Chapter 4: Exchanging Material 兌

Exchanging material is what it is. It is one of the most basic Xiangqi tactics that must be mastered, especially in the midgame phase.
In actual games, if one of the players were able to grasp the perfect chance to trade material, it would not be hard to gain initiative or better positioning. Sometimes, material gains can also be had.

Note: The examples have also been made into short videos with corresponding tags to offer a clearer explanation. The URL would be: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSgklQ5ZjutrQ24JjNmVwnkp82VKWHgHQ


In this chapter, the various aspects of the tactic would be discussed:
a) direct exchanges, 
b) indirect exchanges,
c) trading material of unequal value.

 

a) Direct Exchanges

Direct exchanges would be the most basic of this tactic. It is commonly seen when the pieces of a player are pinned or that when the situation was complicated. By trading material, the protecting pieces is targeted such that it would not be able to protect that piece anymore.
6 examples are given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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b) Indirect Exchange

  An indirect sacrifice is considered to be one of the more sophisticated tactics.
In actual battle, when one color was under attack and placed under great danger, it would not be a good idea to try to defend passively as things could go from bad to worse.
Instead, the player should try to be proactive and formulate his plans better. One way to do so would be to use the tactic of an indirect exchange where a piece is voluntarily given up. An attack would be started at another place on the board whereby the material loss would be recovered.
This tactic is often used to resolve dangerous situations and can also be used to gain tempi.
It would be important for the player to master similar situations.
The following would be seven examples that discuss three different situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 c) Unequal Exchange

 involve simpler plays, but they often have the added advantage of a surprise attack.
In entangled situations or when both colors were attacking aggressively, it would be important to pay attention to this tactic. If one was caught unawares, the scales could tilt rapidly in the favor of the enemy.
The most common situations include taking out the root of the enemy and trading material and also the "Rendezvous of the Four Chariots" situation.
As we all know, when piece A is protecting piece B of the same color, piece A would be called the root of piece B. Therefore when trying to gain material, it would be important to inspect whether the root piece itself is safe or not.
The first four examples would demonstrate this concept. It would seem that the moves given as the first move would be sound, but in fact, they would be blunders than lead to material loss.

 

 

 

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Reference:

李海鸣 和 林秦. 象棋战术初步. 北京 : 新华书店北京发行, 1986. 7015.2281.

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