is also the first and last amateur competitor to date to have won the championship.
1995 Zhao Guorong
1996 Xu Yinchuan
1997 Hu Ronghua AGAIN!!!
1998 Xu Yinchuan
1999 Lv Qin
2000 Hu Ronghua AGAIN!!! Setting the record for the oldest player to have won the tournament,he is also the youngest to have won it in 1960 (age 15).
2001 Xu Yinchuan
2002 Yu Youhua from Zhejiang province becomes the 11th champion.
2003 Lv Qin
2004 Lv Qin
2005 Hong Zhi from Hubei province becomes the 12th champion.
2006 Xu Yinchuan
2007 Zhao Xinxin from Zhejiang becomes the 13th champion
2008 Zhao Guorong
2009 Xu Yinchuan
2010 Jiang Chuan from Beijing becomes the 14th champion. 

Past female champions:

1979 Huang Zijun , First ever female champion.
1980 Xie Siming . 2nd ever female champion
1980
Shan Xiali. 3rd ever female. There were 2 competitions held in 1980. Xie Siming won the first one whilst Shan Xiali won the second trophy.
1981 Lin Ye. 4th female champion. Lin would later obtain Italian citizenship and go on to dominate the male Xiangqi scene in the 90's. 
1981-83 Xie Siming from Beijing becomes the 5th female champion. There were also 2 such competitions held in 1981. Lin Ye won the first one and Xie Siming won the latter one. Xie was also mentioned in Sam Sloan’s Chinese Chess for Beginners.
1984 Shan Xiali again.
1985 Gao Hua becomes the 6th champion.
1986 Hu Ming from Hebei province becomes the 7th champion.
1987 Xie Siming again
1988 Huang Yuying becomes the 8th champion.
1989 Huang Wei makes her mark as the 9th champion.
1990-94 Hu Ming dominates.
1995 Wu Xia from Jiangsu province becomes the 10th champion.
1996 Gao Yiping becomes the 11th Champion. She would later be married to Taiwan Xiangqi King Wu Guilin and move there.
1997 Wang Linna from Hei Long Jiang province makes her mark as the 12th champion.
1998 Jin Haiying from Zhejiang province becomes the 13th champion.
1999 Huang Wei again.
2000 Wang Linna again
2001 Zhang Guofeng from Jiangsu province becomes champion number 14.
2002 Guo Liping from Hei Long Jiang province becomes number 15
2003 Dang Guolei from Yunnan province is champion number 16.
2004 Guo Liping again
2005 Zhao Guanfang from Yunnan province becomes the champion. 17th champion
2006 Wu Xia again, after an 11 year drought.
2007 Tang Dan from Beijing becomes the 18th champion.
2008 You Yinqin from Hebei province is champion number 19.
2009 Wang Linna again
2010 Tang Dan again

Last updated: 23rd April 2011
Acknowledgements: Mr Agostino Guberti for pointing out to me that Lin Ye was in fact the 4th champion. A million apologies to Mr and Mrs Guberti. Tongue out

Reference :
1. In chinese

http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-cn/%E5%85%A8%E5%9B%BD%E8%B1%A1%E6%A3%8B%E4%B8%AA%E4%BA%BA%E8%B5%9B

2. Males Champion in Chinese http://www.dpxq.com/hldcg/news_1426.html

3. Females Champion in Chinese http://www.dpxq.com/hldcg/qishou_0_2.html 

4. In English, Chinese Chess for Beginners by Sam Sloan 

5. In Chinese, http://www.wfhxqy.com/bbs/showtopic-5230.aspx , brief intro to all the female champions.

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