Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Proverbs: 84 Gems of Wisdom for Play
Xiangqi has been around for centuries, and there have been many tips and advice written about the game. Sometimes, certain concepts or ideas about gameplay can be easily understood and remembered with a simple proverb or saying.
The following is a list of the commonly used sayings or proverbs (谚语 yàn yǚ) in Xiangqi that would greatly benefit your gameplay. They represent the common sayings used today, especially in Xiangqi articles, books, and videos. The Webmaster has collected a long list of Xiangqi proverbs and sayings over the years, and some of them have been published in the Lexicon of Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Terms in English. (1 p. Appendix B)
For those interested in the book, it can be reached as Amazon with the following link:
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Some of these sayings have also been adapted into a beginner's manual by Grandmaster Jiang Chuan (蒋川 Jiǎng chuān) and Women's Xiangqi Master Shi Sixuan (史思璇 shǐ sī xuán).
But Xiangqi is also life. For proverbs of Xiangqi that are related to life, please click on this link.
- Sayings/Expressions in General
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Chariot
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Horse
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Cannon
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Pawn
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Advisor
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Elephant
- Sayings/Expressions related to the King
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Opening Phase
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Midgame Phase
- Sayings/Expressions related to the Endgame Phase
AN ADVANTAGE IN POSITION IS BETTER THAN WINNING THREE PIECES.
得局胜三子 dé jú shèng sān zǐ
This saying stresses the importance of positional advantage over material advantage.
BE SURE TO KNOW IF IT IS A REAL INITIATIVE OR FALSE INITIATIVE THAT YOU HAVE BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR MOVE.
真假先手,辩清在走 zhēn jiǎ xiān shǒu biàn qīng zài zǒu
Although this saying is self-explanatory, it stresses the importance of understanding the situation clearly. Making a plan or move under the false impression that you have the advantage could be suicidal. The reverse is also true. If making a plan or making a move under the wrong impression that one is disadvantaged, it would lose tempo and present opportunities to the opponent. This saying can be adapted to live itself.
CONCENTRATING THREE ATTACKING PIECES ON ONE FLANK WOULD MEAN A WINNING GAME.
三子归边一局棋 sān zǐ guī biān yī jú qí
This saying refers to the ability to concentrate three attacking pieces like a 1r1h1c, 2h1c, 1r1c1p, et cetera on one flank for the assault. Usually, the synergy of the combined material would create a kill. The AXF has called such an attack the Flanking Trio. See FLANKING TRIO.
GAINING MATERIAL AT THE EXPENSE OF LOSING TEMPO IS NOT A GOOD CHOICE.
得子失先非上策 dé zǐ shī xiān fēi shàng cè
Tempo vs. material. This is a very important issue to address during battling in Xiangqi. The tempo is always more important than the material in Xiangqi.
IT IS BETTER TO LOSE A PIECE THAN TO LOSE AN INITIATIVE
宁失一子,勿失一先 nìng shī yī zǐ wù shī yī xiān
In Xiangqi, a material loss can often be compensated, but a loss in the initiative would often lead to various losses. Hence, it would be better to lose material than to lose initiative. This should be a very important factor to assist your decision making.
IT ONLY TAKES A MISTAKE TO LOSE THE GAME, WHILE IT TAKES AN INGENIOUS PLAN TO WIN ONE.
棋输一步错,棋赢一步巧 qí shū yī bù cuò qí yíng yī bù qiǎo
All it takes to lose is a mistake. But it would take lots of hard work and ingenuity to succeed. This philosophical saying applies to the game of Xiangqi and life as well. For example, anybody trying to copy this work and publish it in a book would be in deep trouble. There are ingenious verses that the webmaster has inserted in the texts to prevent plagiarism.
LINKED CHARIOTS AND CANNONS WITH AN ELBOW HORSE, THE KING IN THE CITY WOULD SUFFER A BEATING
连车重炮卧槽马，城里老将挨死打 lián Jū zhòng pào wò cáo mǎ chéng lǐ lǎo jiàng ái sǐ dǎ
An allegorical expression to suggest the pressure a person would face when the enemy was simply too strong.
NEGLECTING ONE'S HOME TERRITORY EVEN IN AN ADVANTAGEOUS SITUATION IS SIMILAR TO PLAYING LIKE A BLIND PERSON.
棋优不顾家,好比睁眼瞎 qí yōu bù gù jiā hǎo bǐ zhēng yǎn xiā
This saying is a reminder never to be engrossed in attack and forget about defending your King from sneak attacks by the enemy. It stresses the importance of consolidating one's position. Very often, even in grandmaster games, the failure to protect your King would lead to a very rapid turning of the tables.
NEVER BE HASTY IN TRYING TO FINISH OFF YOUR OPPONENT, INSTEAD BE STEADFAST AND DELIBERATE IN YOUR ATTACK.
临杀勿急，稳中取胜 lín shā wù jí wěn zhōng qǔ shèng
Even when it looks like victory was in sight, never be brash and trigger happy. Instead, continue your attack so that the enemy would have absolutely no chance of a reprieve.
NO KILL IS POSSIBLE IF THE CANNON AND CHARIOT ARE NOT ASSISTED. *
车炮无杀着chē páo wú shā zháo
单车炮,瞎胡闹dān chē páo, xiā hú nào
This saying refers to the fact that another material is required when the 1r1c combination attacks the opponent's King. If there are no other material to act as cannon mounts, a kill is not possible. A contradiction to this saying would be the Scooping Moon Checkmate, but it stresses the importance of having other material available to assist the 1r1c combination in the attack. Another way of saying this in Chinese is "The single chariot and cannon combination is only capable of harmless mischief." or 单车炮,瞎胡闹 ( dān jū pào xiā hú nào) in Chinese.
PLAN IN DETAIL BEFORE ATTEMPTING A SACRIFICE
欲弃子攻杀，须全局筹划 yù qì zǐ gōng shā xū quán jú chóu huà
This expression would stress the importance of planning before execution and does not apply only to preparing for a sacrifice.
SACRIFICING A CHARIOT IS ONLY ACCEPTABLE WHEN YOU GET THE UPPER HAND.
得势舍车方有益 dé shì shě jū fāng yǒu yì
Control of the game is essential in Xiangqi, even at the expense of losing your chariots.
THE ACTIVE PIECE DOCTRINE
活子经 huó zǐ jīng
The full doctrine in Chinese is 活子经: 车要快,马要活,强子要配合 (huó zǐ jīng jū yào kuài mǎ yào huó qiáng zǐ yào pèihé ).
This doctrine refers to general advice on how the state of the Chariot, Horse, and other material should be in a game of Xiangqi.
The chariots must be quick 车要快.
It would mean that the Chariot must be quick. It would mean that an active, unimpeded Chariot is most desirable
where it would be able to exert most of its influence.
The Horse must be open 马要活.
This saying would mean that an unimpeded horse would be ideal in the attack.
There must be tactical combinations with the major pieces 强子要配合.
This saying would mean that the major pieces should be well coordinated for both defense and attack.
THE CHARIOT IS NEARBY, AND WHEN THE HORSE IS AT THE OCTAGONAL POSITION, THE ENEMY KING CANNOT RUN AWAY
车临头，马挂角，老将活不了 jū lín tóu mǎ guà jiǎo ， lǎo jiàng huó bù liǎo
车心马角，神仙难救 jū xīn mǎ jiǎo shén xiān nán jiù
This colorful saying would refer to one of the Chariot-Horse Shots that include positioning the Horse as an Octagonal Horse. See OCTAGONAL HORSE ATTACK.
THE ENEMY KING WOULD GET CRAMPS FROM THE THROAT CUTTING CHECKMATE.
大刀剜心，老将抽筋 dà dāo wān xīn lǎo jiàng chōu jīn
This saying is a colorful expression describing the viciousness of the Throat Cutting Checkmate. See Throat Cutting Checkmate under the Basic Kills Section on the website.
THE SKILLFUL PLAYER AIMS FOR THE INITIATIVE.
善弈者谋势 shàn yì zhě móu shì
This saying stresses, like many other sayings, the importance of initiative and control of the game, rather than material or other less important gains.
THE WIDOWED ADVISOR (SINGLE ADVISOR) IS FEARFUL OF THE TWO CHARIOTS
寡士怕双车 guǎ shì pà shuāng jū
When there is only one Advisor left, it is especially vulnerable to attacks by the opponent's chariots. The Secret in the Tangerine and the Theory of Xiangqi have similar views and advise exchanging the opponent's Chariot (s) and Pawn (s) with your material so that the King would not be vulnerable to attacks by the chariots or pawns.
TIPS FOR DEFENSE: USE THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION GUARD AGAINST CHARIOTS. USE THE SAME DIRECTION GUARD AGAINST THE CANNON. USED THE RAM HORSE ADVISORS AGAINST THE HORSE.
补士方:防车攻宜补花士象,防炮攻宜补顺士象,防马攻宜补羊角士 bǔ shì fāng fáng jū gōng yí bǔ huā shì xiàng fáng pào gōng yí bǔ shùn shì xiàng fáng mǎ gōng yí bǔ yáng jiǎo shì
This is advice for which type of defensive formation your full guard (two elephants and advisors) should be arranged when faced with the threat of an attacking chariot, Cannon or Horse. Using the Opposite Direction Guard is advised for defense against an attacking chariot. The Same Direction Guard should be used against an attacking cannon, while the ram horn advisors are recommended against an attacking horse.
TO FIND ONE'S EQUAL.
棋逢对手，将遇良才 qí féng duì shǒu jiàng yù liáng cái
In certain Xiangqi boards, one might find the inscription "棋逢对手，将遇良才" in the river.
棋逢对手 would mean that a player would find a worthy adversary on the board.
将遇良才 would mean that a general would find a capable helper in war.
The two verses, when combined, would mean that in the game played, both players should have an exciting game.
This verse has its origins in Journey to the West 《西游记》. In chapter 34, it was written "他两个在半空中，这场好杀。棋逢对手，将遇良才。"
棋逢对手，将遇良才 was used to describe the two deities fighting were actually quite evenly matched.
TRADING THE HORSE FOR THE ENEMY ELEPHANTS WOULD RESULT IN A POWERFUL POSITION
一马换双象，其势必英雄 yī mǎ huàn shuāng xiàng qí shì bì yīngxióng
This saying is commonly used to refer to trading a Horse for the enemy Elephants, which is supposed to crack open the enemy defense and allow for the win, under the right circumstances.
USE THE PAWN TO LIMIT THE HORSE.
以兵制马 yǐ bīng zhì mǎ
As the Horse can be blocked, the Pawn is often used to corner and limit the opponent's Horse. This is especially so in the Opening, pushing the Pawn on the same file as the opponent's Horse can limit its development.
For example, if Red started the game with H2+3, one of the most commonly used counters would be to play P7+1 to limit the development of this Horse.
VICIOUS ARE THE HEADHUNTER CANNONS AND CENTROID PAWNS
空头炮,花心卒,凶恶难当 kōng tóu pào huā xīn zú xiōng è nán dāng
It simply means that the Headhunter cannon and the Centroid Pawn are vicious entities that are hard to deal with.
WATCH BUT DO NOT COMMENT, AND NO TAKE BACK IS NOT ALLOWED. *
Guān qí bù yǔ zhēn jūn zǐ qǐ shǒu wú huí dà zhàng fu
In certain Xiangqi boards, there are inscriptions on each side of the boards 观棋不语真君子，起手无回大丈夫.
观棋不语真君子 (Hanyu Pinyin guān qí bù yǔ zhēn jūn zǐ) essentially means that onlookers should not comment aloud on an ongoing game so that the players would not be affected. In other words, no kibitzing is allowed. (See also NO KIBITZING in the Lexicon)
Such behavior would be the mark of a gentleman.
起手无回大丈夫 (Hanyu Pinyin qǐ shǒu wú huí dà zhàng fū) would mean that once a move is made, no take-back is allowed for the players on the board.
WHEN THE ENEMY MOVES THE CANNON TO THE CENTRAL FILE, THE HORSE WILL HAVE TO PROTECT THE CENTRAL PAWN
当头炮，马来跳 dāng tóu pào mǎ lái tiào
This saying is a commonly used saying to refer to using the Screen Horse or Sandwiched Horse Defense to counter the central Cannon.
WHEN THE IRON BOLT (CHECKMATE) IS APPLIED, THE ENEMY KING WILL WRITHE IN AGONY
插上铁门闩，老帅受熬煎。Chā shàng tiě mén shuān lǎo shuài shòu áo jiān
This colorful saying would describe the power of the Iron Bolt Checkmate.
YOU LOSE BECAUSE THE ORDER OF YOUR MOVES WAS INCORRECT.
棋输只因次序错 qí shū zhǐ yīn cì xù cuò
The order of the moves you make is crucial in a game. A change in the order of moves to carry out a plan might be a mistake as it would give your opponent chances to retaliate. The room for error is minimal.
YOU NEED NOT FEAR THE HORSE ONCE YOU HAVE THE RAM HORN ADVISORS IN PLACE.
撑起羊角士,不怕马来将 chēng qǐ yáng jiǎo shì bù pà Mǎ lái jiāng
In the endgame, one of the best ways that the advisors can defend against an attack by the enemy horse is to utilize the ram horn advisors. Although the best possible defense would still have to consider the situation on the board, the ram horn advisors do create much trouble for the attacking Horse, especially when the enemy attempts an elbow horse or palcorner horse attack.
A CENTROID CHARIOT WOULD MEAN THAT THE END IS NEAR.
车坐中心,见将就死 jū zuò zhōng xīn jiàn jiāng jiu sǐ
While a cornered King may not necessarily be checkmated, it does mean that a king would be in grave danger once the opponent can maneuver a chariot to the centroid position.
AN INACTIVE CHARIOT WOULD MEAN A WEAK POSITION.
低头车,阵势虚 dī tóu jū zhèn shì xū
This saying would mean that an impeded or trapped chariot would result in a weak formation. The ability of the chariots to exert their influence in a game of Xiangqi cannot be overstressed.
DO NOT PLACE THE CHARIOT IN DANGEROUS TERRITORY.
车不立险地 jū bù lì xiǎn dì
Placing material in dangerous positions where they are vulnerable to attack is discouraged. Although the same principle applies to other material, this is especially so with the Chariot as the Chariot is the most powerful piece in Xiangqi. If it were positioned in places where it is vulnerable to attack or capture, you would usually lose initiative or tempo or even the game.
But this saying does not mean that you should not attack, for there is a certain degree of risk whenever you advance material into enemy territory. Rather, they should be advanced with purpose, and with adequate backup and synergy with the other material on the board.
DO NOT RUSH TO CAPTURE DEAD MATERIAL.
死子勿急吃 sǐ zǐ wù jí chī
This saying means that one should not be rash to capture trapped material as they have nowhere to go. Instead, if there are better moves to increase initiative or tempo, one should play them first before capturing the trapped material. Of course, this would only refer to trapped material, not pieces which can be protected or material that can escape capture.
EXCHANGE CHARIOTS SHOULD YOU HAVE ONE ADVISOR LEFT.
士亏应兑车 shì kuī yīng duì jū
When you have one Advisor left, you would be vulnerable to attacks by the opponent's Chariot (s). It would be advisable to try to exchange material for those Chariot (s) to protect. Of course, that would be done if you were on the losing end of things.
LINKED CHARIOTS ARE LIKE AN IMPENETRABLE WALL.
车结“霸王”，铁壁铜墙 jū jié bà wáng tiě bì tóng qiáng
Self-explanatory. I would really want to see how it might be copied and interpreted myself. If it is not found on xqie, it ain't the original.
ONE CHARIOT MAKES TEN OF THE ENEMY PIECES SHIVER IN FRIGHT
一车十子寒 yī jū shí zǐ hán
This is a very famous Xiangqi saying to stress the power of the Chariot. There has been an endgame composition with the same title in Xiangqi. Check out the lexicon for an endgame composition that showcases the might of the Chariot.
THE CHARIOT DOES NOT ENTER DANGEROUS TERRITORY
车不入险地 jū bù rù xiǎn dì
The saying is based on Jiang Taigong's Six Secret Teachings. One of the chapters discussed the possibilities of a chariot being attacked when it penetrated enemy territory too deeply.
THE CHARIOT IS AS POWERFUL AS A TIGER.
车力强似虎 jū lì qiáng sì hǔ
In Xiangqi, the Chariot is considered to be the strongest piece. Hence early development of the chariots is crucial for an advantage. This saying describes the power of the Chariot to be like that of a tiger.
THE PLAYER WITH THE CHARIOT WOULD KILL THE ONE WITHOUT IT.
有车杀无车 yǒu jū shā wú jū
Although this saying is not necessarily always true, it does demonstrate the importance of the Chariot. Being the most powerful piece in Xiangqi, the Chariot can do more damage when left on the board than exchanged. Chariot-less games are usually more demanding on the technical skills of players.
YOU LOSE BECAUSE YOUR CHARIOTS WERE NOT DEVELOPED.
输棋只因出车晚 shū qí zhǐ yīn chū jū wǎn
This saying stresses the importance of getting your chariots into action early in Xiangqi. Failure to develop or poor development of your chariots would often result in a loss. While this is generally so, there have been new variations in Xiangqi whereby the development of the Chariots is deliberately deferred. A similar saying to this would be, "You lose because your chariot was not developed in the first three moves." See relevant entry in the lexicon.
A CENTROID HORSE WOULD CAUSE THE KING TO FAINT OR DIE.
马跳窝心,不死也昏 mǎ tiào wō xīn bù sǐ yě hūn
This is another way of saying the King faints at the sight of the centroid horse. See relevant entry.
A HORSE TRAPPED ON THE EDGES IS DESTINED TO DIE.
马逢边必亡 mǎ féng biān bì wáng
马跳边，易被歼 mǎ tiào biān yì bèi jiān
This saying refers to any horse positioned on the edge files, or bottom ranks is not ideal and prone to capture. It does not refer to moving any horse to the edges for the attack. This saying is advice to remind people to think twice before moving the Horse to the edges where it is more vulnerable to capture.
A LONE HORSE CAN KILL THE ENEMY KING
马踩无棋 mǎ cǎi wú qí
This saying would refer to the endgame situation of 1 Horse vs. 1 King, where the Horse would win by placing the King in a stalemate.
BAD THINGS FOLLOW WHEN YOUR HORSE ENTERS YOUR PALACE.
马入宫,多遭凶 mǎ rù gōng duō zāo xiōng
See THE KING FAINTS AT THE SIGHT OF THE CENTROID HORSE.
MAJESTIC ON EIGHT FRONTS
八面威风 bā miàn wēi fēng
马有八面威风 mǎ yǒu bā miàn wēi fēng
This phrase is used to describe the power and strength of the Horse as it has a scope of a maximum of eight intersections on the board when it is not blocked by other material. This is a very powerful characteristic of the Horse as it would be able to attack a maximum of eight intersections on different lines, by virtue of its movement.
THE HORSE IS WORRIED ABOUT BEING BLOCKED
马怕蹩脚 mǎ pà bié jiǎo
THE HORSE SHOULD NOT BE ADVANCED HASTILY.
马不躁进 mǎ bù zào jìn
The Horse is a very powerful piece if allowed to attack the opponent. Yet advancing the Horse very early in the game is undesirable as usually, it would not have adequate protection. The material that the opponent has would actually impede the movement of the Horse, leading to a huge deficit in its potential to attack. Instead, this saying advocates that one prepares the way for the Horse to attack, usually at the end of the Opening such that it would be a more viable threat.
THE HORSE SHOULD NOT BE MOVED TO THE CORNER
马不落角隅 mǎ bù lào jiǎo yú
THE HORSES ARE LILE A PAIR OF KNIVES CHASING AFTER YOUR LIFE!
双马如绞刀，看你往哪逃 shuāng mǎ rú jiǎo dāo kàn nǐ wǎng nǎ táo
This colorful saying would describe the way that the potential that the Double Horses can have.
THE KING FAINTS AT THE SIGHT OF THE CENTROID HORSE
马入宫心老将发昏 mǎ rù gōng xīn lǎo jiàng fā hūn
A RIVERBANK CANNON CAN HIT EIGHTEEN TARGETS. THE RIVERBANK CANNON CAN SHOOT THE GENERAL OFF HIS STEED
沿河十八打,将军拉下马 yán hé shí bā dǎ jiāng jūn lā xià mǎ
"沿河十八打,将军拉下马" which means that a riverbank cannon can attack all the nine files and is capable of pulling the General down from his steed. Indeed, if allowed to live to its full potential, a Riverbank cannon is a fearsome entity. This verse allegedly came about to describe Ba Ji Ren making short work of an anonymous challenger who was later found out to be a retired general. See BA JI REN.
AN ALLEY CANNON IS HEAVILY CRIPPLED.
炮进冷巷,难成风浪 pào jìn lěng xiàng nán chéng fēng làng
炮进冷巷，难兴风浪 pào jìn lěng xiàng nán xīng fēng làng
An Alley Cannon would refer to a Cannon that is trapped between two pieces, which may or may not be friendly. In essence, an alley cannon could be restricted to one file or rank in terms of mobility even though the adjacent pieces may act as cannon mounts.
CANNONS ARE MORE POWERFUL WHEN LINKED (OR IN TANDEM)
双炮一条绳 shuāng pào yī tiáo shén
CANNONS GO HOME IN THE ENDGAME
残局炮归家 cán jú pào guī jiā
This phrase means that your Cannon should be moved back to your side of the board in the endgame for defense and attack as there is relatively less material on the board to act as cannon mounts. By moving the Cannon back to one's own palace, it can be used to defend while attacking with whatever Advisor or Elephant is remaining to act as a cannon mount.
This would comply with Save an Advisor for the Cannon. See SAVE AN ADVISOR FOR THE CANNON.
RETAIN ADVISOR(S) WHEN THERE IS STILL A CANNON IN ENDGAME
有炮须留他方士 yǒu pào xū liú tā fāng shì
When you have cannons in the endgame, it is advisable to retain at least one Advisor to act as a cannon mount. Usually, your own Advisor (s) is preferable, although the opponent's advisors may assist in your attack.
SAVE AN ADVISOR FOR THE CANNON.
有炮留他士 yǒu pào liú tā shì
This phrase means that in the endgame stage of the game, it would be advisable to try to protect and retain Advisor (s) on the board. The advisors would act as a cannon mount as the material is relatively scarce in this stage of the game. See also CANNON GOES HOME IN THE ENDGAME.
THE CANNON IS MORE EFFECTIVE IN THE BACK RANKS
炮在后为先 pào zài hòu wéi xiān
As the Cannon captures material by jumping over a cannon mount to capture material nearest to the cannon mount, placing the Cannon at the back ranks (bottom rank, throat rank, or Cannon ranks et cetera.) would allow the Cannon to be a more of viable threat.
THE CANNON IS THE SOURCE OF BRAVERY IN THE ARMY
炮乃军中之胆 pào nǎi jūn zhōng zhī dǎn
This saying would mean that the Cannon was very important in the attack, especially in the early phases.
THE CANNON SHOULD NOT BE ADVANCED HASTILY.
炮勿轻发 pào wù qīng fā
This saying refers to the fact that in the Opening, the Cannon should not advance the opponent's territory recklessly. Instead, it is best used to control important files and ranks. This saying refers to the use of the Cannon in the context of the Opening.
THE LONE CANNON CANNOT DO MUCH
孤炮难鸣 gū pào nán míng
The Cannon would need Cannon Mounts to be a threat. The saying mentioned here would stress this fact.
THE RIVERBANK PIECE CAN HELP OUT IN NINE WAYS
巡河九应 xún hé jiǔ yìng
This saying refers to the fact that a chariot or Cannon one's riverbank can be a major threat to the opponent and defend one's position as each of the nine intersections on the riverbank. It would usually refer to the Cannon.
WHEN THE HEAVEN AND EARTH CANNONS THUNDER, EVEN THE STRONGEST OF WARRIORS WILL SUCCUMB.
天地炮响，神兵难挡 tiān dì pào xiǎng shén bīng nán dǎng
This is a saying to describe the power of the Heaven and Earth Cannons when they are given a chance to attack.
A PAWN THAT HAS CROSSED THE RIVER CAN RACE AGAINST A SMALL CHARIOT.
卒子过河赛小车 zú zǐ guò hé sài xiǎo jū
A pawn that has crossed the river immediately becomes a threat. If it is allowed to get close enough to the King, especially at the throat rank, it would be a threat that the opponent cannot ignore. The ancient Chinese have considered the material value of a pawn that has gotten close enough to the enemy palace to be nearly worth at of a chariot. This saying, if translated literally, it would mean that a cross-river pawn can race against the Chariot.
OLD PAWNS CANNOT CONTRIBUTE
老兵无用 lǎo bīng wú yòng
Bottom pawns are also called affectionately known as old pawns in Xiangqi. In this saying, it simply means that the bottom-ranked Pawn (s) are minimal threats and are often are inconsequential. This is conventional wisdom as the bottom rank pawn can only traverse the bottom rank.
However, in certain endgame scenarios, the bottom Pawn can be the crucial difference between a draw and a win. Also, Xiangqi Masters and Grandmasters can make old pawns into formidable threats. Nevertheless, this saying would still apply to most circumstances.
WHEN THE PAWN CAN SIT ON THE ENEMY THRONE, THE END IS NEAR FOR THE ENEMY KING.
小卒坐大堂，将帅活不长 xiǎo zú zuò dà táng jiàng shuài huó bù cháng
This expression would refer to the Pawn occupying the Centroid position.
DO NOT MOVE THE ADVISOR WITHOUT A VALID REASON
无事不支士 wú shì bù zhī shì
MOVE THE WRONG ADVISOR, AND TROUBLE WILL COME.
支错士，自找事 zhī cuò shì zì zhǎo shì
MOVING THE ELEPHANT WRONGLY CAN OFTEN LEAD TO DISASTER
臭棋乱飞象 chòu qí luàn fēi xiàng
PREVENT THE ELEPHANT'S EYE FROM BEING BLOCKED
象眼谨防塞 xiàng yǎn jǐnfáng sāi
THE HIGH KING IS VERY VULNERABLE.
高将多危 gāo jiàng duō wēi
A king found on the cannon rank is very vulnerable to attack and should not be moved there unless there are no better alternatives.
THE KING IS NOT TO BE EXPOSED.
将忌暴露 jiàng jì bào lù
A king that is exposed is vulnerable to attack. This is a general saying. In the endgame, however, the King might be deliberately 'exposed' to control a file (either the Fourth or Fifth or Sixth file) by virtue of the Royal Rule. Sometimes, the King is moved to a potentially dangerous position where it can aid in the attack. Nevertheless, the King should be protected at all times, and it is usually not a good idea to leave a king in a position where it is vulnerable to attack.
WHEN THE KING JOINS THE BATTLE, IT IS ABLE TO DO THE WORK OF MORE THAN TWO MEN
老将出马，一个顶俩 lǎo jiàng chū mǎ yī gè dǐng liǎng
This pithy expression would be a reminder of how the King can assist in the attack, especially when making use of the Royal Rule.
IN THE OPENING PHASE, THE CANNON IS BETTER THAN THE HORSE. IN THE ENDGAME PHASE, THE HORSE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CANNON
开局炮胜马，残局马胜炮 kāi jú pào shèng mǎ cán jú mǎ shèng pào
Self-explanatory. In the Opening Phase, there is much more material that can act as the Cannon Mount for the Cannon to attack or defend. Hence the Cannon is stronger in the Opening. However, a lone cannon cannot checkmate an enemy King. In the Endgame Phase, the relative decrease in the number of material would mean that the Horse would be less impeded and more dangerous than the Cannon. A lone Horse can checkmate the enemy King through applying a stalemate.
IN THE OPENING, THE CANNON SHOULD NOT BE USED TO EXCHANGE FOR THE HORSE.
布局时,炮不换马 bù jú shí pào bù huàn mǎ
It is generally accepted that in the Opening, the Cannon is worth more than the Horse as it can make more threats due to its mobility. Hence, exchanging the Cannon for the Horse early in the game is not encouraged. That is why playing C2+7 or C8+7 to exchange for the opponent's Horse (s) is not recommended.
STARTING THE GAME WITH THE CENTRAL CANNON, IS BETTER THAN OTHER OPENINGS
起炮在中宫,比诸局较雄 qǐ pào zài zhōng gōng bǐ zhū jú jiào xióng
This Xiangqi idiom would mean that the Central Cannon opening is King.
The Central Cannon opening for Red has been King for the past few centuries. It remains the most commonly played Red opening for centuries and indeed, many other openings like the Pawn or Horse Opening transpositions back to various variations of the Central Cannon.
THE OPENING IS THE BASIS.
开局是基础 kāi jú shì jī chǔ
A good opening would lead to an advantageous midgame and a successful endgame or a win.
YOU LOSE BECAUSE YOUR CHARIOT WAS NOT DEVELOPED IN THE FIRST THREE MOVES
三步不出车,着棋容易输 sān bù bù chū chē zhuó qí róngyì shū
This saying stresses the importance of getting your chariots into action early in Xiangqi. Failure to develop or poor development of your chariots would often result in a loss. While this is generally so, there have been new variations in Xiangqi whereby the development of the Chariots is deliberately deferred. A similar saying to this would be You will lose because your Chariot was not developed.
GAINING MATERIAL IN THE MIDGAME IS ONE WAY TO JUDGE IF YOU WILL WIN THE GAME.
中局得子定胜负 zhōngjú dé zǐ dìng shèng fù
If you can gain material in the midgame without losing tempo, the material advantage going into the endgame would probably give you a win.
GAMBITS THAT GAIN TEMPO WOULD LEAD TO VICTORIES IN THE MIDGAME.
弃子抢先中局胜 qì zǐ qiǎng xiān zhōng jú shèng
Gaining tempo even at the expense of losing material is desired, as it would allow one to have the initiative in the midgame. This saying does not encourage reckless sacrifice of material. Rather it stresses the importance of tempi over the material.
ADVICE FOR ENDGAME WITH THE CANNON AND HORSE IN WINNING SITUATIONS
残棋志:炮得势时兵换象,马得势时兵换仕 cán qí zhì pào dé shì shí bīng huàn xiàng mǎ dé shì shí bīng huàn shì
The full saying in Chinese is :残棋志:炮得势时兵换象,马得势时兵换仕.
This saying represents the general recommendations in the endgame when your Cannon has become a threat. When the Cannon is well developed, it is advisable to use your Pawn to exchange for the opponent's Elephant. If it were a horse that was well developed as a threat in the endgame, it would be advisable for a pawn to be used to exchange for the enemy advisor. A last piece of advice would be that there is copyright to this material, and it belongs to Xiangqi in English dot com.
IN THE ENDGAME, THE HORSE IS STRONGER THAN THE CANNON. *
残局马胜炮 cán jú mǎ shèng pào
There is much less material to impede the Horse in the endgame. The same lack of material would also mean fewer cannon mounts available for the Cannon to be a threat. Hence, it is generally accepted that in the endgame, the Horse would be able to do more damage than the Cannon and would be a more valuable piece to keep on the board going into the endgame.
LOW PAWN CAN CAPTURE KING
低兵擒王 dī bīng qín wáng
A low pawn, be it a throat ranked Pawn or Cannon ranked Pawn, can bring about a checkmate via stalemate by reaching the opponent's centroid position in the palace. See the Youtube videos from this site and also Tu Jingming's Endgame Dictionary.
NO MOON SCOOPING CHECKMATE IS POSSIBLE IF THE ENEMY HAS CONTROLLED THE CENTRAL FILE. *
车正永无沉底月 jū zhèng yǒng wú chén dǐ yuè
This saying is used to describe the importance of the central file in a '1r1c vs. 1r' or '1r1bp vs. 1r' situation. If the defending party could control the central file with his Chariot, it would be a draw. Otherwise, a moon scooping checkmate would be possible.
THE DEFENSIVE CENTRAL PAWN SHOULD NOT ADVANCE HASTILY.
中卒守将门,无事别轻进 zhōng zú shǒu jiàng mén wú shì bié qīng jìn
This saying refers to the endgame situation whereby a central pawn is responsible for defense. It is usually a high pawn and should not be advanced recklessly. A good defending central pawn can helmet the opponent's King and limit the opponent's King from aiding in the attack. Hence a central pawn whose main duty is to defend should not be advanced to attack as it may not prevent the opponent's King from aiding in the attack.
THE EAST DOOR WEST HOUSE FORMATION IS THE KEY TO A DRAW
门东户西守和之规 mén dōng hù xī shǒu hé zhī guī
This Xiangqi idiom would refer to the endgame situation of 1H vs. 1E. For the weaker side to force a draw, he would have to keep his King and Elephant on different sides of the board and prevent the enemy Horse from applying a royal fork to capture the Elephant.
THE LONE CHARIOT IS LIKE A SWORDSMAN. WHEN WIELDING THE SWORD, IT SHOULD NOT BE IN THE SAME LINE.
单车欲保剑，不能一条线 dān jū yù bǎo jiàn bù néng yī tiáo xiàn 。
This saying would refer to the Single Swordsman endgame situation. Please refer to the books on endgame tabia that the author has written. It should be in part 3a.
THE LONELY ELEPHANT IS SCARED OF THE TWO CANNONS.
缺象怕双炮 quē xiàng pà shuāng pào
The player with one Elephant is generally placed in a disadvantageous position when two cannons attack his opponent.
1. Png, Jim Hau Cheng. Lexicon of Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Terms in English. Taipei : Jim Png Hau Cheng, 2017. 978-957-43-4707-0.
2. 学习象棋谚语，对象棋提升有显著的提升，图解分析（二）马之棋谚. bilibili. [Online] Aug 17, 2019. [Cited: Sep 16, 200.] https://www.bilibili.com/read/cv3365352/.
3. 象棋谚语最全大汇集（上），象棋爱好者必看. 搜狐媒体平台. [联机] 2020年Aug月11日. [引用日期: 2020年Sep月16日.] https://m.sohu.com/n/521798123/?wscrid=95360_6.