While endgame situations had already been discussed in the ancient manuals like the Elegant Pastime Manual and the Secret in the Tangerine, they were 'loosely' studied in general. In the first half of the twentieth century, some treatises dedicated to various endgames situations started to appear. The appearances of these treatises marked the ascension of the Xiangqi endgame to another level. While there were quite a few publications, the following three stood out from the crowd and represent the pillars of modern-day endgame theory.
Chariot Horse Treatise 《车马专辑》
The Chariot Horse Treatise was first written by Tian Yushu (田玉书, tián yù shū, c. 1914-1945）who was a Xiangqi expert in the 1930s. He was one of the best in China at that time, having held his own against other contemporaries of that era. He studied the Chariot-Horse Combination in detail and collected them in a book Yun Xiu Zhai (蕴秀斋 yùn xiù zhāi) which was later published by Yang Mingzhong in the 1970s. This piece of work was later assimilated by Lin Youru and published in the late 1950s and it still serves as one of the foundations of modern-day endgame theory.
There have been some mistakes in the book which has been corrected and included below. The webmaster of xqinenglish.com has collected and corrected and added some notes in a publication, A Study of the Chariot Horse Treatise, that has been published in 2019.
Cannon Pawn Treatise 《炮卒专辑》
The Cannon-Pawn Treatise is the earliest piece of writing devoted to the study of the various strategies and tactics that a single cannon and cannon-pawn(s) combinations could conjure. It was authored by the late endgame specialist Chen Lianyong (陈廉庸 (chén lián yōng, ?--1952), who also authored the Horse-Pawn Treatise and initially published in 1952. There have been further reprints since.
It was a groundbreaking masterpiece of its time which consisted of one hundred and forty-eight boards, discussing various ways of attacking and defending with various cannon pawn combinations. Chen was also acknowledged to be the first man to draw definite conclusions on various endgame scenarios with the cannon pawn(s) combinations that were controversial in his time. For example, Chen demonstrated why a cannon and high pawn combination would be a book win against a full enemy guard. His work would serve as some of the essential foundations of modern-day endgame tabia, and indeed much of his work has become standard endgame tabia to master.
Chen also showed that he was a magician in endgames when he developed various ingenious methods of positional wins in different endgame situations which were considered to be drawn in his time. Bottom-ranked pawns were given new life, and the presence of theses pawn(s) became critical factors that changed the outcome of endgame scenarios which were deemed as draws previously. The work he did would serve as a foundation for future endgame composers.
<<中国象棋炮卒专辑>>(zhōng guó xiàng qí pào zú zhuān jí) was the title of the book originally published by Chen; the other names represent some of the names used for reprints or short forms.
陈廉庸 (chén lián yōng, ?--1952)
Not much was known about Chen Lianyong except that he was the author of two of the greatest books on piece-kind combinations of all time, the Cannon-Pawn Treatise, and the Horse-Pawn Treatise.
Horse Pawn Treatise 《马兵专辑》
The Horse Pawn Treatise is also another endgame masterpiece by Chen Lianyong.
Together, the three books are considered to be the fundamentals of modern-day Xiangqi endgame theory.
The print book and ebook version with detailed analyses are coming soon!
Chariot-Horse Treatise: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10
Cannon-Pawn Treatise: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
Horse-Pawn Treatise: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13
First created: 20190326
Last modified: 20190501
The late Tian Yushu, Lin Youru and Chen Lianyong for their tremendous contributions to Xiangqi.
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