Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Opening Tabia and their Principles: Elephant vs. Left Central Cannon

Yan Wenqing and Zhang Qing Trilogy of Books on Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Opening

The Elephant Opening has been around since the ancient times and there were boards discussing it in Volume Three of Wang's Plum Flower Manual. Unfortunately, it was considered to be inferior to the Central Cannon. The Elephant Opening received a reprieve in the 1960s when legendary Grandmaster Hu Ronghua used it as a weapon to become the Xiangqi Champion in China many times. Since then, it has become an orthodox opening.

More recently, Grandmaster Wang Tianyi, currently the top player in China and the world, has also breathed new life into this opening as he used it to achieve the top rating in Xiangqi today.

There are many counters to the Elephant Opening which include the following:

  • Left Central Cannon,
  • Cross Palace Cannon,
  • Palcorner Cannon,
  • Pawn Opening,
  • Horse Opening, et cetera.

Amongst the Black counter, perhaps the most popular is the Left Central Cannon. In their book on Xiangqi Opening Tabiat, Master Yan Wenqing and Grandmaster Zhang Qiang used four boards to discuss this opening system. Usually Red would adopt either the Screen Horse Defense formation or the Sandwiched Horse formation. 

In this page, Red would adopt the Screen Horse Formation, perhaps the most preferred variation for Red.

The Webmaster would like to thank Master Yan Wenqing and Grandmaster Zhang Qiang for allowing the author to translate their work into English and share with the English speaking World.

The Webmaster has also made short videos which are available on Youtube:

The authors published an updated version of their books (in Chinese) which is available for sale on Amazon.
Opening Tabia and their Principles (2017 edition): https://amzn.to/3tfnFE2
Dubious Positions and How to Attack Them (2017 edition): https://amzn.to/3ZBq1cg
Deception and Countermeasures in the Xiangqi Opening (2017 edition): https://amzn.to/45cqTFA

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