Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A pursuit in regret

A pursuit in regret - Yan Wenqing the chief coach of Hebei Xiangqi team

As a member of the three times national team champions, Yan Wenqing who is known far and wide as master of opening theory, has done his own best for the team. Now as a chief coach player, he is once again shouldering the high responsibility of rebuilding the Hebei Xiangqi team. His great dream is when can he take his team to the national champion's throne again.

Misery and joy of the chess world

Yan Wenqing was born in Tangshan city, of Hebei province, in year 1967, influenced by his family and neighbours, he loved the game since his childhood, he was clever and quick in learning, at the age of 5 or 6 he already knew how to play, when a little bit older, at about 10, he was able to play with grown up persons. Talking about his childhood, Yan Wenqing would happily give a laugh, he said from primary school to his middle school days, he was very much attracted by Xiangqi, whether he was having a meal, walking along a street or in the class, he was always thinking of the game.

One day on his way to school, he watched people playing the game by the roadside, the school satchel over his back, the school bell had rung for a long long time, he was so absorbed that he forgot about his class, until the teacher together with the whole class found him out. Yan recalled vividly, the teacher clutching my ear, I was asked whether I was playing chess or attending school. I knew that it was wrong for me to run away from classes, I also knew that the teacher was caring for me, however deep down in my heart I couldn't shake away Xiangqi. Strange to say it, though I ditched my class a lot, every time when there was final examination, I opened my books just before the test, my result would be in the top list.

Later, introduced by a local player Cao Xiaobao, Yan Wenqing was placed under the guidance of Chen Chunjiang, a famous coach of Tangshan, and also of Cheng Fuyin of Kailuan city, and made tremendous progress. In 1982, the 15 year old Yan Wenqing competed for the first time in the youth division of the provincial Xiangqi tournament and won second place.

In 1983 he was accepted into the provincial Xiangqi team, and under able and tight guidance of the two nationally renown Masters Liu Dianzhong and Li Laiqun, Yan made great progress in his game technique, his psychology preparedness and many other aspects of the game. In 1985, the 18 year old Yan Wenqing successfully teamed up with Liu Dianzhong and Li Laiqun and won title of the national team championships. Thereafter he competed in several important tournaments, at home and abroad, and in 1999 he teamed up with Xu Yinchuan to represent China in the 6th World Xiangqi Championships, and won top honour.

High responsibility

In recent years, following the withdrawal of the "leading command" of Li Laiqun from competition, and coupled with the advancing age and increasing works of Liu Dianzhong, the Hebei Xiangqi team is facing a difficult time, the main problem is how to build a team that can keep the momentum of the glorious pass going. Yan Wenqing courageously takes the responsibility of the rebuilding process.

Talking about his role change, Yan frankly admitted that his responsibility is heavier nowadays, previously when his role was only a player, he needed concerned himself on playing to the best of his ability, now he needs to help other players in their analysis, that forced him to exert a higher effort. At the same time, raising the playing standard of our team members, the training of our reserves all are matters which need time and attention.

For many years, Hebei Xiangqi team is one of the leaders in China, with quite good results achievement. Yan Wenqing has let us know that for him, the greatest pressure is when he is able to lead the team to the peak again in national competitions. He said: "Previously our results in competition were too good, now though our team is still strong, the top performance period has gone, and in the pass two years the team is making big change over, it is paramount to have new players into the team, if selection is wrongly done, this not only hindered a player's development badly, it will also hindered the development of the whole team. At the moment, we are having an eye on the provincial players, when good players appear, we will try to get them into the team. At the same time, Hebei needs a leading command of the Li Laiqun calibre, however among the players right now (that also including myself) we still have not discovered this person, this is a matter you can by chance come across, but impossible to obtain on demand."

No regret we are still young

As a famous Xiangqi Master in China, Yan Wenqing's tournament performances in recent years were not ideal. He said: "My style of playing is different from others, I always pursue sort of creation of novelty moves, always wanted to show all the attractiveness of the game in every facets, in this way, my game in a way suffered as I was not able to steadily develop what I wanted to. However getting into the top 6 does not present a problem. For example in 1993 and 1996, I can manage easily into the top 6 position, When I saw I have a chance to lay a claim to the top honour, I would put on all my effort, if there was no chance for the top spot, I would not care what will be my ranking."

Yan does not believe his game level is going down. Compared to the Grandmasters, technically I do not see there is any difference, Grandmasters and Xiangqi Masters are only titles, not representing true level of the players. In the mind of Yan Wenqing, only Hu Ronghua, Li Laiqun, Zhao Guorong, Lu Qin and Xu Yinchuan who have several times won the national individual championships, are the truely super top class players.

Having competed in tournaments for more than 20 years, what Yan Wenqing regretted most is that he had not won the individual championships title. In 1998 he played Xu Yinchuan in the very last round, had he drew that game, he would be the national champion, however, even at that crucial moment, he did not abandon his pursuit of pure beauty, he tried to produce exciting colourful play, in the end he lost the match with Xu Yinchuan, thereby throwing away his championship crown.

On this matter, Yan Wenqing is of the view that, if you did not have the opportunity of winning the title, you do not have a regret for it. However, at that time the opportunity was in front of you, and you have not treasured it, you have not cherished it, this is the greatest regret. Around these years were also my peak performance years. Though nowadays I do not possess the great urge like before to win the individual championship title, not to mention the difficulty of winning the title is harder with each passing year, as long as I remain in the front line competing, I will continue to make effort to try winning the championships.

A happy life

In ordinary life Yan Wenqing prefers to live quietly, when he has the leisure, sometimes he likes to listen to music, for the choice of music, he is more appreciative of renown music from many part of the world, and from time to time he will enjoy popular music. He used to play basket-ball when he was young, in recently years he only plays occasionally.

Yan Wenqing has indicated that he would like to write some Xiangqi books in his spare time. Five or six years ago together with Zhang Qiang of Beijing, we have published 3 books, when the series of books first appeared in the market, it created an instant impact, with great influence. In recent time, there are many chess enthusiats who asked me to write again. However, I would not like to be just writing books for the sake of writing books, as some Xiangqi Masters do. If I cannot write it well, I would not go for publication, I prefer to wait for a longer time.

Yan Wenqing does not want to talk about his family life too much, however, he has already formed a happy family with Ms Hu Ming, our Hebei's renown Grandmaster. The couple are good companions in life, supporting each other in their chosen careers, one is a chief coach, the other is deputy head of Hebei ' s Chess Academy (Qiyuan), they are forging ahead hand in hand for the revival of Hebei 's Xiangqi.

Good luck Wenqing

I (the reporter) met and made friend with Yan Wenqing for about a year now, Yan sporting a smart moustache, he is enthusiastic and good in conversation. In the space of one hour interview, I very much felt that Yan Wenqing has a great love for the future of Hebei ' s Xiangqi, and the high sense of responsibility as its chief coach.

Yan Wenching's motto is "The temporary victory is through force, the eternal victory is through justice". Because he himself likes to pursue purity and perfection in his game, he has already paid a very heavy price. Looking at this matter, Yan Wenqing has his own reflection and feeling: the happiness which victory can bring to him cannot be compared to the joy of the creation of a new move, whether it is a game won or a game lost, it will always feel good, always feel true. This is the Xiangqi truth which he pursued. Now, as a chief coach, in the competitions of the Xiangqi League, he is forced to assess the importance of winning and losing. But Yan Wenqing indicated that in invididual tournaments, he much prefers to play a beautiful and content-rich game, and to dedicate the game to the many lovers of Xiangqi.

Source: Shijiazhuang Daily
Author: Liu Zhe
~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

[转贴] 遗憾中的追求 . . .

不时转贴, 也把搜到的象棋故事或文学收到我的博客中,是一件乐事, 希望为它翻译一下.

[转贴]遗憾中的追求 - 记河北象棋队主教练阎文清

  作为一名队员, 有布局大师之称的阎文清为河北象棋队三夺全国团体冠军立下过汗马功劳, 而今作为象棋队的主教练兼队员, 他再次承担起了河北象棋队振兴的重担. 现在, 他心中最大的梦想, 就是何时能把河北象棋再次带到全国冠军的宝座.


   1967年阎文清出生在河北省唐山市, 受家人及四邻的影响, 阎文清自小就酷爱象棋, 加上天资聪慧, 五六岁就会下棋, 十几岁就能与大人过招. 谈起童年的记忆, 阎文清笑了,他说, 我上小学和中学时, 对象棋简直到了痴迷的程度, 无论是吃饭、走路还是上课, 满脑子想的都是下棋. 有一次上课的铃声响了, 我还背着书包在大街上看人下棋, 老师带着全班同学找到我, 揪着我的耳朵问, 阎文清你是下棋还是上学. 我知道自己旷课不对, 也知道老师是为我好, 可我心里就是放不下象棋. 说来也怪, 虽然我旷课不少, 可是每次考试前, 我只要把书本翻一翻, 考试成绩总是名列前茅.

  后来, 在当地棋手曹小宝的引见下, 阎文清在唐山著名教练陈春江和开滦棋手程福银的指导下棋艺水平迅速攀升. 1982年, 15岁的阎文清首次参加省象棋赛便夺得少年组亚军. 1983年进入省象棋队后, 在刘殿中、李来群这两位国内著名象棋大师的悉心指导下, 阎文清在技艺、心理素质等多方面都有了长足进步. 1985年, 18岁的阎文清就和刘殿中、李来群一起夺得了全国团体赛冠军. 此后, 他多次征战国内国外重大赛事, 并在1999年和许银川一起代表中国参加第六届世界象棋锦标赛, 获得团体冠军.


   近几年, 随着队内的 "领军人物" 李来群淡出棋坛, 刘殿中年事已高, 加上政务缠身, 河北象棋队也到了青黄不接的时候, 作为队内的中坚力量, 阎文清义无返顾地接过刘殿中的帅印, 出任河北象棋队主教练, 担当起了振兴河北象棋的重任. 谈到角色的转变, 阎文清坦言, 现在比以前责任更重了, 从前作为棋手, 只要下好自己的棋就行, 而现在队员的棋我也要帮他们摆一摆, 这对我的要求更高了. 同时, 队员的水平提高, 队伍后备人才的培养都要费心.

  多年来, 河北象棋队一直在国内名列前茅, 成绩也非常的好. 阎文清表示, 作为主教练何时把河北队再次带到巅峰, 是他压力最大的地方. 他说: "以前我们的成绩太好了, 现在虽然还是强队, 但巅峰时期已过. 这两年河北队正处在一个大换血的阶段, 棋手的引进至关重要, 如果选才不当, 不仅耽误棋手个人的发展, 也会延误棋队的整体建设. 目前, 我们对全省各地棋手的表现都很留意, 以后有好的棋手我们也会引进. 同时, 河北队现在也需要一位李来群式的领军人物, 但从目前的棋手中, (这其中也包括我自己)还没有发现这样的人才, 这事可遇不可求."


   作为国内著名的象棋大师, 阎文清近些年的个人赛成绩并不理想. 他说: "我下棋方式跟别人不同, 总去追求一种创新的东西, 总想把象棋那种魅力完全展现出来, 这样做使我下棋时发挥得不够稳定. 其实我进前六的机会还是蛮多的, 比如1993年和1996年, 我都可以轻松地挺进前六名. 但是只有在我有机会问鼎时, 我才向上冲一冲, 如果没有希望, 我不在乎第几名." 阎文清也不认为自己的水平退步了, 和特级大师相比, 我在技术上与他们不存在差距, 特级大师、大师只是一个称号, 并不代表真正的水平. 在阎文清心中, 只有胡荣华、李来群、赵国荣、吕钦和许银川等多次获得全国个人赛冠军的特级大师, 才是真正的超一流棋手.

  在棋坛打拼了二十多年, 阎文清最大的遗憾就是没有获得全国个人冠军. 1998年阎文清在最后一轮下和许银川的情况下就可以获得全国冠军, 但是他依旧不肯放弃自己的追求, 力争下出精彩的对局, 最终输掉了比赛, 丢掉了到手的冠军. 对此, 阎文清表示, 如果你没有机会, 也就不会有什么遗憾. 但当机会在眼前时, 而你没有珍惜, 才是最大的遗憾. 那几年也是我的顶峰时期, 虽然现在对夺得个人冠军的愿望不如前些年那么强烈了, 而且难度比以前也更大了, 但只要还在一线下棋, 我就要努力去争取冠军.


  在生活当中阎文清是一个喜欢安静的人, 闲暇时会听一听音乐, 而对于音乐的选择, 他更欣赏悠扬的世界名曲, 偶尔也有选择地听一些流行歌曲. 另外, 年轻时打篮球是阎文清的另一个爱好, 但近几年已经很少打了.

   阎文清表示, 自己今后会利用业余时间写一些象棋方面的书, 在五六年前我与北京的象棋大师张强合作出了三本书, 这套书一出版,就在棋界和棋迷中影响很大. 近期, 有不少棋迷要求我再写书, 但我不会像某些大师们那样, 纯粹为了出书而出书, 如果我写不好, 我就不会出, 我宁可时间长一些.

  虽然阎文清对自己的家庭一直不愿多谈, 但他早和我省著名的特级象棋大师胡明组成了一个幸福的家庭, 两人不仅是生活中的好伴侣, 在事业上更是相互扶持, 一个是主教练, 一个是棋院的副院长, 他们正携手为河北象棋的再次崛起而奋斗着.


  从相识到朋友, 我们认识已经一年有余, 留着帅气小胡子的阎文清非常地热情和健谈. 在短短一个小时的采访中, 记者强烈地感到了阎文清对河北象棋难以割舍的情和作为主教练的那份责任.

   阎文清的座右铭是 "一时胜负在于力, 千秋胜负在于理". 他由于自己在下棋中过于追求完美, 而付出过惨重的代价. 对此, 阎文清却自有感慨: 胜利带给他的快乐远不及创造新招后的欣喜, 无论输赢, 都是一样痛快淋漓, 这就是他追求的象棋真谛. 但是, 现在作为主教练, 在联赛中他不得不看重胜负. 而阎文清表示, 在个人赛上他更喜欢下一些漂亮和有内涵的棋, 奉献给广大的棋迷朋友.

  就在结束采访的时候, 记者忽然在脑海里萌发了一个念头: 阎文清能夺走今年个人赛的桂冠? 虽然阎文清近几年的战绩不太理想, 但他高超的布局技术和稳定的竞技状态让任何一位高手都感到头痛. 路漫漫其修远兮, 阎文清, 祝你好运 !

来源: 石家庄日报
作者: 刘哲

Monday, January 30, 2006

An Elephant found under a chair

A Xiang (Elephant) found under a chair

This morning I was writing a few lines about the story of the 'missing piece', at the same time surfing other websites, which brought me to some 'blogs' hosted by a 'portal', clicked for 'comments' as the figure 72 was mentioned, just at that time my computer's screen blacked out !

This is the real thing of the 'missing piece', I lost what I wrote, it was quite annoying ! The nice thing was my friend had a kind message for me, "dear youhao, thank you for organising the chess to-day. It turned to be quite a success which everyone seemed to enjoy. It was good to meet old friends - and make some new ones. I have the missing piece (red žn) found under a chair."

A chess piece of Xiang (Elephant) found under a chair ! All right, things can be recovered, life admittedly is full of surprise in a way. Though my lost original writing will never be found again, I would also be a little bit wary to visite that site's blog further for some time. Maybe it was a software's trouble, but who knows?

Welcoming the Year of the Dog

Welcoming the Year of the Dog at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London, 29th January, 2006.

I think I speak for the thousands of people who attended the museum today to enjoy the celebration of the Chinese New Year. The programme was so comprehensive and varied that all tastes and interests were catered for.

The list of activities is too long to detail but it covers events under more than 25 headings.

So there was something to fascinate everyone who attended - young and old, London residents as well as tourists.

There seemed to be nothing but praise for the organisers and enjoyment of the visitors lucky enough to attend. It was truly a fun day and one appropriate for welcoming in the

New Year.


Sunday, January 29, 2006



英国首相托尼·布莱尔从唐宁街10号发表中国新年的祝贺, 他说他高兴给中国社区他的最好的愿望, 每个人在即将来临的狗年幸福快乐.

布莱尔首相说, 中国新年庆祝现已伸展到中国社区之外, 和不同背景的人一起分享.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square in central London on Sunday

Celebrating Chinese New Year Sunday 29 January 2006

The Grand Parade from Charing Cross Road to Trafalgar Square, arriving at Trafalgar Square around 11.45am. In the afternoon there were Dragons and Lions Dance, Shaanxi and Beijing Dance Troupes, Shenzhen Arts Troupe, Martial Arts, Children's Folk Dance, Acrobats from Hunan, 1st Fireworks in Leicester Square 14.00pm, 2nd Fireworks 15.00pm, events finished around 17.30pm.

Meanwhile in Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, celebrations continues from 11.00am until 17.00 with song, dance, music, painting, tea ceremony and the Xiangqi. Beginners of the game were quickly given initiation with the following concise instructions written specially by XIANGQI EN BLOG for the occasion :

Soldiers march forward
Gun fires over mountain
The Horse gallops in L shape
The Elephant runs 4 corners
The Car is driven straight on
The Guard in good company
Making one diagonal step
The General commands
Execution according to plan

Prime Minister Tony Blair from 10 Downing Street has in a Chinese New Year Message said that he is delighted to send his best wishes to the Chinese community for the New Year and to wish everyone happiness in the forthcoming year of the Dog.

The Prime Minister said that "these celebrations, of course, now reach out well beyond the Chinese community and are shared and enjoyed by people from all backgrounds."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

究竟在哪里能玩一盘中国象棋 ?

究竟在哪里你能够试玩一盘中国象棋, 同时也庆祝狗年的到来?

来自我的博客的一个暗示: 就在2006年1月29日(星期日), 地点: 维多利亚和阿尔伯特博物馆,克伦威尔路, 伦敦SW7 2RL, 从上午11点到下午5点, Raphael Court.

同时其他有吸引力的节目包括茶座,拉面条,水果和蔬菜雕刻,中国珠算等等. 在授课剧院(Lecture Theatre),会有舞狮,功夫,中国歌剧,民间舞蹈,杂技, 甚至一次神秘的魔术!

Where to try out Chinese Chess ?

Where on earth can one be trying out Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) and celebrating The Year of the Dog at the same time?

A hint from this blog: it is on Sunday 29th January 2006, that is tomorrow !

Join the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL, from around 11.00am to 17.00pm at Raphael Court. Meet the strong and enthusiastic Xiangqi players and play/or learn to play some friendly games.

At the same time, again at Raphael Court, there will be other attractive programmes including tea tasting and ceremony, noodle pulling, fruit and vegetable carving, Chinese abacus demonstration.

While in the Lecture Theatre, there will be performances of Lion Dance, Shaolin Kung Fu, Chinese opera, folk dance, acrobats and even a magic show !

Xiangqi Master Zhu Jianqiu

Xiangqi Master Zhu Jianqiu
Written in memory of deceased Xiangqi Master Mr Zhu Jianqiu

Chapter One

I wrote down the title, and felt a little shiver.

I can remember him clearly, the author of 'Ghost Hand Hundred Games', the Xiangqi Master Zhu Jianqiu, who was no more in this world.

He was sitting in his small sandwich room measuring 10 square metres, writing his chess book --- 'Ghost Hand Hundred Games', when I gave him a visit, I sat opposite him, besides the Baxian table, as usual, on the table there was set up a chess board with its pieces, and also there were manuscript.

That was the year when he was of 74 or 75 years old, and because he was quite thin, he looked older than his real age. His face still of a light pale colour, however, with deep wrinkles and fallen corners of the mouth, with veines of the neck eminently sticking out, he gave me the impression of a concrete column of an abandoned building site.

His eyes were thinly veiled by cataracts, envelopped in his redden and moisted eye sockets.

"Ghost hand, that is a special term in Xiangqi," he explained to me, "cunning, unpredictable, attacking when most unexpected, defending with great resources, once such a move is made, the whole situation of the game suddenly changed, as if the whole atmosphere is filled with ghostly air...".

"Very often this will create unsolvable end-game." I said.

"Ah ---" He sighed for a long moment, his misty eyes looking at me with pity, shaking his head, "come on, don't talk silly, ghost hand is ghost hand, end-game is end-game, a ghost hand is a chess move you played, while an end-game position is the result produced after a moved is completed, these two are things far apart and should not be mixed up ! I already said that you can never be a true chess player. You do not use your brain...."

When he shaked his head, his cheeks seemed to move with a some distress, the bared neck appeared more fragile and weak.

I hurried to pour hot water into his tea cup, in order to stop his talking.

"I just bought this Lion Peak Before Rain tea from Dragon Well's village of Hangzhou, this tea on the second round gives the best frangrance ! " I said.

Apart from chess, his only other life-long attraction was tea, excellent tea.

He sipped tea, nodded in appreciation, then he paid no more attention to me, setting up his chess pieces on the board.

He lived in a small sandwich room on the third floor of the building, the worst one.

An area of 12 to 13 flat square (平方), the left-hand neighbour was my home, the front was a cabin room, facing Shandong Road; the right-hand neighbour was a family living in right cabin room, below the window was a corridor alley, called Yongle Li, during the 'Cultural Revolution' it was renamed as 'Yongdou Li', now it is of course back to its original name. Once there lived the mother and son of family Wu, later a young couple moved in, the husband was known by his nickname 'Yellow Ox'. Mr Zhu lived in between the two cabin rooms, it was possible that previously this in between space was just a passage, later no doubt the landlord developped it to increase the rate of accommodation of the building, surrounding the space with a thin sheet of wood, almost completely sealed up, for this reason it was called 'sandwich room or sandwiched room', with only a window, a roof louvre window more exact, the people of Shanghai used to call this type of window a 'tiger window'.

I opened the tiger window for him, the window was then tighted to a thick cord, by pulling the cord down, the window can be opened, when the rope is tightened to a hook on the wall, the window is fixed. To close the window, simply pull the rope out, the window will bounce back and is automatically closed,

Opening the window was because the air in the room was suffocating. In the middle of the room was a coal cake stove, that was Mr Zhu most important living ustensil: for hot water, cooking, and warmth. The water on the stove was boiling, I poured the hot water into the thermos. He lifted his head from the chessboard and said, put the wok on the stove for me, as Yellow Ox had bought me two pieces of spare ribs, we can stew these, for lunch we can have soup noodle, in the evening he is coming to help me prepare a dish of sweet and sour spare ribs.

I saw in the basket there was cleanly washed vegetables, together with very fresh cut noodle, wrapped in newspaper. For stewing tasty spare ribs broth, I pressed a new coal cake on the stove, and immediately a sticky air of carbon monoxide was released over the room.

I was forced to opened the roof window.

"It's cold," he said, "do not open window." He has put on cotton-padded jacket, cotton-wadded trousers, and also cotton-wadded shoes. These were a little bit dirty which made them looked a bit antiquated. The heat from the stove was not enough to resist the cold air poured down from the roof window, then again, writing his 'Ghost Hand Hundred Games', he had to place the chessboard on the Baxian table, which was just underneath the window,

I remembered when I visited him, that was in the beginning of the Spring, in the year 1985, it was still cold.

He was just started writing the opening chapter of his 'Ghost Hand Hundred Games'.

Eight years later, the writing of 'Ghost Hand Hundred Games' was completed, the book had collected and commented on the several decades of plays of Xiangqi Master Zhu Jianqiu, plus other 'Ghost Hand' the Master himself used or seen in games by other people, altogether one hundred games of such extraordinary and attractive moves and combinations etc. where one rises in battles from the brink of defeat to victory, from almost complete lost to snatching a draw, or creating an unsolvable mysterious end-game, sort of a 'ghostly atmosphere', all in all the manuscript contained 300,000 words.

Less than one year later, in a deep cold winter of the year 1994, Zhu Jianqiu left the world.

The 'Cultureal Page' of 'Xinming Evening News' had published a news item at that time:

"Our country most senior Xiangqi Master Zhu Jianqiu has died of illness a few days ago, aged 82. Zhu Jianqiu was a member of Huang Pu Area Policy Liaison Committee, deputy captain of Shanghai City Sporting Committee Xiangqi team, coach of Shanghai Youth Palace Xiangqi class, he had written '100 End-games Analysis', 'Biographies of Yangzhou's Xiangqi Three Musketeers' and other titles.

But the 'Ghost Hand Hundred Games' was not mentioned, since it was not yet published.

Chapter Two

Mr. Zhu was the neighbour of my mother's family.

Mother's family was living in the place mentioned earlier as 'Yongle Li', it was situated in the heart of Huang Pu area, towards the north about 30 or 40 metres was the Nanjing Road, towards the south not too far away was the Yanan Road, and also the Yuyuan, towards the east about a bus stop away was the Waitan of Huangpu Jiang (Shanghai Bund?), in the west it was the People's Square, in the past that was called Paoma Ting (the Turf?).

It was a very convenient place to live, with facility for food, clothing, accommodation and transport, population was highly concentrated, a popular area as termed in modern saying. There were lots of people living in rows and rows and simple structured and low buildings, with narrow, shadowy entrances, basically it was the alley hall (弄堂), each of the numbered household accommoded several families, sometimes seven to eight, the least had four to five families. For example my family lived in No.214, the lower floor was a printing workshop, the above two floors had accommodations for five families, the third floor was for my family, Mr Zhu, also there was the family of Wu's, mother and son, later on it was 'Yellow Ox' husband and wife and their son. Including the stairways, a total of about 70 square meters, for 3 families, more than ten people --- at that time, it was thought to be spacious enough.

The houses of Yongle Li, the east side were Shi Ku Men structure, considered as 'Shanghai model housing', the west side facing Shandong Road, were of the type of 'double uses of houses' where the lower floor were shops, the upper floors for living.

Both sides of the alley were houses of three storey high. The 'model housing' Shi Ku Men had a small courtyard, though covered, stacked with various things, hanging with bady's napkins, linen, bed sheets, it still had some sunlight and some remaining space to move about, while on the side of the 'double use' houses, it was more of gloom and less space. Since the lower floor along the Shandong Road opened their shops for trading, the entrances to the upper floors had to be through the alley hall, like entering a cave, dark to say the least, if light was not switched on, a stranger would not be able to feel his way to the staircase, it was just the same effect as if the late comer entering the cinema hall of Da Guang Ming.

The alley hall was older than I can remembered. Since I was about ten years old, the two side of the series of houses were all the time on repair. When is was small scale repair, the door caves got hammered and hammered repeatedly one by one, there were people mixing cement all the time, cement waters flowed out all over the places, muddied our shoes and we carried the mud in our shoes to the stairways and into our homes, and got scolded by our parents. When it was a major repair, both sides of the alley hall were erected with scafolding, using big and strong bamboo, covering all remaining spaces and shutting light from top to bottom, and that was the best festival time for us the children.

We would happily played hide and seek, running in between the bamboo structure, being a 'thief', one decided not to allow to be easily caught by 'police'. Girls playing elastic rope jumping did not need to hold the elastic rope up their heads anymore, for between the bamboo everyone can jump to their heart's content. A more popular activity was picking up a rice grass rope, these ropes can be thicker than our pony tails, and when attached to a thick transversal bamboo, the curve which the rope made was well our delightful swings.

The year when I was 13 or 14 years old, one day I carried my small brother Ah Mao who was 10 years younger than me down to ground floor to play. I picked up a rope, tightened both side on a bamboo, and placed a joyful Ah Mao on the swing, told him to hold well on the string with both hands, then I started swinging the rope, he was happy, laughing, then suddenly he lost balance, I rushed up too late, he fall on the ground hitting his rear head on the floor.

The ground was stony, of granite stuff, a road made of this was called 'dange road'.

Ah Mao's head hit on the dange road, hurting himself and crying, his rear head immediately rose up a little mount, and due to the many detritus, leaves, ropes, earth etc. his was cushioned and there was no blood from his head.

I rubbed and rubbed his head, trying to flattned the mount of his head, all the same time I repeatedly told him, and promised him: at home do not tell mother what happened, I will bring you out to play again, I will bring you to the Bund to see big steam ships, I will buy sweet for you, soft sweet, milky sweet.

Can I tell my brother? Ah Mao asked, still crying.

No, not to tell him.

Can I tell uncle Zhu?

Uncle Zhu? Yes you can tell uncle Zhu.

Zhu Jianqiu did not seem to have too good a temper, however he was very patient towards children.

Little Ah Mao did not pronounce his words clear enough, he would pronounce 'baibai' (uncle) as 'baba' (father), Mr. Zhu was quite satisfied with this. When Ah Mao was able to walk properly, he liked to get into his sandwiched room, more so when it was lunch time. Whenever Zhu Jianqiu saw the little one, he would take the best piece from his bowl such as a piece of meat or an egg yellow and put it into his mouth, until one day Ah Mao got a fish bone stuck in, he was rushed to Hospital Renji which was at the south end of Shandong Road.

Zhu has two daughters, both staying with their mother in the Yangzhou village. He used to live in Yangzhou, though in the city, he was a teacher, teaching language and history, his wife and children were not with him, they were living in the village. When the Japanese came, he left Yangzhou, and went alone it to Shanghai for a living, since then he became one among the Shanghai people.

There were ten of thousand of 'single person' like him in Shanghai, these men have families of their own, only that the families were not with them. Every time when Mr Zhu went back to his village, he would see that his daughters have yet grown up more than before, and naturally they were more attached to their mother who was always with them together since they were small. Most of the his time were spent in our Yongle Li of Shandong Road, spending most of his time everyday with us, who delighted in running up and down of the narrow stairs with our wooden sandals on. He gave his love of children to us.

The Wu's family of mother and son who once lived in the rear cabin room, I realized afterward when I was grown up, that she was kept as a mistress by someone. The boss came from time to time, he liked to wear a copper bowl hat, avoiding showing his face, moving in or out furtively, our parents told us that he was trading in another area, he's called uncle Wu, therefore the father of the little son of family Wu. When the little one came to live in our place, he was just one month old, later he grew up and became more cute everyday, when he was 5 or 6 years old, he was so lovable that all the aunties, mothers and other women love to play with him, his pocket was always bulging with popcorns. Uncle Zhu was also very fond of him at one time, since he was able in such a tender age to play the game of Xiangqi with the master. Zhu recalled later that the small child used to think when playing, was a good chess seed, so even when Zhu was analysing by himself besides the Baxian table --- now I understand that was chess study --- we knew we were not allowed to disturb him during such a time, but the fair complexion and smart little brother Wu was allowed to get into his room and stand besides the table.

At that time Mr Zhu was living together with Auntie Hongdi. She was a dancer at 'The Great World', and met Mr Zhu who was working at the same place as a chess player, and surely they were in love too. Hence she came to our Shandong Road, Yongle Li, No. 214, the sandwich room of third floor. In my memory Auntie Hongdi was very beautiful, with a well shape face, of snow white complexion, high stature, slender waist, with rymthmic movement when walking, snake like. It seemed Auntie Hongdi stayed in the building for quite a long period.

When writing this article I specially phoned my mother who had move to the high rise buildings of Pudong New Area and checked the details with her, she told me firmly that it was for four years, from the year before liberation to three years after the liberation. Mother was very clear about life in the valley hall.

However Wu little brother soon lost favours in the valley hall. That was because he had done one thing which in the eyes of many of the aunties, mothers and other women seemed quite unpardonable: he had crawled down and looked underneath Mr Zhu's door, through the space of about one finger, and saw the 'snow snow white big bottom' of Auntie Hongdi.

Saw it and saw it, that was ok, but Wu little brother was so excited and did not want to let go at any cost, until Auntie Hongdi opened the door to throw out water. She was surprised to see the little boy lying on the floor as if a dog, she then asked in astonishment what was the matter, Wu little brother frankly expressed his feeling:

"Auntie Hongdi's bottom snow snow white, such big, very very beautiful to look at ! "

It was said that Mr Zhu did not take the incident too seriously.

"He is only a child, what does he understand? He only said it was beautiful to look at, let's forget it ! " he told Auntie Hongdi who was very angry at that time.

Though she got praised, Auntie Hongdi was quite agitated, she went and complained to Wu's mother, and again denounced little brother's bad hebaviour in front of the communal water tap of the ground floor's valley hall.

Perhaps she did not realized the consequence, but since then every one in Yongle Li when seeing Wu little brother would be unable to resist a smile, his pocketful of popcorns was no more.

Soon afterward, Wu's family of mother and son moved out of the place.

It was said that Auntie Hongdi later was much regretted.

"I should have listened to Mr Zhu." She often said, "He is always blaming me."

Chapter Three

Some ten years and more later, in the year 1966, Wu little brother came back for a visit.

Zhu Jianqiu was at that time fallen into the bad element of 'Ox, Ghost, Snake, Spirit', during daytime, he has to accept criticism of the Shanghai City Sporting Committee Xiangqi team where he worked, and in the evening he was ordered by a so-called "Gun Command" revolutionary organization 'not to say or move without permission', 'to come immediately whenever called', from time to time he had to put on an high hat made of paper, paraded in the surrounding valley halls, It was at that time that Yongle Li changed its name into Yongdou Li. I was waiting for my graduation allocation of a job at that time, and during one weekend I returned home, I saw in front of the cave door No.214 a freshly written Dazibao, I read it attentively, realized then that the one who was once a committe member of Huangpu Area Policies Liaison, the once respectful Mr Zhu, had been a member of ***, at that time, it was considered a sufficient criteria.

Later in the evening, mother lifted from the wok four little yellow fish, and told me to bring them to neighbouring Mr Zhou.

" He has a guest." Mother said, "Do you remember the little brother of Wu's family? He has gone to study at Harbin Military Academy, after graduation worked in Nanjing military area as an officer, recently he is sent to Shanghai and works in propaganda team, he comes specially to have a look at the old neighbour places."

"He comes at this moment...." I muttered, remembering the freshly written characters on the cave door.

"He did not mind," mother said, "he came this afternoon, he still in now, he told Mr Zhu about policies. He said Mr. Zhou at that time in 'The Great World' was a collectively registered as members of ***, it was a decision of the boss, should not be a big issue...thanks heaven, fortunately he comes and says something, otherwise, I think Mr Zhu will finish by being hang."
"How is Mr. Zhu now?"
"For many days have not seen him play chess, he just sat in his room like a piece of wood...fortunately the guest comes, and explains to him the policies," mother said, "the visitor is now working in military propangada team, specializing in activities, and knows about policies." At that time everybody knew that understanding policies means living.

The visitor was playing chess with Mr Zhu on the Baxian table.

"You have played three consequetive moves with mistakes," Mr Zhu said, "let me explain to you."

As in the past, as if he was a coach of Xiangqi class in the Youth Palace, when he often brought his little students to his sandwich room for individual coaching, Mr Zhu scrambled the chess pieces as if they were majonh pieces, then placing the chess pieces in their proper positions of the previous game, and move by move giving explanation to the big stout military officer.

He had such an unusual memory, that he was able to placed the chess pieces in their exact positions, whatever the move it was.

He did not notice what I have brought to him.

Once the talk is on chess, he would forget every other thing.

The military officer raised his head, and politely gave me a smile.

He may not even remember who I was.

He was still of fair and clear complexion as when he was a child, though now he's tall and high.

Chapter Four

Living in the valley hall for such a long time, it was inevitable that everyone knew everyone details, and hard to make much cover up.

For example, Ya Zhen's mother who lived in ground floor, before liberation, has worked as a 'glass', nowadays called 'accompany drink girl', we all knew about it, and later when she got womb cancer, they would say it was caused since that time; then there was someone called lotus flower, when still a child, she was sold to a brothel in Four Horse Road, and because she was such ugly that her only job were just carrying water, cleaning toilet and such thing, in the end when she was married with someone living in our valley hall, her husband was able to prove she was a virgin, as signified by her name lotus, growing out of muddy water and yet fresh and clean; there was the No.210, two families of brothers living in two floors, the wife of the eldest brother was beautiful, but her family was of humble working class, while the wife of the younger brother, though slightly handicapped, she brought with her a substantial wedding dowry, enough to reimbourse the debt acculumated for the past several years of the printing workshop, thus in a way saved the whole family life, hence she had an air of haughtiness, seldom said hello to her neighbours, seeing herself as a heroine in victory. Again there was Mr Zhu with Auntie Hongti who lived together for four years and yet Mrs Zhu who was living in the countryside never knew a word about, the couple were forced to separate after the People's Republic of China Marriage Law was promulgated. Hongdi married a cadre who lived near Kunshan, she later gave birth to three children in succeeding years. The valley hall space was too narrow, it was not possible to retain much privacy.

Nevertheless, there were some small secrets being kept, some other secrets were half hidden and half exposed, for example Mr Zhu would get his cotton padded clothes in the winter season, clean and comfortable, when winter season's over, Mr Zhu would take them out on the Labour's Day of 1st of May, and always there would be someone who will do the washing and resewing works, all these were done by Auntie Hongti, who was herself married to another person. This secret, old neighbour such as mother knew very clearly. However, when were the newly washed and re-sewed cotton padded clothes brought back, when were the old dirty clothes brought out, what was the secret way of contact, and where was the place of contact, these were things nobody knew really.

It was about the end of 1980's when I regularly gave visit to mother, that I unexpected met Auntie Hongdi.

She rose and went away when she saw me entered the room.

If mother had not told me that she was Hongdi, I would never be able to recognize her.

She was in fact not tall, mostly she was of medium height. Was it because of old age that she's shortened, or from the eyes of a child all grand persons looked tall, I could not be sure. She was not fat, it can be said she looked a bit dark and thin, the thing which stuck deeply in mind of 'the big snow snow white bottom' seemed to be faded flowers of yesterdays, or might it be an illusion? I believe it was the former. Time had passed in a glimpse 40 years already, almost a person's lifespan.

Mother pointed to a smal parcel on the table and said, Auntie Hongdi heard that Mr Zhu was writing his book, that's what they called 'ghost' book, sitting too long hours on his chair that he got haemorrhoid inflamation, she had brought some underpants which she had done herself.

There was no previous arrangement, it happened that today Mr Zhu was ill, neighbour Yellow Ox had accompanied him to hospital, so she was not able to meet him, she has to leave the parcel with us.

Mother continued and said in a smile, truely it is that one night of husband and wife relationship, it's a hundred days of tenderness and gratitude. She was accompanying her son and her daughter in law to Shanghai intending to buy some wedding furniture, sending things to Mr Zhu was done covertly. Mother then said, in their family no one knew about her previous life background. Several years ago, life was made more opened, her two daughters were learning social dance, when they were doing it the wrong way, she could not stand it anymore, she just let go and corrected them with some expert steps, the daughters were amazed, and said, you have this sort of level, unbelievable ! We had never suspected it...Auntie Hongdi, when telling me the story, could not control her laugh !

After Auntie Hongdi have married, there was no other woman ever came into Mr Zhu's sandwich room again.

Of course Mrs Zhu had visited, but she only came to Shanghai when she had something to do, such as her two daughters were getting married, she came to buy wedding things, and such as her daughter was ill and needed operation, he came to Shanghai, afterwards she would return back to her home.

Yongle Li No.214, the sandwich room on third floor was the Shanghai office of Mrs Zhu.

Mrs Zhu died of diabetes illness during the time of 'Cultural Revolution', the medical textbooks taught us that it is usually a rich people disease, those living in cities of developped countries, eating too rich a diet too much, with less exercising, it was easier to develop the illness. Whereas Mrs Zhu had spent her whole life in hardship, dutifully raised her children to adulthood, why was she contacted such ill, this was difficult to explain.

Since then, Mr Zhu had became a real bachelor.

In his life, only chess remained.

"Literature Vision"
Author: Wang Xiaoyu

Source: 宇宙论坛/棋坛文学
蕉下客 发布

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Thursday, January 26, 2006

[转帖] 象棋大师朱剑秋

主要的是, 把这个故事搜集在我的象棋博客中, 在故事消失在薄薄的空气中以前.

我希望把故事翻译为英文, 简单的也行.



我一写下这个题目, 就不禁打了一个寒颤.

我面前出现了他, 《鬼手百局》的作者, 有 "象棋大师" 称号的, 即拥有 "象棋大师 " 这个国家级专门职称的, 已故专业棋手, 朱剑秋.

他坐在他那间十平方米的夹板房中. 他正在写着他的那本棋谱 --- 《鬼手百局》. 我去看望他. 我们对坐在他的那张八仙桌两侧. 桌上一如既往地摆着一盘棋, 还有 文稿.

他那年大约七十四、五. 因为过瘦, 他显得比实际年龄要老. 他的脸面虽然白净, 但沟壑赫然, 横向的在额头, 纵向的在两颊, 嘴角被这些深深的皱纹牵拉得松松地垂了下来. 他的脖子饱绽着几根粗筋, 令我想起烂尾工地里耸立着的水泥立柱.

他的蒙着白翳的两颗眼珠, 被包裹在糜红潮湿的眼眶里.

"鬼手, 是我们象棋术上的一个专用名称," 他向我解释道, "诡异, 奇谲, 攻时出其不意, 守则难以预料, 一招出手, 便通盘弥漫鬼气....".

"常常因此而造成千年难解之残局." 我说.

"唉 --- " 他长长地叹了口气, 红红的眼眶里灰白的瞳仁悲哀地对住了我, 同时摇着头, "又来胡说. 鬼手是鬼手, 残局是残局, 鬼手是招数, 残局是结果, 两者根本就风马牛不相及 ! 我早就说你永不会成为真正的棋手. 你不动脑筋...."

他一摇头, 两颊就凄凉地微微晃动, 筋骨突现的脖子显得格外地细弱了.

我连忙给他的茶杯续上热水, 以此打断他的话头.

"这是我刚从杭州龙井村买来的雨前狮峰, 泡出第二道来, 才香呢 ! " 我说.

除了棋, 他只有另一宗嗜好, 那就是茶, 好茶.

他啜了一口茶, 点点头, 只是不再理我, 顾自摆开了棋局.


面积约有十二三平方. 左邻是我家, 前厢房, 面临山东路; 右邻是后厢房, 窗下是弄堂, 叫永乐里, "文革" 期间改称过 "永斗里", 现在自然又改回来了, 一度住过母子俩,姓吴, 后来则住进了小夫妻俩, 男的外号叫 "黄牛". 朱大师住的, 夹于两个厢房之间, 原先一定只是走道, 以后房东为了扩大得房率而开发, 用一层薄薄的木板围住, 几乎是全封闭式的, 所以称之为 "夹板房". 只有一个窗, 是天窗, 即上海人所谓的 "老虎窗".

我为他打开了老虎窗. 那窗用一根粗粗的麻绳拴住, 往下一拉, 开了, 系到夹板墙上的一个大钉子上, 就算是固定住了. 关窗更简单: 松开绳扣, 啪地一下窗就弹回去了, 全自动.

开窗是因为房内的空气实在太浑浊了. 一只煤饼炉在屋子中央. 那是朱老先生最重要的生活用品: 烧水, 煮饭, 取暖. 炉上的水开了, 我为他灌满了热水瓶. 他从棋盘上抬起头来说, 把旁边的锅坐上去吧, 黄牛今天给我买了两块大排骨, 炖一炖, 中午吃汤面, 晚上他来帮我烧糖醋大排. 我看见了地上的淘箩里果真有洗净了的鸡毛菜, 还有一把很新鲜的切面, 用报纸卷着的. 为了炖排骨汤, 我往炉上压下了一个新煤饼, 刺鼻的一氧化碳立即腾弥开来.


"冷," 他却说, "别开窗." 他穿着棉衣、棉裤, 还有棉鞋. 因为有点脏而显得很有点旧.煤饼炉透出的热挡不住天窗往下掷下的寒. 况且他要在窗下的八仙桌上摆棋, 要写他的《鬼手百局》.

我记得那次去探访他, 是一九八五年的初春, 春寒料峭.

他的《鬼手百局》, 刚开笔不久.

八年后, 《鬼手百局》完稿, 收录并点评分析了象棋大师朱剑秋鏖战棋坛数十年收集积累而得的、或是他自己使用过的、或是棋坛曾经出现过的、以 "鬼手" 之术或反败为胜、或逼平敌方、或造成不解残局的、奇谲瑰丽、耐人寻味、"鬼气冲天" 的棋谱凡一百局, 全书字数约三十万.

未及一年, 公元一九九四年隆冬, 朱剑秋谢世.

《新民晚报》 "文化版" 曾刊有一条消息云:

"我国最年长的象棋大师朱剑秋日前因病抢救无效而去世, 享年八十二岁. 朱剑秋生前曾为黄浦区政协委员、上海市体委象棋队副队长、上海少年宫象棋班指导教师, 著有《残局解析百篇》、《棋坛扬州 '三剑客' 传略》等书."

没有提及《鬼手百局》. 因为没有出版.



娘家所在的弄堂 --- 即我适才说过的 "永乐里", 地处黄浦区中心地段. 往北数十米为南京路, 往南不远即延安路, 还有豫园. 东边不到一站地就是黄浦江的外滩, 西部为人民广场, 过去叫跑马厅.

吃穿住行样样方便. 人口密集度极高, 如今的说法是人气很足. 很足的人气聚集于一幢幢一排排低矮简陋的小楼和一个个狭窄幽暗的门洞里, 基本的结构元素是弄堂. 每个门号里都窝着好几户人家, 多则七八家, 少的也有四五家. 比如我家所在的214号, 那时底层是个印刷车间, 上面两层, 就住了大大小小五户, 三楼便是我家, 朱先生, 还有先为吴家母子, 后为 "黄牛" 夫妇俩及其儿子. 连楼道, 统共七十平方米罢, 三户, 人口过十 --- 在那时, 还算是很宽敞的了.

永乐里两边的房屋,东侧是被视作 "上海典范民居" 的石库门建筑, 西侧却因为门面对着山东路, 属于那种底层经商、上两层住人家的 "商住两用房".

两排都是三层楼. "典范民居" 石库门有个小天井, 虽然搭了披间, 堆了杂物, 悬垂着尿布被单, 但多少还有点光亮和回旋余地, 而另一边的 "商住两用", 却就更加地阴暗和逼仄了. 底层商家在山东路上开了店, 而上层住家的门洞, 则一溜地开在了弄堂里. 进门便如进洞, 一片漆黑. 若不开了灯, 陌生人休想摸着了楼梯, 感觉倒是与迟到进入了大光明电影院的影厅无异.

弄堂是老而又老的了. 从我十来岁时这两排房就总是修, 总是修. 小修时一个门洞一个门洞地敲打, 弄堂口总有人在搅拌纸筋石灰, 黄白色的水一滩一滩地溢出来, 沾上我们的鞋, 带上我们的楼梯, 让我们回家后挨骂; 到大修时, 弄堂两边都搭起脚手架, 碗口粗的毛竹, 用青黄色的竹篾绑住, 遮天蔽日地令弄堂终日昏昏然, 可那时就是我们的节日了.

我们会欢天喜地地玩捉迷藏, 在毛竹间鱼一般地窜, 决心身为 "强盗" 而决不让 "官兵" 捉住. 女孩子跳橡皮筋可以不用轮着举起皮筋, 两根毛竹间每个人可以尽情地跃个痛快. 更多的活动是捡起一根稻草绳, 比我们的辫子还粗的, 两端系于一根横着的粗竹上, 弯弯地垂下的绳, 就成了我们最惬意的秋千了.

十三四岁那年, 我抱了小我整十岁的小弟阿毛下楼去玩. 我捡了绳, 做了秋千, 把满心欢喜的阿毛放上去, 教他两手抓住两边, 然后推动了他. 他晃悠着, 格格地笑, 然后突然一下松了手. 我扑上去没有抓住, 他仰面跌到了地上.

地面是石子, 花岗岩. 铺就的路叫 "弹格路".

阿毛的后脑勺摔在弹格路上. 他嚎哭起来, 脑后突起了一个包. 因为地上有很多的垃圾, 草绳篾片灰土之类的, 所以没出血.

我使劲地揉他脑后的包, 力图使它平复下去, 同时谆谆教导反复叮咛兼之作出种种允诺道: 回家不要告诉妈, 姐姐以后再抱你到弄堂里玩, 还带你去外滩看大轮船, 还买糖给你吃, 软糖, 奶油糖.

可以告诉哥哥吗? 阿毛抽噎着问.



朱伯伯? 朱伯伯是可以的.

朱剑秋未见得有太好的好脾气, 但是对孩子很耐心.

小弟阿毛幼时口齿不清, 叫 "伯伯" 与叫 "爸爸" 浑如一体, 朱先生对此十分满意. 阿毛会走路后总是钻进他的夹板房, 尤其是用餐时分. 朱剑秋每每见到他, 总从自己的饭碗里挖出最精华的那部分来, 诸如一片肥肉、一夹子蛋黄等等, 填进他的嘴里, 直到有一次阿毛终于喉咙里卡上了一根鱼刺送进山东路南头的仁济医院为止.

他有两个女儿, 但是都随着朱师母住在扬州乡下. 他年轻时也在扬州, 不过是在城里, 当教师, 教语文和历史, 乡下的妻子女儿不跟随他. 日本人来了他就从扬州走了, 一人闯上海, 从此成为上海人.

上海地方有成千上万像他这样的 "单身汉", 并不是没有家小, 只是家小都在老家而已. 朱先生每回一次乡下就见女儿们长高一截长大一圈, 从小只与亲娘相依为命的女儿们也就不跟他太亲. 他更多的时间在我们山东路的永乐里, 每天跟我们这批拖了木拖板从一人宽的楼梯上奔上奔下的孩子们相处. 他把他对孩子的喜爱给了我们.

曾经住过后厢房的吴家母子, 后来我长大了才知道是一个老板养着的外室. 那老板偶而来看看, 戴一顶铜盆帽, 永不让人看清脸面, 贼一样地进出, 我们被父母告诉道是在外地做生意的吴家伯伯, 即吴家小哥哥的爹爹. 吴家小哥哥刚搬来时才满月, 后来愈长愈可人, 到五六岁时, 秀秀气气地惹得一条弄堂的阿婆阿妈阿姨都爱他, 他的口袋里爆米花就从来都是不断的. 朱伯伯一度也格外地疼他, 因为他小小年纪居然还可以与他对上几奕, 据他后来回忆说,这小子, 下棋肯动脑筋, 是个棋苗. 于是, 即便朱先生正在他的八仙桌上自己跟自己下棋 --- 我现在明白那是在研究棋谱 --- 我们都懂得这个时候是绝对不可以去烦他的, 可是白白净净的吴小哥, 却是可以进入他那夹板房并且站到八仙桌的一边的.

其时朱先生正与红娣阿姨同居着. 红娣阿姨是在 "大世界" 里跳舞的舞女, 与同在 "大世界" 谋生的棋手朱先生相识并一定是相爱了, 于是就进入了我们山东路, 永乐里, 214号, 三楼, 夹板房. 我记忆中的红娣阿姨漂亮极了, 好像是一张很是饱满的鹅蛋脸, 雪白雪白的, 人长得很高, 腰肢细细地, 走路扭扭摆摆, 蛇一般. 红娣阿姨进驻本楼的时间好像不短.

为写这篇文章我特意打电话向已迁居浦东新区高层大楼的我家老母谘询, 老母很肯定地答复我道, 四年, 从解放前一年到解放后三年. 关于弄堂生涯的记忆, 老母总是很精确.

但吴家小哥哥很快就在弄堂里失宠了. 原因盖在于他做了一件在阿婆阿妈阿姨们看来是大逆不道的事: 他趴在朱先生家的夹板门下, 从离地约有一指宽的缝隙里往里瞧, 看到了红娣阿姨的 "雪雪白的大屁股".

看见就看见了罢, 吴家哥哥还很激动和执着, 一直趴到红娣阿姨开了门出来倒水. 红娣阿姨出门见到了狗一样卧着的小子, 曾经惊问, 吴小哥则坦率地发表了感想:

"红娣阿姨的屁股雪雪白, 介大, 好看得不得了 ! "


"小孩子嘛, 懂什么? 不就是说你好看么, 算了 ! " 他对勃然大怒的红娣阿姨说过.

可是被赞赏过的红娣阿姨当时很冲动, 还是找了吴妈告状, 还是在楼下弄堂里的水龙头前公布了小哥的劣迹.

或许她也没有料到, 从此永乐里的每个人看见吴小哥都会忍俊不禁地笑, 他口袋里的爆米花从此绝迹.

不多久, 吴家母子搬走了.


"我该听朱先生的. "她常说, "他总责怪我."


十余年后, 公元一九六六年, 吴小哥回来过一次.

朱剑秋届时刚沦为 "牛鬼蛇神", 白天在就职的上海市体委象棋队接受批判, 夜间则被里弄里的一个叫什么 "炮司" 的造反派组织命令 "不许乱说乱动", "随叫随到", 隔三差五地戴了纸糊的高帽子到附近的几条弄堂里去游街挨斗. 永乐里就是这个时候改名为 "永斗里" 的. 我那时正在学校里等候毕业分配, 某个星期天回家, 在214号的门洞口见到了墨汁淋漓的大字报. 我很认真地读, 方知这位曾经担任过黄浦区的政协委员, 因而一度备受全弄人敬重的朱先生, 竟然曾经参加过***. 在那个时候, 光凭这, 就够得上个标准了.

晚间, 老母从锅里铲起四条煎好的小黄鱼, 嘱我给隔壁的朱先生送去.

"他家来客人了." 她说, "记得吴家小哥吗? 他后来读了哈尔滨的军校, 后来在南京军区当了军官了, 最近派到上海来做军宣队了. 专门来看看老邻居老地方."

"这个时候来……" 我想起了门洞上的墨迹未干.

"人家才不在乎呢," 我妈说, "下午就来了, 一直坐到现在. 给朱先生说了政策了. 说朱先生当年在 '大世界' 是集体报名加入***, 老板作的主, 不算什么大问题的 …… 谢天谢地, 还好他来说一说, 要不然, 我看朱先生是要上吊的了."
"怎么了, 朱先生?"
"几天都没见他下棋, 坐在房里像段呆木头 …… 还好来了客人, 还给他讲了政策," 我妈说, "人家当了军宣队了, 专门搞运动的, 懂政策." 那段时间所有的人都懂得政策就是生命.



"你连走了三步错棋," 朱先生说, "我给你说说."

一如既往地, 正如他自从担当了少年宫的象棋指导教师之后, 常把一些小棋迷带到他的夹板房内进行个别辅导一样, 朱先生将棋子搓乱, 有点象当下搓麻将似地, 将棋局重新排开, 然后回忆出刚才对奕过的那一局, 一步一步地为那魁梧的军人讲解起来.

他有这样的特异记忆, 可以将无论来去多少回合的棋路一步不差地重摆出来.


一论棋, 他会把什么都忘记.

那军人也只是抬起头, 对我礼节性地笑了笑.


我发现他依然白净, 虽然身高马大.


在一条那样的弄堂里住久了, 无论赵家钱家孙家李家, 无论张三李四王五麻子, 互相间都会知根知底到一片赤诚, 谁都瞒不过谁去.

比如我们楼下的亚珍她娘, 解放前做过 "玻璃杯", 现在叫陪酒女, 全弄堂都知道, 后来得了子宫癌, 大家都说就是那时落下的病根; 比如那排石库门房里有个叫荷花的, 小时候给卖到四马路 "会乐里" 的妓院里, 因为长得太难看, 所以只好做个端洗脚水倒马桶的丫头娘姨, 结果到嫁进我们弄堂里来时, 经丈夫验证, 还是个正宗黄花闺女, 正应了她名字里 "出污泥而不染" 的意思; 比如说210号上上下下两层住的是印刷厂老板兄弟两家, 老大家的娘子虽然漂亮, 但娘家是徐家汇棚户区里的拉老虎塌车的, 而老二娶的虽然有点跷脚, 娘家却开绸布庄, 带进来的嫁妆正好补全了夫家印刷厂多年的亏空, 等于是救了全家老少, 所以跷脚走进弄堂里眼睛总是望着天而且从来不跟任何邻居打招呼, 一派凯旋的功臣模样. 比如朱先生跟红娣阿姨住在一起四年之久而乡下的朱师母并不知晓, 但终于因为中华人民共和国婚姻法颁布了, 两个人只好分开, 红娣嫁了一个当干部的, 在昆山附近的, 接二连三地已经生了三个孩子了, 等等. 弄堂的狭窄空间, 藏不下太多的隐私的.

也并不是容不下一点点秘密. 有些秘密半露半掩. 比如朱先生一入冬就穿上棉衣棉裤, 很合身, 很干净, 松蓬蓬地让他好像胖了许多. 到次年春末脱下, 因为穿了一冬当然脏了显旧了, 硬绑绑地如层壳般一直套到五一劳动节后才肯脱下, 但自会有人为他拆洗重缝, 次年他还是可以穿上松蓬蓬的. 做这一切的, 是已经另适他人的红娣阿姨. 这秘密, 老邻居我妈是清楚的. 但是这洗过的重缝过的干净衣裤是什么时候送来的, 那脏了的板结了的又是什么时候送过去的, 秘密联络方式接头地点, 那就谁也说不上来了.

大约是八十年代末, 我依着常规回娘家去看看, 不意间遇到了红娣阿姨.


要不是老母说这就是红娣, 我哪里还能认得出她来 !

她根本就不高, 充其量只是个中等身材. 是老缩了还是当年从小孩子的眼里看出来的大人都是高个子, 我不能确定. 她而且不胖, 甚至可以说有点黑瘦, 让我们牢牢记住的 "介大的雪雪白的屁股" 不知是昨日黄花呢还是某种幻觉. 我相信是前者. 时光过去了四十年了, 差不多是一世人生了.

老母指着桌上的一个小包裹说, 她听说朱先生一直在写书, 就是那本什么 "鬼" 的书, 坐得痔疮都发作了, 就特意做了几条内裤, 细布, 大裤档的, 送来.

事先没约好, 朱先生由隔壁 "黄牛" 陪着, 去医院看病了, 没遇上, 只好放我们家了.

老母接着笑谈道, 真是一夜夫妻百日恩哪, 她陪了小儿子和毛脚媳妇到上海来买结婚家俱, 送东西给朱先生, 是偷偷溜了出来的. 然后老母说, 他们全家人, 都不知道她以前的经历. 前几年开放了, 两个女儿在家里学跳交谊舞, 跳得乱七八糟, 她看得实在难过, 就更正了她们几步, 把两个女儿都看呆了, 说是姆妈呀, 你还有这么个水平呀, 我们怎么从来也没有看出来呀 …… 这个红娣啊, 刚才跟我说起这些, 笑得肚皮痛 !

红娣阿姨嫁人后, 朱先生的夹板房里, 再没有进过女人.

朱师母当然来过. 总是有事才到上海, 比如两个女儿要嫁了, 来买嫁妆. 比如女儿的女儿生了病, 到上海来开刀. 事办完了就走.


朱师母病卒于 "文革" 期间, 患的是糖尿病. 医书教导我们说, 那病通常是富贵病, 发达社会的都市人吃得太好太多又动得太少就容易得. 终生在贫寒和劳作中完成抚育两个女儿之天职的朱师母何以会与糖尿病结缘, 实在让人费解.


他的生命里, 只剩下了棋.

作者: 王晓玉

Source: 宇宙论坛/棋坛文学
蕉下客 发布

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Champion not the finish line

Champion is not the finish line - Ms Zhang Guofeng's told us her inner world.

After I have won the title of women's national champion of Xiangqi, the state of my mind has become complicated. I am feeling very happy and calm. What has made me feel happy is that my efforts in the past several years are now paid. However, I am not so exhilarated as I had expected, because the way ahead is still very long, and there are so many other champions that are waiting for me to take up challenges.

Thanks to my luck, I won the championships this time. I met Zhu Weiying (Shanghai) in the third game. When I was in an inferior position that I would definitely lose the game, Zhu committed a big blunder. This was a good chance for me that I never had in so many years. I thought that I must not let the chance slip away. In the subsequent games, I defeated Zhao Guanfang and Wang Linna and became the sole leader with 5.5 points. I played Guo Ruixia in the seventh game and thought I must win the game, as she was not so strong than other players as far as the experience and strength is concerned. In the middle of the game when I obtained a slight superiority, instead of playing steadily, I was so hasty in trying to win the game. In the end, I lost the game and had an equal point with Guo Ruixia.

After having lost the game, I was in a bad mood and locked myself in the room. I felt very awkward that for so many years, I missed the chance of winning the champion title. The main reason was psychology. I must be mentally well prepared. Otherwise, I couldn't win the title. I said to myself, "No matter how many points that I have got, I must play each game well. I have played all strong players in the previous rounds, the remaining games will be easy for me. What should I be afraid of, as I have obtained more game points than others?" Being mentally prepared, I defeated Zheng Chufang in the eighth game. In the ninth game, I met Guo Liping. When playing black, I should try to make a draw with her. However, in the middle of the game, I gained some initiative and had a thought of winning the game. But in the end, I lost it due to my hasty play. I met Hu Ming in the last round. If I can make a draw with her, I would be the champion of the tournament. My experience in this championship has taught me that I must refrain from playing hastily in the future national individual championships.

Some people said, most games that I have played are either wins or loses, and only a few games are draws. This is not because that I don't know how to make a draw, but because that I don't like to accept a draw, as it is my style of play. Even in some calm positions, I still can find a flaw in my opponent's position for launching an offensive. And some people said that Wang Linna's play is steady, but lacked strength. But I think that her play is of strength, while my play is more aggressive. I like to sow disorder and stir trouble even in some calm positions. However, sometimes I think Wang Linna's style of play is better than mine, as her performance is more stable. Regarding my performance, sometimes it is good, and sometimes it is poor.

I missed the chance of winning the title in the national championships in 1991. I thought, it was quite normal for me that I hadn't got the title, as I was still lagging behind in experience at that time. It was in 1997 that I began to possess the strength of winning the champion title. Thanks to the excellent environment of Jiangsu Xiangqi team, I received an intensive training in the past several years. Teacher Li always set a high standard demand on me.

Some people may ask if I have ever thought of marriage as I have already passed that age. But I think, I should take the Xiangqi play as my first priority. Wang Linna, Zhao Guanfang and Dang Guolei are all promising young players. If I don't keep on working harder in these two or three years, I would find it difficult to beat them in the future. As regard my marriage, let the fate be it is.

Source: 'Bulletin Xiangqi' of World Xiangqi Federation

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

烟花庆祝 ~ Fireworks

烟花庆祝,有时是为了例如完成我的博客生活一个月,为一场成功的比赛,为中国新年的到来, 就是这样.

There is always occasion for a fireworks display, like for example completing a month of my blogging life, the successful conclusion of a chess tournament, the arrival of the Chinese New Year, and so on.

北京 "狗不理杯" 棋赛成绩

北京市首届 "狗不理杯" 象棋大奖赛完全成绩


1. 魏国同, 9 83.0 8
2. 何建中, 8.5 78.5 7
3. 靳玉砚, 8.5 78.5 6
4. 才 溢, 8.5 75.5 7
5. 袁洪梁, 8.5 72.5 6
6. 张 鹏, 8.5 69.5 8
7. 洪磊鑫, 8 75.0 7
8. 刘克非, 8 73.5 5
9. 宋世军, 8 73.0 7
10. 高 来, 8 70.5 7

11. 张 伟, 8 69.0 6
12. 张任远, 8 68.5 7
13. 郭光耀, 8 67.0 8
14. 田长兴, 7.5 75.5 7
15= 蒋国彬, 7.5 73.5 6
15= 荆 聪, 7.5 73.5 6
17. 商思源, 7.5 73.0 7
18. 韩选城, 7.5 72.5 5
19. 刘 智, 7.5 71.5 6
20. 张卫东, 7.5 71.0 5

21. 钱 钧, 7.5 67.5 5
22. 庞会来, 7.5 65.0 7
23. 唐文祥, 7.5 63.5 6
24. 梁 勇, 7.5 60.5 7
25. 殷广顺, 7 76.5 4
26. 董子仲, 7 75.5 6
27. 张锦旗, 7 74.0 6
28. 孙光琪, 7 73.0 5
29. 庞瑞德, 7 72.5 6
30. 赵 立, 7 72.5 5

31. 舒雨腊, 7 70.0 5
32. 孙 博, 7 70.0 4
33. 唐 丹, 7 68.0 4
34. 任 刚, 7 67.5 5
35. 高锡昆, 7 66.5 5
36= 毕洪奎, 7 64.5 6
36= 李玉成, 7 64.5 6
38. 王 昊, 7 60.0 6
39. 李永泉, 7 59.0 6
40. 周正海, 7 56.0 7

41. 张一男, 6.5 75.0 5
42. 于 川, 6.5 73.5 5
43. 付学礼, 6.5 72.0 6
44. 彭 铂, 6.5 71.5 5
45. 杨永明, 6.5 71.0 4
46. 罗春阳, 6.5 70.0 5
47. 田振忠, 6.5 69.0 6
48. 张国权, 6.5 69.0 5
49. 马 维, 6.5 68.5 6
50= 孙伟吉, 6.5 67.0 6
50= 郭 宇, 6.5 67.0 6

52. 李安年, 6.5 66.5 5
53. 张友良, 6.5 66.0 6
54. 韩大勇, 6.5 65.5 5
55. 陈广柱, 6.5 65.0 6
56. 张秉祥, 6.5 64.0 5
57. 赵 宏, 6.5 62.0 6
58. 刘学义, 6.5 60.0 6
59. 鲍国良, 6.5 59.5 6
60. 赵 鑫, 6.5 57.0 6

61. 张树旺, 6.5 53.5 6
62. 孙 钧, 6 72.5 4
63. 赵金强, 6 71.0 4
64. 王瑞平, 6 70.0 5
65. 郭文周, 6 69.5 6
66. 孙文波, 6 67.5 5
67. 于 卅, 6 67.0 6
68= 秦国强, 6 67.0 5
68= 李光明, 6 67.0 5
70. 张军强, 6 66.5 4

71. 程长亮, 6 65.0 4
72. 张 旭, 6 64.0 5
73. 葛宇彤, 6 64.0 4
74. 杨大祥, 6 63.0 6
75. 齐宝华, 6 62.5 6
76= 张 楠, 6 62.5 5
76= 张 谡, 6 62.5 5
78. 陈卫民, 6 61.5 6
79= 孟兆源, 6 60.0 5
79= 杨连启, 6 60.0 5

81. 李 冉, 6 59.0 6
82. 史思旋, 6 56.0 4
83. 崔克嵩, 6 55.5 6
84. 南海波, 6 54.0 6
85. 董 铮, 6 50.5 5
86. 崔 晨, 6 38.0 5
87. 李志雄, 5.5 68.0 5
88. 狄巨俊, 5.5 63.5 5
89. 冯庆生, 5.5 63.5 4
90. 邢建华, 5.5 62.5 4

91. 程占朋, 5.5 62.0 5
92. 朱宏志, 5.5 60.0 4
93. 付公亮, 5.5 59.0 5
94= 马鸣祥, 5.5 58.5 5
94= 唐宏伟, 5.5 58.5 5
96. 邢来宝, 5.5 58.5 4
97. 王乃痒, 5.5 58.0 5
98. 张树新, 5.5 57.5 4
99. 高立良, 5.5 57.0 4
100.龙亚军, 5.5 56.0 3

101=尹 鹏, 5.5 55.0 5
101=刘旭方, 5.5 55.0 5
103.赵敬寿, 5.5 47.5 4
104.何 进, 5 72.5 4
105.尹乃文, 5 69.0 4
106.张宝京, 5 68.5 4
107=贾冀武, 5 67.0 4
107=刘 峥, 5 67.0 4
109.王景平, 5 63.0 4
110=卢德生, 5 61.0 4
110=郭仁喜, 5 61.0 4

112.原京顺, 5 60.5 5
113.张凤粮, 5 60.0 5
114.张亦弛, 5 60.0 4
115.王海友, 5 59.5 5
116.汪志勇, 5 59.5 4
117.李鹏岳, 5 59.0 3
118.李守义, 5 58.5 4
119.魏晨歌, 5 58.0 4
120.张诗骑, 5 58.0 3

121.张海涛, 5 57.0 2
122.张金宝, 5 56.5 4
123.高文忠, 5 55.5 5
124.王力斌, 5 55.0 5
125=武廷江, 5 54.5 4
125=宁普源, 5 54.5 4
127.杨伊龙, 5 54.0 4
128.刘长生, 5 53.5 5
129.朱永兴, 5 53.5 4
130.陆士明, 5 53.0 4

131.张牧空, 5 52.5 4
132.赵 崴, 5 52.0 4
133.宗家瑞, 5 50.5 4
134.李皛皘, 5 50.0 2
135.黄建辉, 4.5 69.5 4
136.席 钢, 4.5 63.0 4
137.关 铮, 4.5 60.5 3
138.范晓波, 4.5 59.0 3
139.吴瑞淇, 4.5 58.5 4
140.庞宝华, 4.5 57.0 4

141.张家庭, 4.5 56.5 4
142.杨占源, 4.5 56.0 3
143.张 沪, 4.5 55.0 2
144.李志平, 4.5 54.5 3
145.常 森, 4.5 51.5 3
146.盛 露, 4.5 51.5 2
147.李自新, 4.5 49.5 4
148.王 薇, 4.5 49.0 4
149.朴 泼, 4.5 46.5 4
150.王春喜, 4 61.0 3

151.李劲松, 4 58.5 3
152.张 贺, 4 58.0 3
153.郭鹏天, 4 57.0 4
154.李永安, 4 56.0 4
155.任金旋, 4 56.0 3
156.冯居萍, 4 55.0 3
157.朱 林, 4 54.0 3
158=时顺利, 4 53.0 3
158=杨汝森, 4 53.0 3
160.廖少舟, 4 52.0 3

161.郭明亮, 4 51.0 3
162.赵 龙, 4 50.5 3
163.罗春海, 4 48.5 4
164.王 伟, 4 45.0 3
165.高海永, 4 42.0 3
166.潘 磊, 4 41.5 3
167.张贷成, 3.5 56.0 1
168.李 玎, 3.5 54.0 3
169.林星池, 3.5 48.5 2
170.陈士林, 3.5 47.5 2

171.李占生, 3.5 46.0 2
172.卢必成, 3.5 45.0 3
173.冯放放, 3.5 45.0 2
174.李东生, 3.5 44.5 3
175.魏传国, 3.5 42.5 2
176.宇 豪, 3.5 40.5 2
177.李永青, 3.5 40.0 3
178.赵元松, 3 54.5 2
179.靳 晖, 3 49.0 2
180.赖南京, 3 48.5 2

181.杨立世, 3 47.5 3
182.王宝兴, 3 45.5 2
183.金鑫斌, 3 41.0 1
184.姚 远, 2.5 48.0 1
185.杨 慨, 2.5 42.5 1
186.吴洪广, 2 38.0 2
187.马玉嶺, 2 36.5 2
188.宿曾国, 1 45.5 0
189.王 健, 1 38.5 1
190.汤玉湘, 1 16.5 1

191.杨 飞, 0 19.0 0
192.李 刚, 0 16.0 0
193.宋宏慧, 0 15.0 0
194.汪 超, 0 12.5 0

来源: 河北象棋网

Wei Guotong winner of Goubuli Cup

Wei Guotong victorious in Goubuli Cup

A replay of part of the tournament. On Saturday 21st, 3 more rounds were contested. Jin Yuyan played brilliantly winning all his 3 games thereby joining the leading group, while the tournament leader Wei Guotong was beaten by Cai Yi. These leading players each had scored 7.5 points. They were chased closely by He Jianzhong, Hong Leixin, Song Shijun, Yuan Hongliang and Jiang Guobin, all of them scoring 7 points, only half a point behind the group leaders. The 'child genius' Dong Zizhong, aged 12, is left far behind, positioning himself in 19th place with 6 points.

After two more rounds, the Goubuli Cup is now successfully concluded, and the winner is Wei Guotong, runner-up is He Jianzhong, third is Jin Yuyan and fourth is Cai Yi.

Monday, January 23, 2006

[转贴]一代宗师 超凡脱俗--我所认识的象棋大师胡荣华

[转贴]一代宗师 超凡脱俗--我所认识的象棋大师胡荣华

我在43年前就认识了胡荣华. 那时因为要学围棋, 常到上海棋社找老先生们下指导棋, 就看见胡荣华不时过来专注地观看棋局. 1964年我从少体校调到上海棋社当专业棋手, 在宿舍里和胡荣华是上下铺, 这以后就和只比我大两岁的胡荣华非常熟悉了.


   很多人可能不知道, 有一度上海市体委领导准备让胡荣华改行学围棋. 但胡荣华训练不到半年, 又因故重新再下象棋. 正因为有这么一段因缘, 所以胡荣华的围棋水平相当高. 我刚进队的那一年, 几乎每天晚上都要和胡荣华下围棋, 那时他让我一先.

   有一次, 胡荣华在角上下了一个变化. 我告诉他这样下亏了. 胡荣华不服气. 我正好用棋书上看来的"解剖"原理, 用改变行棋次序的方法证明胡荣华的下法确实不行. 胡荣华当时听后显得非常有兴趣, 而且事后连连夸围棋的解剖法很有道理.

   过了一个月, 广东象棋队到上海来与上海队下对抗赛. 第二轮由胡荣华先走对陈柏祥. 胡荣华先摆了当头炮, 但第十一步时又主动把中炮卸了下来. 结果这盘棋陈柏祥输后连连搔头说: "小胡架上中炮又卸掉, 以后我就不会下了."

   当时跟着去观战的我, 在回棋社的路上就问胡荣华: "你把中炮架上又卸掉, 这不白白浪费一手棋吗?" 胡荣华得意地说: "这是学习围棋的解剖法才领悟到的. 因为虽然卸中炮浪费了一手棋, 但却让对手的车炮全不在好的位置上. 而对手做调整至少要花二三手棋, 所以实际上还是我便宜了手数."

   据说这以后, 胡荣华对传统的象棋布局都进行了脱胎换骨的改变. 一些本来偏门的如 "飞相局", "龟背炮" 等布局也在胡荣华手里大放异彩, 胡荣华进入了一个创新的丰产期.


   象棋运动员训练, 大都一个人对着棋盘来回挪子, 专业术语称为"拆棋". 拆棋结束后, 棋手便把成果记录在自己的本子上. 因此, 象棋手的训练本本, 一般是不能轻易给别人看的. 因为密密麻麻写着的各种变化全是自己研究的心血, 生怕有人会盗用了它.

   记得我正式进队后, 象棋队员个个都在每天训练结束后, 非常仔细地把训练本本放进有锁的抽屉, 然后再用手拉拉, 检验一下是否上了锁. 有一次一名队员偷看了另一名队员的训练本, 还造成了象棋队严重不团结的事件.

   但胡荣华与众不同, 他的训练本常常随意堆在棋盘旁或者放在不上锁的抽屉里. 有人曾在胡荣华不在时打开过它, 结果惊异地发现, 胡的训练本子上除了一局局很普通的布局图形外, 竟没有一个字的研究记录.

   老队员徐天利后来琢磨出, 这一个个普通的布局图形, 全都是下一步胡荣华准备创新的前奏图. 但因为胡荣华对以后的下法一字未写, 所以谁看了也不知道胡荣华会如何创新变招. 于是徐天利就把胡荣华的训练本戏称为"无字天书", 难怪不怕"凡人" 看见.

   我曾就此事问过胡荣华. 胡荣华对 "无字天书" 的说法不置可否. 他说: "要想有创新, 首先来源于对局面的深刻理解. 所以我总是习惯把创新前的局面列出来, 每次训练时就看着图把变化在脑子里过一遍. 有时灵感来了, 常常会在变化里又冥想出许多新的变化来."

   因此胡荣华很反对其他人把变化罗列得详详细细, 因为这样就会使人不再对变化再动脑筋. 胡荣华还告诉我一个笑话, 说有一个队员在比赛中祭出了研究的 "飞刀". 本来对手已经 "入套", 可以 "瓮中捉鳖" 了. 孰料那位队员急切间自己背错了下法, 结果反倒自己 "偷鸡不着蚀把米".


   1965年初, 广西的桂林邀请上海的象棋队和围棋队去访问, 其中胡荣华蒙目车轮战十三位省一级的业余棋手是当时的一个重头戏.

   比赛安排在桂林的一个体育场内举行. 还未开场, 体育场内已是人山人海. 大家都想来看看这位上海的巨星究竟 "闭着眼睛" 能赢几盘棋.

   最终胡荣华在十三盘中取得十一胜二和的好成绩, 而且在两盘和棋中, 还有一段鲜为人知的小插曲.

   在蒙目棋开赛前, 一位和胡荣华熟识的广西棋手托人情对胡说, 在应战的十三位棋手中有一位是桂林市商业局的干部, 希望胡荣华能手下留情, 和他下一盘和棋. 也没等胡荣华应允, 那位棋手便 "霸王硬上弓" 地说, 开赛后他会把那个干部的序号写给胡荣华.

   蒙目车轮大战开始后, 那位棋手果然送上一张纸条, 上面写着9号. 胡荣华从心里一直很反对这种弄虚作假的事情, 但又碍着面子, 人情难却. 现在看纸条上写着9号, 当时便心生一计.

   在比赛中, 胡荣华对那位9号选手不但不手下留情, 反而重车快马, 将他杀得一败涂地, 而对6号选手, 胡荣华跟他下了一盘和棋.

   比赛结束后, 那位托情的棋手面色尴尬地见了胡荣华. 胡荣华连忙道歉说: "对不起, 我匆忙间把你送来的9号倒过来看成了6号. 结果让那位6号得了便宜. "那位托情的棋手当时只能怪自己没有事先把号码交待清楚.

来源: (东方网-新民晚报) 记者 曹志林 2005-08-03

Portrait of a Xiangqi Master I knew

Original title: 一代宗师 超凡脱俗--我所认识的象棋大师胡荣华

I have first known Hu Ronghua 43 years ago. At that time I was learning the game of Weiqi, I often went to Shanghai Qishe (chess centre) to take coaching lessons from the veterans teachers, and very often I saw Hu Ronghua came to my table and watched attentively the game. In 1964 I moved away from the youth sporting school class were I was attending to Shanghai Qishe to become a specialised chess player, in the dormitory I and Hu Ronghua shared the same bunker, one slept in upper deck, the other in lower deck. Since then I was very acquainted with Hu Ronghua, who was two years older than me.

He learned the quick way

Not many people know that at one time the Shanghai sports committee leaders had decided sending Hu Ronghua to study Weiqi instead of continuing with his Xiangqi study, however, after less than half a year's of Weiqi training, he was again transferred back to Xiangqi. Because of this development, Hu Ronghua can play Weiqi to a good level. The year when I first joined the team, almost every evening I would played Weiqi with Hu Ronghua, at that time he was giving me the odd of first move.

One day Hu played a variation at the board's corner, I told him playing this move would lead to inferior play. Hu Ronghua was not keen about this, and so I used the 'analysis' which I happened to have read from a book, and by slightly changing the moves order, I demonstrated Hu's play was really unsound. This greatly attracted Hu Ronghua's interest, and later he would repeately praised the reasonableness of the analysis method.

One month later, the Guangdong chess team then arrived in Shanghai to play a match. In the second round Hu Ronghua was paired against Chen Baixiang. Hu Ronghua opened with a Central Cannon opening, however on the 11th move, under no pressure, Hu moved the Central Cannon sideways. In the end Chen Baixiang conceded defeat saying: "Hu centralised his Cannon, and then de-centralised it, this mesmerised me so much that I could not continue my game properly."

I had watched that game, and on the way back to Qishe I asked Hu Ronghua: "You centralised the Cannon and afterward you de-centralised it, was not you wasting a move?" Hu Ronghua said gleefully: "This was inspired after learning Weiqi's analytical method. Though de-centralising the Cannon wasted a move, however, this in turn put my opponent's Rook and Cannon in bad position. My opponent has to make 2 or 3 moves more to deal with the new situation, therefore in reality I got the advantage in moves' count."

After this it happened accordingly that Hu Ronghua had a complete style change of handling the traditional way of openings of Xiangqi. Some rarely seen openings like 'Flying Bishop Opening', 'Turtle's Back Opening' etc were revived and became splendid weapons in the hands of Hu Ronghua, who thus stepping into his fruitful period of chess innovation and creativity.

The book of heaven without word

The way the chess players trained at that time, mostly each one had a chessboard in front, players moved the pieces over and over, in specialised term they called it 'analysing the game'. After analysis, players noted down their results in their note books. Hence, the Xiangqi players would usually keep their note books to themselves, not allowing others to have a glimpse of what has been written, because all these tightly small characters jotted down were the fruits of their hard labour of study, and nobody liked these to fall into the wrong hands.

I remembered when I had become a member of the chess team, after our daily training, the other members would all very cautiously put their note books in their drawers and locked them, checked again whether these were well locked. One day it happened that a team member had read another member's training note book, this developped into a serious incident, making the team members divided and created bad feeling on the issue.

However, Hu Ronghua was unlike all others, his training note book were most of the time lying around, besides the chessboard, or just put into the unlocked drawer. Someone had taken advantage and waited when Hu Ronghua went out, opened his note book, and lo ! he was astonished to discover that Hu's note book had not a single character written in it, apart from very normal diagrams of opening positions !

Afterward, veteran team member Xu Tianli thought deeply about this matter and came to the conclusion that all these diagrams, in fact were critical chess positions where Hu Ronghua was prepared to make his theoretical novelties. Because Hu Ronghua did not write down what were the moves he was going to play, so no one was able to have any clue about Hu's new moves. Hence Xu Tianli called the training note book of Hu Ronghua as 'The book of heaven without word', therefore it was easy to explain why Hu was not afraid to let 'ordinary people' to have a look at his note.

I have raised this matter with Hu Ronghua himself. Hu Ronghua did not make any comment about the 'Book of heaven without word' story. He said: "If one wanted to create, first of all one has to deeply understand the game position, this is the source. Hence I was accustomed all the time to draw out the diagrams showing positions just before I renovate. Every time when I trained I would looked at the diagrams and made the variations in my mind. Sometimes when I got the inspiration, I would be able to develop in my mind many new variation moves from the main variations."

Thus Hu Ronghua very much not agreeing with others who wrote down their variation moves all in details in their note books, because by writing down all the details variation moves, it discourage people to think further and deeper of the position. Hu Ronghua told me a joke, there was a team member during a competition having a rare opportunity to play a move, and that move was a well prepared trap 'fei dao' (flying dagger), he thought he just needed waiting to ambush and execute his poor opponent, however, in the end the trapper was trapped,
because in his excitement he bungled the moves order, the whole plan backfired, and needless to say, the team member was crushed mercilessly !

source: dongfang wang/xinmin evening news
reporter Cao Zhilin 2005-08-03

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Joy and happiness of play

Mr Zhu Baowei, a well known writer and arbiter of the game, when writing the Preface on his excellent book 'Basic Xiangqi Checkmate Methods', said: "The game of Xiangqi is similar to the deployment of forces for military operation. Though it is a battle on Xiangqi board, its theory is similar to the military strategy and tactics. As it is stipulated by the Xiangqi rules, the side that captures the opponent's King will be the winner of the game. Therefore, each side tries to outwit his opponent and strives to show his bravery in taking various kinds of checkmate methods and to do his best to seize every opportunity for winning the victory. The game of Xiangqi is rendered with a mysterious hue.

Nearly all Xiangqi players or fans understand that the checkmate method takes an important position in the Xiangqi game. However, some of the players believe that "the checkmate method can only play its roles in the end game." But in reality, we often see that in the heated mid-game battles, being eager to achieve a quick success and instant benefit, one side often neglects to defend his own King, offering the opponent an opportunity for making a counterattack or winning the game. Although sometimes, a player has a chance a take a successive checkmate, as he is rusty on the checkmate methods, he bungles a chance of winning the battle, or loses the game. Such cases are often seen in actual competitions. And there are numerous examples showing that some players take advantage of checkmate methods in seizing opponent's pieces. In fact, the checkmate methods play a very important role, directly or indirectly, not only in the end game, but also in the mid-game, even in the entire game.

To sum up, the checkmate method is the core of the Xiangqi skill. All players, no matter that they are rudimentary, or of certain level, should study the checkmate method and take it as an important subject in training. It is impossible for a player to defeat his opponent and win the victory if he overlooks this point.

Some people might think, since the checkmate method is so important, is there any short-cut for raising one's skill of checkmate method? To say frankly, Xiangqi is an art, and its checkmate methods are numerous and profound. There is no such short cut for us to take. Especially so for the beginners, they must start their study on the elementary knowledge. Based on his experience in teaching Xiangqi, the author has written this book, hoping that our readers can benefit from it."

Mr Zhu Baowei had concluded his Preface with the following remarks: "The book has included more than two hundred games (compositions). Subjectively, we try to achieve reasonable deployment of the pieces in each game. They should be interesting, of practical value, and concise in checkmate method. Here, we'd like to point it out that most of the checkmate methods are of the rudimentary level, and some of the intermediary or high level. By doing this, it can help our readers to have a better understanding of the checkmate method, so that those promising players can be upgraded into the ranks of the middle level Xiangqi players in a short time.

A brilliant checkmate method is of an aesthetic feeling as that of the art works. Let's jointly share the joys and happiness of the Xiangqi play.

Source: World Xiangqi Federation
Chinese Xiangqi Association

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Astonishing memory of Liu Dahua

With Xiangqi text books full in his head, Grandmaster Liu Dahua plays Xiangqi wherever he is.

In appearance, he is tall and robust, with swarthy skin, looking like a man from the north of China. But when you talk to him, what you can hear from him is the pure Hubei accent. Then, you can believe that he is born and raised in Hubei.

As a common person, he is honest and kind when getting along with people, never giving thought to his personal gains and losses. As a Xiangqi master, he always fights for every move of his game, never showing leniency toward his opponent, even when he has gained the initiative. Sometimes, some amateur Xiangqi players request a draw, he would say bluntly, "I think I have the chance to win." Then, he would win the game straight away, without any consideration of the sensibility of his opponent.

This is Liu Dahua, a name that can 'rouse the deaf and awaken the unhearing' in the Xiangqi circles. He has put an end to the twenty years' monopoly of Grandmaster Hu Ronghua, and set the world record of 1 versus 19 in blindfold Xiangqi play. Among the eleven Xiangqi Champions in China, he has been given a most modernized nickname as "The Computer of the Orient".

(In the following talk with press representative, Liu Dahua came out with some interesting and intimate answers on his game.)

Journalist: Many veteran Xiangqi players believe that they have no time in studying Xiangqi theory, what about you?

Liu Dahua: Xiangqi remains to be the main part in my life. Due to some reasons, the time that I can spend on Xiangqi is relatively less than before. If my time and physical conditions permit, I would seriously practice Xiangqi as before. Sometimes, I stop playing Xiangqi, as I have to take necessary rest in order to keep on playing Xiangqi.

Journalist: It seems that your performance is not so good as before in recent years?

Liu Dahua: Really, it is so. My performance is good in few tournaments only. But in most tournaments, my performance isn't good enough. For example, in the National Individual Championships in recent years, the results of my competitions were not so ideal, sometimes, I failed to enter the top eight. I begin to notice that I am getting old. When I am getting old day by day, I find that my ability has been failing short of my ambition.

Journalist: Do you mean that your poor performance should be attributed to your poor physical conditions?

Liu Dahua: My skill of Xiangqi play has not shown any sign of retrogress. Why my performance is not so good as before, the reason is, on the one hand, that Xiangqi is keeping on developing, on the other hand, that the reason lies with myself. In recent years, Xiangqi is developing rapidly, the group of young players is charging on the entire Xiangqi area. The gap between the Grandmasters and the Masters is narrowing. No one can easily win a game. Not myself alone, but all players have such a feeling. With my own conditions, I can only try to achieve good results in the competition of the knock-out system. The current system of National Individual Championships should be unfavourable to the veteran Xiangqi players.

Journalist: If the competition system remains unchanged, do you think there is possibility that you could dominate the Xiangqi arena again?

Liu Dahua: My friends are always encouraging me. I myself also wish that I could win two Championships again as I did before. However, I must acknowledge that I don't have confidence and courage any more that I could be the Champion again.

Journalist: Is there any game that you feel puzzled in your study of Xiangqi in the last several decades?

Liu Dahua: No, not any. Even if sometime I failed to perceive the mystery of some games during the play, but when the game is over, I would study and analyse it. I could understand the mystery in it. Due to my negligence, sometimes I committed some blunders in my play, and some of them often happened among the amateur Xiangqi players. Therefore, I like to play blitz games. It is a challenge to the speed of reaction in a limited time. The blitz game is more exciting.

Blind-folded game is Liu's favourite play

Journalist: Your skill in blind-folded game is unique. It is known to all that you have set a world record of 1 versus 19. Up to today, no man has broken this record. Could you please say something on the blind-folded games?

Liu Dahua: The play of blind-folded game is a test of skills. I created the record of 1 versus 19 in 1995 (Liu buried himself in deep thought, as if he had returned to the scene of seven years ago). To play blind-folded game, firstly, a player should have a good memory; secondly, he must have a good command of all kinds of variations in Xiangqi play; and thirdly, he must have gone through an intensified training.

Journalist: Do you think 1 versus 19 is a limit in Xiangqi. And do you want to break your own record?

Liu Dahua: My decision of playing 1 versus 19 blind-folded match was made after repeated and serious consideration, and I had made adequate preparations for it. Before travelling to Beijing last time, I had a stimulated game with several players. Through the exhibition in Beijing, I believe that I could play one or two more players in blind-folded. After that exhibition, I cannot find another opportunity to play this game. As now I am getting on in age, my ability could betray me. Not long ago, I had a 1 versus 15 blind-folded exhibition match, which was televised by the China Central Television (CCTV). I found that I was still fit enough to play this kind of game.

Journalist: Where do you think that it will cost you much energy in a blind-folded game.

Liu Dahua: During the stage of the opening play. As the openings of most games are similar to each other, one might get confused at that stage if he has the openings of 10 games in his mind. The mid-game and end-games can be remembered easily.

Journalist: How did you have this skill?

Liu Dahua: I began to play Xiangqi at the age of nine. As I had to go to school at that time, I couldn't find much time to play Xiangqi, I just kept the texts of the games in my mind and recalled them time and again. I would play Xiangqi wherever I went. In the past twenty years or more, I seldom use the Xiangqi board, except during the competitions.

Journalist: Do you think the blind-folded Xiangqi play can help the people to sharpen their skill?

Liu Dahua: Yes, I think so. I always encourage my student to play the blind-folded game. If a player has mastered this technique, he could have a correct judgement over the situation in the competition, especially when he confronts with more complicated situation. Through thinking thoroughly, one could have a correct analysis on the situation. In fact, such a course of thinking is the play of blind-folded game. Therefore, blind-folded play is an indispensable weapon for the high-level Xiangqi players. Usually, a player's technique is higher, his skill of blind-folded play would be higher.

Journalist: There is an argument in the Xiangqi circles that to play the blind-folded game can damage the brain of a player. Do you think so?

Liu Dahua: I don't agree. Every man is different to each other in their abilities. I have played many games in blind-folded, I haven't found that my brain has been damaged to any extend.

Source : "Bulletin Xiangqi" of World Xiangqi Federation

Friday, January 20, 2006

"狗不理杯" 棋赛奖金高

"狗不理杯" 象棋大赛奖金高

中国象棋现在有越来越多的杯赛, 奖金越来越丰富.

"狗不理杯" 象棋大奖赛是北京一次高奖金的比赛, 天津狗不理王府井总店赞助, 2006年1月19日至22日举行.

奖金冠军30,000元, 亚军15,000元, 第16名也有奖. 男子国家大师以外的业余象棋爱好者, 都可参加, 不收报名费.

比赛进行了多轮, 争夺十分激烈, 前三轮全胜领先的有才溢、张一男等, 靳玉砚、"神童"董子仲以半分差距咬紧.

朝阳区乐澜宝邸赛场,连日来成了一个很热闹的地方, 北京和天津的棋手就有200人, 加上家人, 亲戚, 朋友,以及观众,王府井总店的人气和吸引力大大增加了.

La Coupe Goubuli attire la foule

La Coupe Goubuli attire la grande foule

Le tournoi de Xiangqi de la Coupe Goubuli est sans aucun doute ayant un des plus grands fonds à Pékin, avec un premier prix totalisant 30.000 yuan, le deuxième prix de 15.000 yuan, jusqu'à le 16e prix. Sauf les Maîtres Nationaux et les Grand-maîtres, tous les joueurs d'amateur sont qualifiés pour enregistrer libre pour la compétition.

Le tournoi est organisé de dix-neuvième à 22e janvier 2006, déjà le résultat du premier trois ronds est annoncé, Cai Yi et Zhang Yinan mènent avec 3 points de 3 jeux, suivant d'un demi point moins sont Jin Yuyan et Dong Zizhong, le dernier n'est qu'un 'enfant génie' agé de 12 ans ! Les combats d'échecs de plus en plus intenses et difficiles sont prévus jusqu'au dernier moment.

Goubuli Cup attracts big crowd

Goubuli Cup attracts big crowd

Gou Bu Li Cup (狗不理杯) Xiangqi tournament is undoubtedly one of the biggest chess prize funds ever offered in Beijing, with a first prize money totalling 30,000 yuan, runner-up prize money of 15,000 yuan, and other prizes down to the 16th. Except for National Masters and higher titled players, all other amateur players are qualified to register free for the competition.

The tournament is being conducted from 19th to 22nd January 2006, already the result of the first three rounds are announced, Cai Yi and Zhang Yinan are leading with 3 points out of 3 games, half a point behind are Jin Yuyan and the 12 years old 'child genius' Dong Zizhong. More intense and difficult chess battles are expected until the last minutes of the competition.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Invitation from Mr. Kong Guang Xi

Have seen an Invitation addressed to Mr. Michael Nägler in the Chinese website, with a request for help to pass it on to its destination.

Mr. Kong Guang Xi is really keen to send out the Invitation to Mr. Michael Nägler, so here we are, we hope it is helpful by re-publishing it here to achieve Mr. Kong's purpose of delivering the Invitation to the recipient, it is also a good test to see if my blog is reaching as far as Germany !


Dear Mr Michel·Negarer,

Vice-chairman of the World Chess Association

It’s six years since we played together in the chess match “Guo Gong Pao” in Shanghai. I’m very grateful when thinking of it.

We are going to hold a “Shangchong Cup” tournament in which famous chess players are invited to make a research of the new rules for the game “Guo Gong Pao” on January 31, 2006 in my home town—Shangchong village, Leliu town, Shunde district, Foshan city, Guangdong Province, China.

Mr Hong Zhi, champion of the Chinese chess this year is going to play against Yu You-hua, champion of National Chinese Chess Individul Competition in 2002. They are going to play two games by moving the Cannon first.

Therefore, on behalf of the Shunde Chess Association, I sincerely invite you to come here with the hope of studying together the use of “Guo Gong Pao ”with you, and strengthening our friendship.

Looking forward to your coming

Yours ever,

Kong Guang Xi

Your friend and vice-chairman

Of Shunde Chess Association

December 28, 2005


1. You can come with a companion. During your stay in Shunde (from Jan.31 to Feb. 2, 2006) we will bear your living expenses and the cost in transportation in Shunde. We expect your arrival in Shunde,Guangdong on January 30.

2. You have to pay for the round trip tickets from Germany to Guangzhou and from Guangzhou back to Germany, and please get your passport ready by yourselves.

3. We can help to arrange your round trip between Guangzhou and Shunde if necessary.

4. Not knowing your exact address, we have to print this invitation on the front page of “Chess Home” (http:ww w.chesshome.net)

5 Kong Guang Xi’s email address is ad987654_sdb@126.com



(今天看到一篇文章,我也乘机说说个人的两点见解. 大家对想法的交流, 对于象棋社区发展是有好处的吧?

1) 华人是推动象棋走向世界的一份重要核心力量.

2)象棋需要多多进入华人圈(社区), 否则不久后它将完全消失 !)


工人日报记者童德芸 (获全国日报体育好新闻三等奖)

象棋是中华民族灿烂的文化奇葩, 已有上千年的历史, 在世界各地, 凡是有华人的地方就有它的存在. 但是作为一种智力竞技项目, 象棋由于缺乏高水平的非华裔选手参与, 因而无论是亚洲锦标赛还是世界锦标赛, 其比赛的激烈程度、影响力以及在国内受关注的程度都处于一种比较尴尬的境地. 对此, 不少人慨叹——


第13届亚洲象棋锦标赛本月22日在北京举行了比较隆重的开幕式. 记者在开幕式上发现, 各个参赛队无论官员、运动员,全部都是东亚、南亚人的长相, 看上去非常亲切. 而且与其它项目的洲际比赛不同的是, 在有14个国家和地区参加的国际赛事中竟然通用中国普通话, 而且没有语言障碍. 象棋裁判王孔兴告诉记者, 本届亚锦赛虽然有14个国家和地区参赛, 但除了一个地道的日本人外, 包括澳大利亚队在内, 几乎都是有中国血统的华裔.

其实, 象棋在世界发展的现状也是如此, 亚洲锦标赛也好, 世界锦标赛也好, 历史超过千年的象棋依然只是全球华人圈的体育赛事.

在中国的三大棋中, 象棋有着最为广泛的群众基础. 在中央电视台收视率的调查中, 象棋仅次于足球、赛车,列赛事转播收视率第三位. 据说有2亿中国人都会下象棋. 但是, 从事这样一项有着非常广泛群众基础运动的棋手的生存环境却处于比较尴尬的境地, 远不如围棋、国际象棋选手.

象棋特级大师胡荣华在解释这种现象时说, 围棋是因为有中国、日本、韩国三国对垒, 而且有外国资本的注入; 国际象棋因为是有100多个国家参与的世界锦标赛、奥林匹克团体赛等世界级赛事, 中国队的成绩好, 同样也吸引国人的关注; 而象棋参与的基本是华人, 除了中国大陆外, 其他地方的都是业余选手, 水平根本无法与中国的专业选手比, 比如, 此次亚锦赛三项冠军毫无悬念地均被大陆选手囊括. 没有竞争对手, 自然就不会引起人们太多的关注.


象棋不仅体现了深厚的中国文化, 同时也有丰富的变化, 具有非常大的魅力, 但是却难于被欧美人广泛接受. 因此有人断言, 象棋不如国际象棋的变化多, 象棋是汉文, 不够形象化, 所以引不起西方人的兴趣.

既是象棋特级大师, 也是国际象棋好手的胡荣华不同意这样的观点. 他认为, 由于东西方文化不同, 兵种、子力的相互制约也不同, 国际象棋和象棋的变化都是深奥的, 所以既不能说国际象棋比象棋的变化多, 也不能说象棋比国际象棋的变化多, 国际象棋与象棋没有完全的可比性. 胡荣华向记者讲了一段真实的事例: 中国人在推广象棋时, 曾经有人把做成没有中国汉字的形象化的象棋带到国外传播, 却遭到了对中国的象棋有所了解的德国人的反对. 他们说, 要下形象化的, 下国际象棋就可以了, 为什么还要舍近求远呢? 事实上, 象棋上的汉字不过是符号而已, 对于普遍高智商的下棋者来说, 记住这些符号不算什么难事.


在现代体育的发展中, 一项运动的蓬勃兴旺一定与职业化紧紧相连. 从美国NBA到欧洲足球五大联赛, 从网球、高尔夫、赛车到台球、飞镖等等,高度的职业化已经成为这些运动的助推剂. 国际象棋在欧美发达国家十分普及, 同样也是职业化程度很高的一项赛事.

但象棋却相差甚远. 亚洲象棋联合会经费短缺, 就连亚洲锦标赛都没有奖金. 而象棋世锦赛, 非华人冠军奖金也只有三四万元人民币.

胡荣华是一位象棋特级大师, 更是这项运动的推广大使, 到过很多国家推广象棋. 他告诉记者, 欧洲人是很现实的. 家长们最感兴趣的问题就是"象棋可以当饭吃吗?" 不可以, 就不学了. 在日本象棋环境也在严重萎缩. 此次来京参赛的日本选手山崎秀夫告诉记者, 因为没有什么出路, 很多学习象棋的孩子已经纷纷改学国际象棋或其他棋了.

据了解, 象棋在欧洲有一定数量的人参与. 德国有几百人会下, 意大利情况也差不多, 他们基本上都是国际象棋的职业选手. 但是真正参加象棋世界锦标赛的却寥寥无几. 一个重要原因就是赛事的奖金太低, 不足以吸引人花更多的精力用在象棋上.


对此, 胡荣华认为, 象棋发展应该立足于国内, 因为, 中国大陆是象棋发展的龙头老大, 发展好自己, 再带动其他地方. 应该走日本将棋发展之路. 将棋在日本是职业化程度很高的棋类赛事, 其职业选手的收入丰厚, 比围棋职业选手的收入高一倍. 日本有一位在一年中囊括全国7项将棋冠军的选手, 其这一年的收入为3000多万日元(约相当人民币200多万元).

日本的将棋职业化之路的确值得中国学习, 但比职业化更值得我们学习的是日本人向世界传播其民族文化的精神与执著.

日本很多年前就向世界推广柔道, 结果, 柔道最终成为了奥运会正式比赛项目. 相扑是日本的国粹, 就在今年夏天, 日本不惜重金将相扑表演带进中国的北京、上海、广州等大城市, 其规模和影响力相信人们记忆犹新.

参加本届比赛的所司先生是日本的一位职业将棋选手. 每一次到海外比赛, 他都会想办法与当地有关部门联系, 向当地的学生推广日本的将棋. 此次, 就在他全部比赛结束的当天晚上, 5名北京的学生来到他下榻的宾馆学习日本将棋. 所司的一位同行告诉我, 他做这些推广工作很多时候都是免费的. 据了解, 日本将棋协会每年都拿出相当数额的资金, 向海外介绍、传播日本的将棋. 可以说日本有一套行之有效的成功经验: 传播民族文化的强烈意识; 投入大量的精力和财力传播民族文化; 培养了一批有民族文化责任感的人. 象棋要想尽快走出华人圈, 真正走向世界, 日本的经验值得借鉴.


(这是转帖,一时间不知道谁是作者,如果任何人知道作者是谁, 请转告他我们的感谢.)



30多年前, 在美国南方乔治亚州, 有一位11岁的少年. 一天, 他哥哥从外面学了下国际象棋, 回到家教他, 很快他就下赢了哥哥. 哥哥觉得没意思, 再也不跟他下了.

少年长大参加了空军, 退役之后到加州的一个机场工作. 休息时, 偶尔会到一个海湾俱乐部找人下下棋.

一次, 一个对手问他, 是否看过棋书? 他大吃一惊: "下棋还会有书么?"
"当然. 如果你看些棋书, 会下得很不同的."

"于是在我22岁那年, 第一次翻开了一本棋书." 斯蒂芬 . 默罕默德回忆说.

又是20来年过去了, 他成了一位职业棋手. 在乔治亚州, 他的国际等级分(2390)排名第一, 多次获得州冠军, 并数次在正式慢棋赛中战胜特级大师. 他是成年以后, 完全靠自学成功的.

我一直想把他的故事写出来, 给那些成年以后才接触国际像棋的棋迷们作为参考. 之所以迟迟未动笔, 是因为前年的州杂志上刊登了他获得国际大师的报导, 当时说他是历史上第二位获国际大师头衔的黑人棋手; 而国际棋联的网页上, 他的头衔至今仍是棋协大师. 我想一定是哪个环节出了错, 比方国际棋联没有承认他参加过的某次大赛, 所得到的序分无效之类.

然而在我心目中, 他是值得尊敬的真正的大师. 我经常在比赛时见到他, 不下棋的时候笑眯眯的, 一到赛台上则全神贯注, 盯着棋盘一动不动, 活像一位得道的老僧. 当孩子不认真考虑就轻率走棋的时候, 我就会说: "你看看默罕默德, 他是怎么想棋的?"

默罕默德跟卡斯帕罗夫年纪相当. 在卡斯帕罗夫登上棋王宝座的时候, 默罕默德才开始学棋; 现在棋王已经宣布退役, 默罕默德还未实现自己的奋斗目标, ──特级大师头衔. 但他仍不松懈, 仍努力靠近这一目标. 在一个月前结束的全球挑战赛中, 他又一次战胜一位特级大师, 来自南斯拉夫、比自己年轻10余岁的 Vladimir Georgie(2563). 这次大赛,是可以计大师序分的.

作为棋手, 他的日子过得并不富裕. 要经常参赛, 就不能花太多时间和精力教棋挣钱; 而钱挣得不够, 就无法参加国际级的大赛. 但他依然目标坚定, 十分敬业和自律. 举个例子, 他是一位完全素食者, 也就是不吃任何动物原料制成的食品, 包括奶蛋和黄油制品. 在美国的餐馆、摊档里, 他几乎找不到什么东西可以当饭. 每次比赛, 都得自己准备吃的. 他不赞同许多专业棋手, 为了应付比赛的消耗, 赛前大吃大喝, 赛后再想法减下来, 这样每次体重都会实际增加, 直至超重. 所以吃喝都很小心.

相比之下, 中国一些从小一帆风顺学棋, 到30余岁就成了"老棋手"的专业人士, 不思进取, 成天喝酒泡网, 自暴自弃, 在他面前难道不应该汗颜吗?

A memorable evening of music

Many thanks to our enthusiastic contributor and music lover FP who wrote the following article immediately after attending the performance !

Virtuoso performances on Biwa, Pipa and Oud (types of lute from Japan, China, and Arabia) .

A full house at SOAS was treated to a memorable evening of music on Wednesday 18 January performed by accomplished players from Japan, China and Arabia. Music, old and new, was played and was greeted by considerable applause.

The contrasts between the various instruments were brought out by the players with pathos and emotion holding the audience enthralled.

A brilliant final piece, in which all three took part, was presented with beauty and delicacy.

I am sure that everyone left the theatre with memories to treasure.

~ by FP ~

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stories and allusions

Origin of Chu River and Han Boundary

Where is the Chu River and Han Boundary which the Xiangqi board refers to?

If you travel to Zhengzhou, a city in the Central Plains of China, from where you can take a car to Xingyang county in 30 minutes, and then drive to Guangwu Mountain, there, you can find a canyon dividing the Guangwu City into the eastern part and western part. This is the boundary separating the Chu and the Han as the historical story goes.

According to the historical material, during the Chu-Han warring period, the two armies led by Xiang Yu and Liu Bang pitted against each other. For several years, the troops of both sides were deployed in the Guangwu Mountain, but separated by the canyon. As Liu Bang had intercepted the supplies from Jiang-Hui area, Xiang Yu's men in the rear was weakly defended and his army would become an isolated force. Xiang Yu was so anxious that he wanted to challenge Liu Bang alone in single combat, in a attempt to win the victory by his individual reckless (and valiant) courage. However, he was instead confronted by Liu Bang's accusation of his ten crimes. Xiang Yu was in a rage and he without warning shot an arrow at Liu Bang, who was injured. As Xiang Yu's army was attacked in the front and rear and ran out of the supply, he had to make peace with Liu Bang. They divided the country into two states bt delimiting the canyon as the boundary line, thus "the west part belongs to the Han state and the east part the Chu state."

To remember this war, the later generations in the Tang and Song dynasties had the river on the Xiangqi board named as "Chu River and Han Boundary", which has been used till today.


The Red King and the Black King

The Red King and the Black King.

The formation of Xiangqi is closely related to the historic "Chu-Han Contest". Xiangqi pieces are divided into red and black, so also the King of each side. There is also an allusion about it.

In the early days when Xiangqi just came into the playing development, Red King used to refer to Liu Bang, and Black King to Xiang Yu, that is, red representing Liu Bang's army, black the Xiang Yu's army. The story told us that Liu Bang was leading around that time an uprising in Mangdang Mountain and one night, he slaughtered a big white snake. This story is still very popular among the people. After the snake was killed, an old lady climbing the mountain, was heard crying. When asked, she said that his son was the son of the White Emperor, changed into a snake playing in the mountain. After telling these words, the lady disappeared. This story was a suggestion that the former Qin Dynasty (which had just been destroyed) would soon be replaced by a new reign.

Since the happening of slaughtering the white snake (son of the White Emperor), Liu Bang liked to act and style himself as the son of the Red Emperor, and loved red colour very much and had all the flags changed into red.

Xiang Yu on the other hand loved black colour. His cloth, armour, and even his horse were black. 'Red King' and 'Black King' might come from it. As the Xiangqi rule stipulates, that Red King and Black King cannot face each other directly [on the same file]. In accordance with the history, during the Chu-Han wars, one day Liu Bang shouted abuse at Xiang Yu at the battlefield over the Guang Wu Mountain. He was to pay for that, for in the end, Liu Bang nearly lost his life when an arrow hit him in the eye from Chu's army.

From its formation and development, the game can be regarded as an ancient warfare on the Xiangqi board, so the Chu River-Han Boundary is named after Chu-Han contest (for the control of the country.) According to the Xiangqi rule, if both Kings are on the same file, with no piece separating them, the side who has its turn to move will win the game, as if he has the initiative to shoot an arrow at his opponent to win the battle.

~ from 'Bulletin Xiangqi' of World Xiangqi Federation

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Artists with Biwa, Pipa and Oud

Three artists with Biwa, Pipa and Oud in Lute Festival.

G and F whom I have met on a Sunday Xiangqi tournament, have let me know of a Lute's concert tomorrow. Here are the informations given to me which they wished also to pass on to people who may be interested. Perhaps the blog is of some use in this way.

Biwa, Pipa, Oud: Lute Fest!

Cheng Yu (Chinese pipa)
Ahmed Mukhtar (Arabic oud)

Wednesday 18 January, 7.00pm
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre
SOAS Thornhaugh Street, Russell Sq, London WC1X

Admission FREE, NO ticket required

These three widely recorded artists introduce the ※pear-shaped lutes§ of their cultures in a unique comparative concert. Each performer will showcase their instrument via both a traditional and a modern piece, and the evening will conclude with a short jam session.

Junko Ueda is at home both with the traditional satsuma-biwa repertoire and with the works of contemporary composers such as Takemitsu. Her teacher, Tsuruta Kinshi, was the artist for whom Takemitsu wrote his famous November Steps and Eclipse.

Ahmed Mukhtar has spent over a quarter-century mastering traditional oud techniques, while also extending the repertoire and style further in his own compositions. Raised in Baghdad, he is now based in London and studied for his MMus at SOAS.

Cheng Yu was formerly pipa soloist with Beijing ' s Central Orchestra of Chinese Music. She gained her PhD at SOAS, and currently performs and records widely in the UK and elsewhere on both pipa and the guqin seven-string zither.