Ancient manuals on Chinese Chess. Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty manuals on Chinese chess.

The Plum Flower Manuals
<<梅花谱>> 系列

A simple introduction to the various Plum Flower Manuals
01. <<梅花谱>> Original Plum Flower Manual
The original Plum Flower Manual was written by 王再越 Wang Zaiyue. The date generally accepted for its publication was around AD 1662-1722, in the Qing Dynasty era, possibly when 康熙 Kang Xi was emperor.
This is another super ancient manual, one that has shaped the Xiangqi scene for centuries to come. Together with The Secret in the Tangerine and the Elegant Pastime Manual, they are hailed as the greatest Xiangqi manuals of all time.
Not much historical evidence can be found regarding Wang. All that is known from his prologue was that the times were turbulent when he wrote this masterpiece and that he was not well off but was very upright in character.
The Plum Flower Manual by Wang consists of 2 volumes with 3 sections each. In these sections, the screen horse defense, same direction cannons, opposite direction cannons, cross palace cannon, etc were discussed. Wang showed his genius by injecting life into the screen horse opening.
To date, the most played Xiangqi opening for red is the central cannon, and the general opinion is that the Screen Horse learned is the best counter. I believe personally that the Central cannon vs Screen Horse opening accounts for over half of the games played today, everywhere in the world. And the reason for this is Wang’s masterpiece. This masterpiece also sparked off many other similar publications in centuries to come. For recording purposes, this masterpiece will be abbreviated as 'mhpwang' throughout this website.
Throughout the centuries, there were different hand copies of this original work whereby improvements and modifications were added. This gave birth to a whole series of Plum Flower Manuals.
There are other Plum Flower Manuals too. But Wang’s version is regarded as THE Plum Flower Manual. All the other Plum Flower Manuals are referred to according to their authors.

02.<<无双品梅花谱>> or The Unparalleled Plum Flower Manual was authored by 周廷梅 Zhou Tingmei (date of birth and time of death unknown), who was a businessman dealing in timber. The book was written around AD 1760 and was believed to be the remains of another massive piece of work that was lost through the ages.
According to Tu Jingming's Xiangqi Dictionary, Zhou was well versed in ancient scriptures and was perhaps the top player of his time. He had over two hundred disciples learning from him in his lifetime. Zhou had traveled far and wide and was never defeated in his travels, thus earning him the nickname of 天下国手 (Unbeaten National Player, which was a term used at the time to refer to the very best)
.
The remains of this Plum Flower Manual were published by 林幼如 in <<象棋月刊>> in 1948, and was given the name thus used. Mhpwsp will be the abbreviation used throughout this site.

03. <<崇本堂梅花谱>> Chong Ben Tang's Plum Flower Manual 01 02
Believed to be similar in origin or related to Plum Flower Springs Manual.

04. <<梅花泉>>  Plum Flower Springs Manual
The introduction to this ancient manual can be seen in the link.

05. <<郑氏梅花谱>>  Zheng's Plum Flower Manual
The Plum Flower Manual by Zheng Zimei 郑自梅 was published in 1897. According to him, his father had copies of a manual of The Plum Flower Manual whereby variations had been added and the moves modified. It is basically an improvement of Wang’s work. Mhpzheng will the abbreviation used throughout this site.

06. <<吴着梅花谱>> Wu's Plum Flower Manual
The Plum Flower Manual authored by Wu is believed to be an independent piece of work, different from Wang’s version. Wu also discussed the screen horse opening and had his own unique and brilliant variations. There are basically 5 sections to this manual, all concerned with the Screen horse opening. The “original” copy was a hand-copied version which was published by 徐葆康, a well known Xiangqi player of his era from 宁波county in 1929. Not much else is known about this masterpiece. Mhpwu will be the abbreviation used throughout the site.

07. <<善庆堂重订梅花谱>>  Shan Qing Tang's Plum Flower Manual
The Plum Flower Manual edited by 善庆堂 consists of 3 volumes. Volume 1 discussed 5 games with 60 variations all on the topic of the Central Cannon vs Screen Horse Opening. Volume 2 consisted of 6 boards with 76 variations, discussing how to play with a one move handicap. Volume 3 was a collection of games with 40 variations and no specific theme. Analysis of the contents by latter-day Xiangqi players conclude that his publication seemed to have come after Wu’s version. Nothing is known about the authors either, but sources quoted in reference 1 below, say that this manual was widespread in the Jiangxi Province in the 1970’s. Mhpsqt will be the abbreviation used throughout the site.

08. <<反梅花谱>> Anti-Plum Flower Manual
The Anti-Plum Flower Manual was authored by 巴吉人 Ba Jiren who was a well-known master of Xiangqi of his era which was around the end of the Qing dynasty. Whilst the other Plum Flower Manuals were singing praises of the Screen Horse opening, Ba did exactly the opposite. He suggested that the central cannon was still superior and that the screen horse opening by Wang was inadequate to deal with the central cannon. Another of Ba’s contributions was his use of the turtle back cannon with ranked chariot variation. Although this is still considered an unorthodox opening, it has its merits and practical uses. Ba seemed to be a renegade of his era and peaked in his skills at middle age. Not much else is know. This ancient manual will be given the abbreviation of 'amhp' throughout this site

01. <<梅花谱>> The Plum Flower Manual original version by Wang 
(now also available with additional commentary in print and also ebook)

 Volume 1: Black uses the Screen Horse Defence to trounce Red's Central cannon. 
  Page 01:  Game 1: Central cannon with riverbank chariot attacking left red flank vs Screen Horse Defence.  
                 Game 2: Central cannon with riverbank chariot attacking lt black elephant early vs Screen Horse Defence
  Page 02:  Game 3: Central cannon with riverbank chariot sacrificing cannon vs Screen Horse Defence
  Page 03:  Game 4: Central cannon with riverbank chariot vs Screen Horse Defence. 
  Page 04:  Game 5: Central cannon with riverbank chariot and side horse variation vs Screen Horse Defence with ranked chariot variation    
  Page 05:  Game 6: Central cannon with pawn ranked chariot take black 3rd pawn vs Screen Horse defense with throat ranked cannon  
                 Game 7: Central cannon with pawn ranked chariot with side horse variation vs Screen Horse defense with early riverbank horse var
                 Game 8: Central cannon with pawn ranked chariot and ranked chariot side horse vs Screen Horse defense with double headed snake variation.
  Page 06: Super summary of games 1-8 of volume 1.

Volume 2: Black uses the central cannon to wallop Red's cross palace cannon opening's
  Page 07: Game 1: Cross palace cannon with riverbank chariot taking black 3rd pawn C6=7 variations vs Left Central cannon with 
                             5th pawn advancement       
                Game 2: Cross palace cannon with riverbank chariot taking black 3rd pawn C8=7 variation vs Left Central cannon with
                             5th pawn advancement  
                Game 3: Cross palace cannon with riverbank chariot taking black 3rd pawn C6=5 variation vs Left Central cannon with 
                             5th pawn advancement     
  Page 08: Game 4: Cross palace cannon with riverbank chariot taking black 3rd pawn C8+4 variation vs Left Central cannon with 
                             5th pawn advancement.     
                Game 5 Cross palace cannon with pawn ranked chariot vs Left central cannon     
  Page 09: Summary of games 1-5 in volume 2

Volume 3: Red uses the elephant opening with cross palace horse variation, and gets whooped by Black's central cannon.
  Page 10: Game 1: Elephant opening with cross palace horse variation vs Left Central cannon 
                Game 2: Elephant opening with cross palace horse variation vs Left Central cannon
  Page 11:  Game 3: Elephant opening with cross palace horse variation vs Left Central cannon 
                Summary of games 1-3 in volume 3

Volume 4: Red uses the filed chariot to win black's ranked chariot in the Same direction cannons opening.
  Page 12: Game 1: Same direction cannons: Filed chariot win Ranked chariot. Black attempts early capture of red's left horse. 
                Game 2: SD cannons: FR wins RR. Red uses left riverbank cannon to win black's early attempt to take riverbank pawn.
  Page 13: Game 3: SD cannons: FR wins RR. Red uses left riverbank cannon to win black's early attempt not to take riverbank pawn.
                Game 4: SD cannons: FR wins RR. Red uses left riverbank cannon to win black's early attempt to block riverbank cannon.
  Page 14: Game 5: SD cannons: FR wins RR, Red use left riverbank cannon to win black's early attempt to block riverbank cannon part 2.
                Games 1-5 summary all on one board.

Volume 5: Red uses the ranked chariot to win Black's filed chariot in the Same direction cannons opening.
  Page 15: Game 1: SD cannons: RR win FR. Black moves A4+5 early. (similar to Vol 1 game 7 of The Secret in the Tangerine)
                Game 2: SD cannons: RR win FR. Black uses the riverbank chariot for pawn exchange variation.
  Page 16: Game 3: SD cannons: RR win FR. Black uses the riverbank chariot and then A4+5 variation
                Game 4: SD cannons: RR win FR. Black uses A6+5.
  Page 17: Game 5. SD cannons: RR win FR. Black tries to get right chariot out first.  
                Game 1-5 summary all on one board.

Volume 6:  Opposite direction cannons is the opening discussed in this volume.  
  Page 18: Game 1: Opposite direction cannons: Both sides use the filed chariot and fight it out at the river bank.
                Game 2: Opposite direction cannons: Both FR and black push horse to the riverbank to try to catch red chariot
  Page 19: Game 3: Opposite direction cannons: Both FR and black pushes horse to the riverbank to try to catch red chariot
                Game 4: Opposite direction cannons: Both FR with riverbank chariot. Black offers early chariot exchange. 
  Page 20: Game 5: Opposite direction cannons: Red uses the river bank chariot while black uses the pawn ranked chariot.
                Summary of Games 1-5 in of volume 6
  Page 21: Super summary of all the games of the Plum Flower Manual by
                Wang, Volumes 1-5 on one page
!

02. <<无双品梅花谱>> Unparalleled Plum Flower Manual 

03. <<崇本堂 梅花谱>>  Chong Ben Tang Plum Flower Manual 01 02  

04. <<梅花泉>> Plum Flower Springs Manual

05. <<郑氏梅花谱>> Zheng's Plum Flower Manual  
 
     
06. <<吴著梅花谱>>  Wu's Plum Flower Manual              

07. <<善庆堂重订梅花谱>> or the Plum Flower Manual edited by 善庆堂

08. <<反梅花谱>>   Ba Jiren's Anti-Plum Flower Manual

First created: 25th August 2011
Last updated: 27th April 2019
Acknowledgments:
Mr. Jack Lee from Singapore who requested for this!
References:
1. In Chinese, <<中国象棋谱大全>> by 程明松, 杨明中 and 屠景明
2. In Chinese, <<象棋辞典>> by 屠景明 杨柏伟 
3. In Chinese, <<橘梅新篇>> by 屠景明 居荣鑫
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