Book: Lexicon of Xiangqi Terms in English 1st Edition

The Lexicon of Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Terms is the first-ever English Lexicon on Xiangqi. There are well over 1600 entries and over 490 figures in the book, which span all disciplines in Xiangqi. Chinese terms have been added with Hanyu Pinyin wherever appropriate so that the entries would be precise and leave no room for doubt in the process of transliteration. 


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The Lexicon was born out of necessity. The author, Jim Png Hau Cheng, has written extensively about Xiangqi, in English, for over six years on his website,, which has over 2300+ web pages at last count. During the process of writing, and trying to explain Xiangqi in English, he was faced with the mammoth task of trying to come up with suitable English phrases for Xiangqi. While there are thousands of terms in Chinese with regards to Xiangqi, a useful list of Xiangqi terms in English was virtually non-existent. Without such a list of terms, it was nearly impossible to communicate the intricacies of Xiangqi understandably. For each term, he had to do research, compare, categorize, distill, and even invent various terms. It has been a tedious process that saw the author working through many sleepless nights, acquiring astigmatism, and a head full of white hair. Fortunately, a list of terms was slowly born over time. Technical terms which include basic terminology, the language used in openings, midgames, endgames, endgame compositions have been explained in simple, understandable prose. Many figures have been included to explain various essential positions and concepts. Terms regarding the culture and history of Xiangqi can also be found with short and crisp explanations.

Jim has also translated various important Chinese passages to the best of his abilities. For example, the Theory of Xiangqi presented in both the Secret in the Tangerine and the Elegant Pastime Manual has been translated to strengthen the fundamentals of the beginner. There are also over three hundred biographies of the Xiangqi greats. Introductions to important ancient manuals and contemporary Xiangqi masterpieces, their history, and their authors have not been left out. There are also five appendices in the Lexicon. The first appendix is perhaps the most important part of the book. Jim has provided the English terms for various Chinese terms in the hope that it would bridge the language barrier. Chinese writers hoping to write Xiangqi in English will find the list useful. The second appendix is a collection of nearly a hundred Xiangqi sayings that are frequently encountered. Each saying is a gem of wisdom from which the author has translated and explained to the best of his abilities. The third appendix was a thesis that was presented in a chess conference in Hangzhou in 2016. The authors of the thesis have kindly granted permission for publication. It is a timeline of the history of Xiangqi from ancient times. The fourth appendix is a list of the various grandmasters and masters (both men and women) of the different federations. While the information can be found on the internet, it has not been collected and categorized in the same manner as Jim has done. The last appendix is a list of tables that show the results of the major tournaments in Xiangqi. The work seen in the book is a six-year culmination of the author’s efforts to promote the game he loves so dearly. It would be impossible to include all there is to know about a subject as deep as Xiangqi into one book. While such a Lexicon cannot be exhaustive, it would serve as a useful reference for people interested in Xiangqi, but are not familiar with the Chinese language.


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