Chapter 3: Capturing Material  捉

Capturing material can be generally defined as the process of :

  • threatening an enemy piece
  • attacking that same enemy piece piece
  • forcing enemy material to become trapped or forcing the opponent to concede
  • capturing the piece and removing it from the board.

This tactic is one of the most commonly used ways of weakening the opponent in Xiangqi. Most captures are easy and direct but there are still various principles to adhere for using this tactic in special situations.

In this chapter, the capture tactic is discussed under the following settings:

  1. Going into dangerous territory to capture material    
  2. Forcing and capturing trapped material  
  3. Capturing material by levaraging the situation 借势  

In the first two situations, going into dangerous territory is a common theme sof further clarification is required.
We all know that under most circumstances, it would not be advisable to send your troops into perilous territory. The strategy books dictate that.
At the beginning of the game, the XiangQi board is basically divided into two factions for both players. So, the enemys side of the board can be considered to be dangerous territory as a general. Each chess piece would also have its own sphere of influence, controlling various files/ranks/points on the board. These spheres of influence can combine together to become dangerous territory for the enemy and one would normally avoid moving material there.
As the battle goes on, however, there will be direct confrontations to fight for territory. If one were overly cautious or conservative and dared not tread into dangerous territory, the fight would be over soon. That is why, in actual play, one must always adjust to the situation on hand, analyse it well and adopt the correct approach.


Going into dangerous territory to capture material

Seemingly dangerous territories can sometimes be actually safe if you know where to tread. Being able to recognize these safe zones would often lead to material gains.






Forcing and capturing trapped material  

The next topic would discuss the situation whereby there is indeed danger when entering enemy territory. When the offending piece advances recklessly, the King would be attacked mercilessly. There are two different scenarios and a few examples will be given.






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Capturing material by leveraging the situation 

Capturing enemy material by making using use of the circumstances.
A threat to checkmate, or a direct check etc would be applied as friendly pieces would target and enemy piece.
Perhaps the most commonly used method is the tactic of threatening to checkmate while capturing enemy matertial.




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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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