Introduction to the Five Rams Cup
Imagine a Xiangqi tournament whereby only the best Xiangqi experts in the world were eligible for participation. Back in the 1980-2000s, this tournament was known as the Five Rams Cup (五羊杯全国象棋冠军赛).
From the Lexicon of Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Terms in English (written by the Webmaster),
The Five Rams Cup was perhaps the toughest Xiangqi tournament in the world. Sponsored mostly by the late Hong Kong business tycoon Henry Fok, the very first tournament was held in January 1981. All the tournaments were held in Guangzhou.
When the tournament first started, only winners of the Chinese Xiangqi National Individuals Championship were allowed to participate. Therefore, upon its inception in 1981, there were only four players that were eligible for competition: Grandmaster Liu Dahua, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua and Grandmaster Yang Guanglin and Grandmaster Li Yiting. However, Grandmaster Li Yiting had already retired, so there were only three players that were eligible for competition. To make place for more top players to take part, the entry requirements were loosened in 2002. The rules were later relaxed even more such that competitors who had never become National Champion were also allowed to participate. Still, it was perhaps the toughest Xiangqi tournament in the world for its time.
Winners of the Five Rams Cup three times in a row were allowed to retain the coveted trophy permanently. Players who have accomplished the feat include Grandmaster Hu Ronghua (5th-8th tournament from 1985-1988) and Grandmaster Lü Qin (twice: 9th-13th tournament 1989-1992, 20th-2Second tournament, 1999-2001). The games played by these greats have been studied meticulously. It was considered to be a great honor to be able to take part in the competition. Unfortunately, as there were no more sponsors after the 29th event, it was stopped.
Some interesting facts:
1. Taking part in the Five Rams Cup would increase the player's chance of becoming National Champion.
Lü Qin represented Grandmaster Yang Guanlin in 1985 and 1986 when Yang relinquished his invitation to let young Lü Qin have more exposure. Lü Qin would become the National Champion the following year.
Yu Youhua 于幼华 was invited to take part in the tournament in 2002. Like Lü Qin, he was not a national champion yet. However, after the Five Rams Cup, he became National Champion in the same year. Hong Zhi was also invited to the Five Rams Cup in 2005, where he was not a national champion yet. Again, following the steps of Lü Qin and Yu Youhua, he would win the following National Championship,and he would win the next Five Rams Cup in 2006. Jiang Chuan made his debut in 2004. He would become National Champion in 2010.
2. There were only three players in the first Five Rams Cup. Liu Dahua won the very first championship, thus becoming the first Champion of Champions. The prize money, sponsored by Coca Cola, was 150 yuan for the champion. By the 16th tournament, the prize money for the champion had multiplied many-fold to 50000 yuan. Grandmaster Liu Dahua never won the tournament again after 1983. The 16th Five Rams Cup was so "peaceful" that champion Lü Qin won the tournament with only one win. The rest of the matches all ended in draws. Such a result ignited an outrage, and there were calls to make changes to the point system to make the game less drawish. Controversywas sparked, and additional awards like continuous wins were added in the hope of adding fireworks to the sport.
3. Players who had not won the Chinese Xiangqi National Individuals Championships were allowed to take part in the 16th Five Rams Cup after 2002, as long as they made Grandmaster by virtue of a high winning percentage.
4. Hong Kong casino tycoon Fok Koon Tai was the major sponsor of the tournament up till 2009. He announced that he would sponsor the event indefinitely in 1988. Unfortunately, he died in 2006. A nightly newspaper from Guangdong (羊城晚报yáng chéng wǎn bào) proceeded to sponsor the 29th tournament but stopped afterward. There has not been another Five Rams Cup to date.
It took the Webmaster over three days to reorganize the files of the Five Rams Cup for your perusal. The list is almost completet.
As with other game records found on this site, the Webmaster has chosen to categorize the game records in terms of of the opening system played. In the old website, there was no Vietnamese given for the players. The Webmaster has added some simple Vietnamese to help the Vietnamese community view the boards.
The matches played in the event can be found below. Unless specified, there will be ten boards per page. As there was only a limited number of games played in the first few tournaments,
|01||Jan 1981||Liu Dahua||01||16||Dec 1995||Lü Qin||16|
|02||Dec 1981||Hu Ronghua||02||17||Dec 1996||Hu Ronghua||17a 17b|
|03||Jan 1983||Liu Dahua||03a 03b||18||Jan 1998||Xu Yinchuan||18a 18b|
|04||Jan 1984||Li Laiqun||04a 04b||19||Jan 1999||Zhao Guorong||19a 19b 19c|
|05||Jan 1985||Hu Ronghua||05a 05b||20||Dec 1999||Lü Qin||20a 20b|
|06||Jan 1986||Hu Ronghua||06a 06b||21||Jan 2001||Lü Qin||21a 21b|
|07||Dec 1986||Hu Ronghua||07a 07b||22||Dec 2001||Lü Qin||22a 22b|
|08||Jan 1988||Hu Ronghua||08a 08b||23||Jan 2003||Xu Yinchuan||23a 23b|
|09||Jan 1989||Lü Qin||09a 09b||24||Jan 2004||Lü Qin||24a 24b 24c|
|10||Jan 1990||Lü Qin||10a 10b||25||Jan 2005||Xu Yinchuan||25a 25b 25c|
|11||Jan 1991||Lü Qin||11a 11b||26||Jan 2006||Hong Zhi||26a 26b 26c|
|12||Jan 1992||Lü Qin||12a 12b||27||Jan 2007||Xu Yinchuan||27a 27b
|13||Dec 1992||Lü Qin||13a 13b||28||Jan 2008||Xu Yinchuan||28a 28b 28c
|4||Dec 1993||Xu Yinchuan||14a 14b||29||Feb 2009||Lü Qin||29a 29b 29c|
|15||Jan 1995||Xu Yinchuan||15a 15b|