Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Mr. Wen Zhu(文竹)is the "Godfather of Xiangqi in Hunan Province", he once became obsessed with Xiangqi, and "loved the game very deeply".

When Hunan's Xiangqi started to take off, out of his pocket, he personally sponsored the Provincial Xiangqi Tournament, trained a group of excellent players, and personally leading the "Hunan Troop" to compete across the country, aiming to build up a professional team. He loved the game and was willing to devote his life to it.

"Loved very much the game"

Spring rain was incessantly long, wet clothes and wet shoes, wet everything. In the Hunan Old Staff College on Rongyuan Road in the City of Changsha, a plaque with the engraved words "Hunan Xiangqi Team Training Centre" hangs in front of a building. Pushing the door open and getting in, once inside, the sound of raining gradually subsided. The visitor heard the crisp sound of wooden blocks clashing against one another ~~ inevitably Wen Zhu was playing Xiangqi with a retired old colleague.

Here was the 45-year-old Wen Zhu, with slightly gray hair on his sideburns. He was thoughtful, yet he seemed to play his move casually. In between the small areas of the chessboard, it's a chess game and it's a life.

Mr. Wang Runan (王汝南), former president of the Chinese Qi Yuan, bluntly said, "Wen Zhu changed the Hunan Xiangqi scene."

At the end of the game he had just finished, Wen Zhu poured a cup of tea for the guest and himself, and talked about his bond with Xiangqi.

Wen Zhu is a native of Fengyang, Hunan Province, the family have been farming for generations. He remembered people in the village liked to play Xiangqi in front of their houses or under the shade of a large tree, and there were always crowd of adults and children around them.

Thus Wen Zhu, who was not yet at school, already had some understanding of the move of the pieces. At the age of eight or nine, Wen Zhu became much efficient in the game, and began to be really fascinated by it.

"At that time, I used to get money from my parents, and then pick up a tractor which was passing by, got into it and went to the county seat more than 20 kilometers away just to buy a chess book to study, in this way I did spend a lot of money. Because I jumped on and off from tractors on the way to the city, I fell down from these kind of transportation several times, once breaking the ankle and had to recuperate for a few months at home, I was not deterred." For this reason, Wen Zhu was punished and scolded by his father.

Later Wen Zhu attended a middle school in the county seat. The classmates around him were no longer his equal opponents, and in order to get more serious practice, he began to play with others on the street, whereby the losers had to pay a few cents.

"I definitely lost, but if in this way I improved my game, I can consider as if just paying for my Xiangqi tuition." Wen Zhu said with a smile.

Once, Wen Zhu read in a chess magazine that there was a large tournament to be held in Leshan, of Sichuan Province. In order to see the Xiangqi masters in real person, he took some money from home and got on the train. The railway system at that time was still underdeveloped, Wen Zhu had to change trains a few times, there was traffic delay on the way too, and when he arrived in Leshan, it was already three days late, the tournament was all over already.

"The mood at that time was really indescribable, there was no other way, I could only come back home in great disappointment." When talking about this, Wen Zhu was quite emotional, even to this day. He sighed and took a sip of tea, then continued to talk about his past adventures.

Although he loved the game, his academic performance in school never fell behind, and after graduating from junior high school, he was admitted to the secondary school and successfully graduated, he then joined the Guangdong Armed Police Force.

During his three-year police career, Wen Zhu has been the champion of various Xiangqi competitions in the local force. He had not met any good opponent, in a way he felt a sort of total helplessness, nevertheless he continued to try to find stronger opposition.

Due to strict regulations, Wen Zhu rarely had the opportunity to step out of the force. Sometimes after dinner, he took two hours off in the name of meeting friends, and in fact, as soon as he got out, he went straight to his chess friends who were already gathered. After a few hours of play, it was the morning sunrise, the players dispersed one after the other. What awaited Wen Zhu was the boss's reprimand and the penalty. He was even almost expelled from the sercice.

"At that time, I dreamed of Xiangqi, just like everyone having WeChat now, and my love for the game was too deep, as if like someone intoxicated." Wen Zhu said.

"Individual contribution"

Since then, this "love" has not been lost or cleared away.

In 1993, at the age of 21, Wen Zhu was discharged from the service and later had participated in the Hunan Provincial Xiangqi Tournament, finishing in the top eight.

Due to the excellent results in various competitions and the fascination of the game itself, in 1993, Wen Zhu joined the Hunan Provincial Qi Yuan as a member and began to devote himself to the development of Xiangqi.

After 5 years of hard work, Hunan Xiangqi ushered in a milestone year in 1999. That year witnessed the birth of the "Godfather of Hunan Xiangqi".

At that time, the Xiangqi team in Hunan was not yet matured enough, and the outside world recognition was low. Wen Zhu wanted to hold a promotion event, but there was no sponsorship. With the enthusiasm of the game, Wen Zhu, who was working at Hunan TV Station at that time, took out more than 60,000 yuan of his own savings, organized the "Wenzhu Cup" Hunan Province Xiangqi Competition, bearing all the expenses for food and accomodation of the participants.

This was groundbreaking in the world of Xiangqi at that time.

Asked why, Wen Zhu said: "I just like the game, I don't care so much." ”

The tournament was a great success, giving hope for the development of Hunan Xiangqi. Wen Zhu began to serve as the vice chairman of the Hunan Provincial Qi Yuan, trying to lead Hunan Xiangqi to a broader and brighter future.

That year, Wen Zhu hosted the "Wenzhu Cup" National Xiangqi Invitational Tournament, although the strength of the participating players were not of top-level, they were nonetheless good players from various provinces, and the biggest significance of this invitation tournament was that Hunan Xiangqi started really to emerge from the ground upward. The best thing was people had the idea of learning from the experience of other advanced provinces and joining hands with the whole country.

From 1999 to 2001, Wenzhu personally funded three consecutive Hunan Provincial Xiangqi Tournaments.

"At that time, I was eager to hope that the Hunan Xiangqi team could embark on the road of professionalism." Wen Zhu, sitting in the chair, comfortably, talked about his dream back then, his voice couldn't help but raised a few degrees higher, he was still full of enthusiasm for the game like in the past.

Since then, he has also successfully held other tournaments such as the 2001 Nanyue Seven Chess King Quickplay, the 2002 "De Tailong Cup" Xiangqi Rookie Invitational Tournament, and the 2003 "Xiang An Cup" Xiangqi Master Invitational Tournament. At the same time, at the 2002 National Sports Game, Wen Zhu led the young Jiang Chuan and Xie Yejian winning two bronze medals in the Team and also in the Individual competitions.

As a result, Hunan Xiangqi began to emerge among the equal in the country.

In 2004, the first professional Xiangqi team in Hunan was established under the leadership of Wen Zhu, and participated in the National Xiangqi Second Division League.

What shocked the Xiangqi world was that the Hunan team, which made its debut in the national arena, successfully qualified for promotion to the 2005 National Xiangqi League A Division, and the dream of establishing a professional Hunan Xiangqi team was at last realized.

During this period, the Hunan Provincial Qi Yuan was also successfully created. Wen Zhu recruited a group of outstanding young players for systematic training, and since then, many well known Xiangqi players have emerged from there.

"Nurturing Human Resources"

Jiang Chuan, who won the National Individual Championship and the World Championship, is one of the players once trained by Wen Zhu.

In 2002, Jiang Chuan was only 18 years old, an unknown player at that time, through recommendation, Jiang Chuan had met Wen Zhu, without hesitation, the latter agreed for Jiang Chuan to represent Hunan professional team in the competition.

Years later, Jiang Chuan recalled: "He saw that I didn't say much, so he agreed to give me a precious opportunity to compete. ”

Why trust a fledgling young player so much? Wen Zhu said: "I saw that this young man was very smart, had a good sense of the game, and felt that he could be well trained. ”

As it turned out, Wen Zhu's feeling was right. With excellent results in the professional competition winning honours for Hunan, Jiang Chuan afterwards successfully joined the Beijing Xiangqi team in 2003 for further advance and more success.

"One of the great impressions of knowing Wen Zhu over the years is that he is really very good to the players, especially amateur and young players, he is willing to give unknown players the opportunity to become famous, and he also has keen eyes to spot players of talents. Teacher Wen Zhu also maintained that all competitions hosted under his name must provide free food and accommodation to all participants, which I have enjoyed a long time ago." Jiang Chuan said frankly.

In addition, other well known Xiangqi masters such as Sun Haoyu, Cheng Jinchao, Meng Chen, Lu Weitao, etc. have also been trained and led by Wen Zhu, as well as players such as Xie Yejian and Zhang Shenhong.

"It has always been my ideal to train more outstanding talented players and help the Hunan Xiangqi team develop and grow." After a pause, Wen Zhu with a sigh, added that unfortunately, due to many factors such as the environment and traditional background etc. of Hunan Xiangqi, the many talents carefully trained and cultivated are frequently lost to the outside provinces.

"As long as they become talented players, isn't it a good thing?" said Wen Zhu philosophically.

Today, Wen Zhu has his own business, and in addition to his busy work, he still devotes a lot of time to promoting Xiangqi.

The building with a plaque engraved with the words "Hunan Xiangqi Team Training Centre" often welcomes retired staff or young Xiangqi enthusiasts, and Wen Zhu is always willing to have a game and to talk to them.

"When I play Xiangqi, my mood is much better, I can calm down and think better as well, and the things in Xiangqi seem to have more taste and appeal than things in life." Wen Zhu continued, "A move may looks so simple, yet there are dozens or hundreds of variations to ponder and make a right choice, avoiding grave mistakes as much as possible. Things that you like will always allow you to use fully your brain power to think, to decide, and to enjoy. ”

Wen Zhu thus said, fiddling with the chess pieces on the table, the spring rain outside the window did not stop, and the sound of rain water mixed with the sound of chess pieces lightly hitting the chessboard, produced a sort of appealing summer melody.

"In the second half of this year, I am planning to hold a top tournament in the country, and the plan is still in the pipeline." Wen Zhu said, after a long pause.

As for the funds, Wen Zhu said: "The complex is here, it doesn't matter if one provided some money oneself." Since 1999, for the Hunan Xiangqi professional team, and for the holding of various Xiangqi tournaments every year, I have funded at least the sum of several millions yuan. Some people who engaged in the games will play their own economic calculations to some extent, and I may be like the philanthropist hero Lei Feng(雷锋)in this regard。Really what kind of economic account can I be calculated in my hobby? No way, I am just taking it as a fund for the public welfare!"

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Source : 蝴蝶飞的博客

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Saturday, May 27, 2023


(Ed. Li Laiqun was born in 1959, crowned Individual Champion in 1982, 1984, 1987, 1991. He was sometimes known as "Star of Multiple Wisdoms".)


Li Laiqun : "Playing Xiangqi made me feel like a swordsman (剑客), my life was full of act of chivalry."

"I am 58 years old, and now I still regard myself as a 28-year-old young man, playing Xiangqi, I have benefited a lot, my life is full of heroic act of chivalry."

On June 18, on the occasion of the Grandmaster Jiang Chuan's Xiangqi Blind Exhibition Guinness World Record Challenge, the many distinguished Xiangqi guests held a round-table forum, and the renowned veteran Xiangqi Champion Li Laiqun took to the floor and gave an interesting talk.

Grandmaster Li Laiqun recalled that when he started learning to play, there was a good old man from the neighborhood kindly teached him. In those days, he played the game after his school, not very openly, anyway the old man gave him odds of 2 Knights to start with, gradually Li's level of play improved. At the end of 1974, Li Laiqun participated in the Handan City Staff Xiangqi Competition, at that time he was still a student, and asked his father permission playing. He had high hope, was active and adventurous, he also played football and took part in other activities. Playing Xiangqi has had a profound impact on him, Li said, and later pointed out that all honours and achievements to this day have been brought by Xiangqi playing.

He said, now that he thinks about it, by learning to play the game, he learned many truths in life, from a teenager developing into a player, then into an inspired young man, on the way he won the Handan tournament a year later, after that he participated in the provincial tournament year after, in the meantime, the Hebei Provincial authority decided it was right time to build a professional Xiangqi team.

Over the years, Xiangqi has always inspired him, and he never let it down, Li said.

"My teacher one day had asked me, what are your future goals?"

Li replied, "if I decide to play Xiangqi, I have to aim to win the national championship".

It was a self-motivation deep from Li's heart. At that time, many people did believe in him, but there were also people who mocked him. He remembered it clearly, even now, the realization that if one believes and decides in doing anything worthy of doing, then let it be done without hesitation.

Back then, when he studied the Xiangqi scores of Grandmasters Yang Guanlin and Hu Ronghua, he considered them to be his long distance teacher. They inspired him. Later on Li himself in turn wrote lots of Xiangqi scores and books, and Xiangqi inspired him all his life, and that was for more than forty years.

Li said, "After 1990's, I gradually faded out of the chess scene, and some people said that I made money by going out of Xiangqi and becoming an entrepreneur. I don't think it's important what you do, the key is that the career you choose is what you like, it is a lifelong responsibility as well."

He had set up small scale enterprises, had sponsored chess team, organized competitions, and had sponsored a big tournament with the highest prize money ever offered.

Li added, "In my life of Xiangqi playing, I felt like a (medieval) swordsman, there was a certain heroic and chivalry atmosphere, I have always regarded myself as a warrior without fear, now 58 years old, and I still see myself as a 28-year-old young man."

Li added, "Playing Xiangqi brings happiness in my life, and I am also the biggest beneficiary."

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Source : Xiangqi World 2017-06-19

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


Macao's Xiangqi in recent years

Xiangqi has long been one of the popular cultural pursuits, attracting countless enthusiasts with its unique charm. In modern times, the game has developed in many other countries and across continents. Macao has hosted some large-scale tournaments, thus building bridges and links to Southeast Asia and the world.

From the colonial era to nowadays Macao Special Administrative Region, the game has maintained its attraction, produced a number of high calibre players. Among them the "Macao Qiwang" (chess king) Li Jinhuan was quite remarkable. In 2005 during the World Xiangqi Championship in Paris he single-handedly defeated China's Grandmasters Lu Qin and Liu Dianzhong, and Taipei's Wu Guilin, winning 2nd place ahead of many top world players.

Macao is a small city having deep European and Chinese influences, an area about 30 square kilometers with a population around 500,000. Though well known as a gambling city, not many residents are addicted to gambling itself. On the contrary, large number of residents like to play Xiangqi, but due to crowded environment, people are rarely invited to play at home. With folding tables and chairs, the narrow streets and alleys are the ideal playing grounds, a unique local scene in the old streets area. The city authority also built leisure centres, putting up stone tables and benches for residents to enjoy.

The few small public parks have become a paradise for Xiangqi lovers, the little triangular garden located at the junction of Taishan, Yuhan and Heisha Bay is always crowded with players, very often dozens of games are played all at the same time. The renowned Li Jinhuan played there, reputedly giving odds of 2 Knights to all comers. The first time I (the artice writer) played against Li Jinhuan in the park, I only asked to play first move, and I lost after an hour of play. Macao's other top players Liu Yongde and Xu Baokun often play in the park too, basically unbeaten. These players rarely cross the boundary to challenge one another, thus keeping good and friendly relationship.

In addition to Macao parks and streets and alleys, there are also clubs opened to Xiangqi enthusiasts, these clubs charged a cheap entrance fee for playing, the owners of these clubs are all people known in the chess circle. Masters and top players often come in the clubs, so people are more attracted to play.

As a community of associations, all organizations have to be registered before they can conduct various activities. The government allocates funds for activities that benefit residents. Macao Xiangqi Federation spares no effort to give local players more opportunity for practice. At present, the main events held every year are the Macao Xiangqi Individual Open, the Team Open, the Individual Quickplay Open and the Youth Tournament.

The Individual Open is held in March, which is the most important tournament in Macao, and players can use the event to determine their own ranking, the Xiangqi Federation uses the results of the event to decide the candidate players for the year's external tournaments.

The Team Open is held in April, which is an important event for teams and clubs to fight for prestige and reputation, it is usually a good time to recruit players to play for the teams. Those with a certain degree of ability are much in demand, they are deeply appreciated for their contribution.

The Quickplay Open was added in recent years, often held in May, with the aim of allowing players to be fluent with the fast chess format increasingly seen at home and abroad. The Youth Tournament is often held in June or July, a very important competition for young players as first step into the Xiangqi world.

In recent years, the Macao Xiangqi Federation has hosted the 7th and 10th World Xiangqi Championships, the Asian Indoor Games Xiangqi Tournament, and will host the 15th Asian Cup Xiangqi Tournament at the end of this year 2011.

The Macao Xiangqi Federation attaches great importance to external competitions, which are opportunities for local players to learn and get more practical experience. In addition to annual domestic team and individual competitions, there is also the Hong Kong-Macao Cup tournament.

The players themselves welcome all the activities, they really wanted to show off their ability. However, as we know local players are all amateur, they have their own jobs proper, their playing opportunities often restricted, the Xiangqi Federation does not have much additional fund to support for the players' days of lost earning, it can only select people who are free at the time, so that for the external competitions representatives are often not ideally of first-line players.

In order to discover and train new good players, the Macao Xiangqi Federation has been holding teaching classes all year round, conducted by Grandmaster Li Jinhuan and other top players, they also teach at some special interest classes set up by the government, the training courses are all free. However, interest classes often need to be allocated by lottery draws because of the large number of applicants, those assigned to the Xiangqi classes do not necessarily like Xiangqi, the schools themselves may lack staff resources or maybe interested in other topics, in the end not too many schools take up the Xiangqi.

All this has put further pressure to the younger generation. However once a good seedling is selected, the Xiangqi Federation will dare to throw money into training, including organizing exchange competitions in Guangdong towns and cities during the summer vacation, and inviting Grandmasters to come to give lectures in Macao. Nowadays the rapidly rising young players Chen Zhaorong, Li Henghong, Wen Xunlan are typical local figures, Chen Zhaorong has played in the Asian Xiangqi Tournament and the World Mind Sport Games, achieving acceptable results for Macao.

In addition to the competitions organized by the Xiangqi Federation, various clubs and neighborhood associations also organized competitions from time to time, for example the Federation of Trade Unions holds the "Unity Cup" competition every year, attracting many masters to participate and has become the main event for players to gain practical experience. Other organizations and clubs also hold competitions every year, the "Street Champion Cup" tournament attracted many grass roots players.

Since the 90s, outstanding players include Leung Wai Hong, Liang Bo, Xu Baokun, Chen Tianwen, Liu Yongde, Chen Yijun, Li Jinhuan, Guo Yulong, Yu Jinyan and many others, and after 2000, we have Zheng Bairong, Du Guangwei, Liang Shaowen, Huang Shichao, Chen Zhaorong, Li Henghong and more, among them Li Jinhuan has been invincible in Macao from 90s to 2000s, winning at least ten championships, he was generally acknowledged to be the "Macao Qiwang".

In view of the fact that the overall level of Macao Xiangqi has not made a breakthrough, this year (2011) Macao has obtained the service of Cao Yanlei, a young Xiangqi master from Guangdong, many people believe that the Macao Xiangqi team will be greatly strengthened, no longer to be considered as easy and weak in the eyes of the top players in the competition.

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Source : 中体象棋网

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

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Thursday, May 18, 2023


(Ed. A story by the former women's world chess champion Ms Xie Jun about her visit to France in mid October 2003, when she was participating in the Franco-Chinese chess exhibitions as part of a cultural exchange. There and then, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua became her Xiangqi teacher. The article sheds light on some aspects of Chess, Xiangqi and Weiqi (Go)'s relationship.)

Cultural Exchange in Paris

by Xie Jun

Our 8-members all stars chess delegation visited France from 11-18th October 2003 to take part in Franco-Chinese cultural exchange activities. The delegation was led by Mr. Pei Jiarong, Secretary of the Chess Academy(棋院), with top players of Xiangqi, Weiqi (Go) and Chess included.

Three different kind of games performing on the same stage at the same time was rare, it was ground breaking and has never attempted before. If you ask me what I gained most from participating in the friendly exchange activities during my stay in France, I would say that I had found a renown and respected Xiangqi coach to teach me.

A once-in-a-lifetime visit to a famous teacher

My Xiangqi coach is extremely well-known. The game of Xiangqi has been the art handed down from generation to generation, and yet how do I still need to travel to far away France to find a foreign coach to learn Xiangqi? Forget it, don't hang everyone's appetite, my new coach for the game of Xiangqi is no other than the great and amazing Grandmaster Hu Ronghua in person.

I guess when my friends at home seeing this, they will definitely say that is not possible, Mr. Hu Ronghua a player of Xiangqi to teach Ms Xie Jun Chess? Is it possible that Ms Xie Jun is tired of playing Chess, and now she wanted to change her career to Xiangqi halfway? In reality, no matter what kind of chess we play, the truth of chess playing remains the same. Often, when our chess technique and skill reaches a certain level, the player's understanding of the game is key to victory or defeat, as a proverb pointed out the essence and secret is outside of the game itself. Therefore, for a Grandmaster like Hu Ronghua, his knowledge and understanding of Xiangqi is an inexhaustible wealth, of great benefit for younger players.

In 1960 Hu Ronghua won his 1st National Xiangqi Championship at the tender age of 15, and 40 years later, he won his 14th National Xiangqi Championship in 2000. He holds the record of being the youngest champion, the oldest champion and the highest number of national championships won, so Grandmaster Hu Ronghua is definitely the most legendary player in China, and his brilliant career is a miracle in itself. When he swept through and beat his rival and opponents with brilliancy, his friends and admirers called him "Commander Hu". Nowadays he is still active on the front line aged 58, so Grandmaster Hu Ronghua has got added the title of being called an "Immortal Bird".

Since I started to play Chess, I have heard about Grandmaster Hu Ronghua's name very often, however, because the Xiangqi and Chess competitions were rarely held at the same time in the same venue together, I have not had much direct contacts with Grandmaster Hu Ronghua himself over the years. In addition to a few brief encounters at some large-scale events, the longest time we gathered together was in the festival of the 10 outstanding chess players during the 50th national anniversary in 1999. Now, to have the guidance and help of a Grandmaster of this level is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.

He remembers he met me twenty years ago

However, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua said that he had mentored me at the Beijing Chess Academy as early as the 80's in the last century, and he still remembers what I looked like at that time. Hey, this is all complaining about my bad memory, throwing such a valuable experience out of cloud nine, more than 20 years ago I was an 11-12-year-old little hairy girl (毛孩), I didn't remember what was of anything.

Because many Chess players are migrated from Xiangqi, hence I am not the only admirer of Grandmaster Hu Ronghua in our delegation. I remember when our Chess team visited Europe a few years ago, I saw my "full-time" coach Grandmaster Ye Jiangchuan holding a copy of Mr. Hu Ronghua's Xiangqi score sheet all day long during his leisure time, trying to think about and deeply concentrating. I have never seen Grandmaster Ye Jiangchuan admired anyone, even facing world Chess legend Grandmaster Kasparov, Mr. Ye Jiangchuan still went on to evaluate and analyze with an objective attitude.

However, it was different towards Mr. Hu Ronghua's chess score, and while looking at it, he would murmur : "Master, really a master, he simply understands everything in Xiangqi." Seeing that my coach was so respectful to Mr. Hu Ronghua's Xiangqi scores, I piled up a little more of admiration to "Commander Hu". This time we are together in France, I am not going to miss the good opportunity, I humbly asked Mr. Hu Ronghua to be my Xiangqi teacher coach.

Cameo performances are fun

Although the delegation's visit to Paris lasted only a short week, the daily schedule during that time was very full and the event was completely covered by the local newspapers. Exhibition matches large and small took place almost every day. Once, in order to seize the time to let the local fans and friends practice more, the Chaozhou Guild Hall, which was responsible for receiving the delegation, even set up the challenge venue in a Chinese restaurant. The enthusiasm of overseas compatriots and the degree of obsession of chess fans and friends was really very touching.

Maybe because local fans and friends want to win against the grandmasters over the board, they care about winning or losing a game quite seriously. Although these fans and friends have an objective evaluation of their own strength, in any case, the reality of repeated defeats no doubt made them feeling strange and not happy in their hearts. Thus, as hinted by my Xiangqi coach Grandmaster Hu Ronghua, and as a sort of little encouragement, our delegation launched a "cameo performance" of chess players in a timely manner, which means that when we played in exhibition with local chess fans and friends, we did not use our own professional projects, but play another discipline of game of chess.

However, don't underestimate the chess skills of these masters in the "other side of the business", Grandmaster Hu Ronghua's Weiqi at least belongs to the level of professional dan players, and coach Ye Jiangchuan's Xiangqi was excellent since he had participated in national competitions. Only me, who once won the Beijing Children's Xiangqi Championship when I was 10 years old, is not strong enough anymore, but I can still give a good game on the chessboard, which is in line with the "market demand" and is most suitable for friendlies. Although everybody's level is purely amateurish, almost all games got into the stage of both sides going back and forth, the games became more interesting, tasteful, the results of a draws also made people happy and satisfied.

Teaching by example has benefited a lot

Although our time in Paris was just one short week, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua "coached me seriously and strictly", which made me benefit greatly. For example, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua repeatedly emphasized that players should always evaluate correctly their position in actual situation, so as to maintain a normal state of mind and a clear visualization. When it comes to how players can maintain a first class competitive mood, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua's views are very inspiring to me. His experience is that players cannot blindly stay or remain in the "illusion" of their heyday glory when playing. A qualified player must not only face the practical difficulties brought about by the increasing of age, but also must constantly challenge themself and maintain a high fighting spirit and a determined desire to win. No matter what stage you are, players have to put themselves in a state of openness to continuous learning, and when you have the desire to constantly improve your skill level and the ability to improve, you will be a fighter on the board regardless of age. Grandmaster Hu Ronghua also gave an example in life, half-jokingly, saying that he was most afraid of going to some elementary schools to participate in chess activities, because the children called everyone grown up by saying "Grandpa Hu is good". This made him really older and instantly soft in heart.

Whether it were the days in the past or the days spent in Paris, whether he was happy or troubled, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua was always in rather care free mode, laughing and scolding as the world goes by, and it was difficult for outsiders to see the true feeling of his inner world from his poker face. As a battle-hardened player, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua has had experienced by himself too many victories and defeats, defeats and victories, what is valuable is that he can always maintain a peaceful and tranquil attitude both in mind and in action.

In 2002, Ms Xie Jun had just started to take up the leadership of the Beijing Qi Yuan, so she had many opportunities to consulting with Mr. Hu Ronghua, who had been president of the Shanghai Qi Yuan for many years, in terms of administrative management. From the daily routine of a manager to how to improve the training quality and competitive performance of the players, from strengthening the professional ability of staff to mobilizing the enthusiasm of everyone in the organization, Grandmaster Hu Ronghua gave me a lot of guidance and precious advice of his valuable experience.

The leading character of the lively atmosphere

Since the main task of the trip to Paris was to carry out friendly cultural exchange, our delegation also has a lot of partying and entertainment activities. When Grandmaster Hu Ronghua became my Xiangqi coach, every day at the table, lunch or evening meal, I firmly occupied the position on the left-hand side of my teacher, and Mr. Hua Yigang, secretary general of the Weiqi Association, sat on the right-hand side of GM Hu Ronghua, calling him "master brother". Every time the two of them sat at the dinner table they were definitely the leading performers of the gathering, enlivened the atmosphere as soon as one of them start to talk, the dinner table became alive, they were a pair of old urchins really. If all their jokes and wise-cracks were compiled, that would be a formidable "Paris Quotations".

Coach Hua Yigang is known as the "king of stories" in the Weiqi circle, and encouraging him talking about something is like listening to a direct commentary, and from time to time Grandmaster Hu Ronghua beat the side drum, and with Mr. Hua Yigang as partner, the two of them can always make everyone laugh when they got into singing and pretending to work out a reconciliation. Once everyone was happy, and the two leaders drank a few more glasses, it so happened that Mr. Hua had to perform a one-legged squat demonstration to prove that his drinking was under control. At that time, no one could believe Mr. Hua's words, not to mention that he was "drunk" under the influence of a few bottles of wine, as even in normal circumstances it was difficult for Mr. Hua to complete such difficult movements as squatting on one leg. But incredibly, after doing a warm-up exercise in the "imitation model", Mr. Hua actually easily squatted down with only one leg, and all of a sudden, everyone was amazed and applauded.

It seems that each of these older generation chess players has a lot of unique skills, and next time I have to find an opportunity to humbly ask Mr. Hua also to accept me as his student.

A small regret

If I have any regret with my Xiangqi coach, it is that Grandmaster Hu Ronghua said that because I came to him already having some good skill, I can only be counted as his named disciple but not to be included in the ranks of those official acceptance. Hey, then I don't have the good grace of being his closed disciple. As I much admired the "overseas" coach in Paris, I counted myself very fortunate to be taught by Grandmaster Hu Ronghua, I should not be too worried about what disciple name I am given or be known.

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Source : Hebei Xiangqi Website

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Sunday, May 14, 2023


1.  瑞典      583
2.  芬兰      526
3.  以色列    362 
4.  意大利    350
5.  挪威      268
6.  乌克兰    243
7.  比利时    182
8.  爱沙尼亚  168
9.  澳大利亚  151
10. 捷克      129
11. 立陶宛    127
12. 塞浦路斯  126
13. 克罗地亚  123
14. 亚美尼亚  122
15. 奥地利    120
16. 法国      104
17. 西班牙    100
18. 摩尔多瓦   96
19. 波兰       93
20. 瑞士       92
21. 斯洛文尼亚  78
22. 阿尔巴尼亚  76
23. 葡萄牙      59         
24. 塞尔维亚    30
25. 英国        24
26. 德国        18

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Sweden won the Eurovision Song Contest last night after a dramatic jury and audience votes :

1. Sweden 583  
2. Finland 526
3. Israel 362 
4. Italy 350
5. Norway 268
6. Ukraine 243
7. Belgium 182
8. Estonia 168
9. Australia 151
10. Czechia 129
11. Lithuania 127
12. Cyprus 126
13. Croatia 123
14. Armenia 122
15. Austria 120
16. France 104
17. Spain 100
18. Moldova 96
19. Poland 93
20. Switzerland 92
21. Slovenia 78
22. Albania 76
23. Portugal 59         
24. Serbia 30
25. United Kingdom 24
26. Germany 18

Friday, May 12, 2023


第67届欧洲歌唱大赛决赛将于明日星期六(五月十三日)在英国利物浦举行。BBC One 及 iPLayer 将首次进行现场直播。



以下是全部参加明日歌唱大赛决赛入围名单, 号码顺序根据抽签 :

1.  奥地利	
2.  葡萄牙
3.  瑞士	
4.  波兰	
5.  塞尔维亚
6.  法国	
7.  塞浦路斯	
8.  西班牙	
9.  瑞典	
10. 阿尔巴尼亚	 
11. 意大利	
12. 爱沙尼亚	
13. 芬兰	
14. 捷克共和国	
15. 澳大利亚	
16. 比利时	
17. 亚美尼亚	
18. 摩尔多瓦	
19. 乌克兰	
20. 挪威	
21. 德国	
22. 立陶宛	
23. 以色列	
24. 斯洛文尼亚	
25. 克罗地亚	
26. 英国

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Eurovision Song Contest 2023

The grand final of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest will be held tomorrow Saturday (May 13) in Liverpool, England. BBC One and iPLayer will broadcast live for the first time.

37 countries participated in the semi-finals, seeking 20 selected places. The semi-finals, divided into two groups, were successfully held on Tuesday of May 9th and Thursday of May 11th respectively.

6 countries are automatically entered for the final, they are UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and last year's champion Ukraine.

Here is a list of all the finalists who are going to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest tomorrow :

1.  Austria	
2.  Portugal
3.  Switzerland	
4.  Poland	
5.  Serbia
6.  France	
7.  Cyprus	
8.  Spain	
9.  Sweden	
10. Albania	
11. Italy	
12. Estonia	
13. Finland	
14. Czech Republic	
15. Australia	
16. Belgium	
17. Armenia	
18. Moldova	
19. Ukraine	
20. Norway	
21. Germany	
22. Lithuania	
23. Israel	
24. Slovenia	
25. Croatia	
26. United Kingdom

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Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Mauritius first in Best Nature Destinations

Mauritius was named to TripAdvisor's 2023 Travellers' Choice list

TripAdvisor, one of the top travel and booking platforms, has announced its Travellers' Choice Awards list of the world's best destinations. Mauritius was ranked first on the Best Nature Destinations list and third on the Popular Destinations list.

The list is based on the ratings, number and content of hotels, restaurants, attractions, booking data etc. of the past 12 months, reflecting the popularity of major travel destinations around the world. The Travelers' Choice Grand Prize is TripAdvisor's highest honor and is awarded annually to the top 1-% of destinations in a given category.

Port Louis, the modern capital of Mauritius, is a bustling port with a vibrant seaside and busy markets. Most tourists are attracted to resorts such as Mont Choisy, popular with divers, the quiet Trou-aux-Biches and the more bustling Flic en Flac. The Rivière Noire is ideal for experiencing deep-sea fishing.

Being able to get close with marine life is one of the main reasons why Mauritius topped the list of natural destinations in the world. With its natural convenience, from whale watching to swimming with dolphins, at the same time these animals are being protected by law from being driven out or disturbed, allowing them to swim past swimmers without fear. In addition to the sea and its famous beaches, Mauritius is also blessed with mountains and valleys, streams and waterfalls. These natural advantages make Mauritius the best travel destination for a wide range of outdoor activities.

The multiculture of Mauritius also attracts tourists from all over the world. Different cultures complement each other in the land, forming a unique color belonging to the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean". During the festivals of different cultural backgrounds, visitors can join the enthusiastic Mauritians in the celebrations, taste traditional cuisine and experience the vitality and charm of various communities. The blend of cultures allows visitors to enjoy a rich and unique and memorable travel experience.

The Tourism Agency is carrying out a global promotion under the theme "Feel our Island Energy", from the humble perspective of the ordinary residents, inviting visitors to come and visit the island. The publication of the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice list is undoubtedly a recognition of the tourism resources of Mauritius. The vibrant Mauritius will also make every visitor feels at home with greater and warmer friendly enthusiasm.

Source : Tencent Website

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Thursday, May 04, 2023

On Chess and Study

The perfect combination of chess and school learning

Ding Liren(丁立人)was born into a middle-class family, his father was an executive in the energy sector, his mother in a nursing profession. Life was fairly comfortable, they have time and motivation to pursue their hobbies and things they wanted to. Ding's development as a chess player was step by step, during which his parents did not need making too great a sacrifice to help their child learn chess, unlike many families at that time, nor had they narrowed their child's future to just playing chess only. They gave support and guidance to their young child when it was needed and always at the right moment.

Previously, generations of players who earned their living have had one option only, that if they want to succeed in the game, to give up normal school life early on to just concentrate on their chess. Most of them had not experienced life in junior high school or high school, which is quite regrettable. At the same time, many of them when leaving their homes early on to study chess in far away places, without their parents by their side, facing a lot of pressure in training, in never ending competitions, added to these they also had to endure isolation and great psychological hardship.

This is where Ding Liren and many other children who will be engaged in a chess career are lucky nowadays, they can learn step by step at home like other ordinary students, and pursue chess projects that they are passionate about, which was almost unimaginable before. In the next few lines, Ding Liren is to talk about some of his experiences in chess study and normal school learning, hoping that other children and parents can draw some helpful conclusion.

How often Ding study chess and how much opportunities to participate in chess as a child

When Ding Liren was a child, he learned chess like most children, basically attending special classes three times a week, on Saturdays and Sundays from 2p.m. to 5p.m., and on Wednesday evenings. The content of the class were generally that the teacher first gave lectures, and then arranged game-playing exercises, each side has a time limit of about one hour, and immediate reviews of the game after playing, and finally they got 3 to 4 tactical exercises to solve for their homework.

At that time, the main competition that the children could be participating in was the Li Chengzhi Cup, plus some other local children's competitions in Wenzhou. In the third grade, because of his excellent performance in the competition, Ding was admitted to the Zhejiang Provincial Team for advanced training. However, during the first six months of the year, only chess training were given, with nothing like cultural lessons taught, and when Ding's mother went to visit him, she was of the opinion that this was not an ideal situation, and promptly decided to bring her child home to continue his normal schooling. From then on until 2009, when Ding won the national championship at the age of 17 and started his chess career path, he carried on attending schooling on weekdays, chess training on weekends, and more training with the provincial team before a competition.

Attending junior and high school was a much more severe test

During the junior high school, Ding pursued his chess study after finishing his school homework every day. By the second and third years of junior high school, the academic pressure was increasing more and more, Ding felt that playing chess was much easier than going to school. If he could choose by himself, he very much wanted to go for chess because that would avoid the heavy homework every day, and that he need not have to deal with frequent difficult tests and exams too. But Ding's mother stood firm and insisted he must finish his junior high school first.

After going to high school, Ding was getting more tiresome of studying, he had a full schedule every day, had to complete a lot of homework when he went home, thus he had very little time at his disposal. Unlike his friends in the provincial team, their training is not so strict and severe, and if they sleep a little late at night, they can still have free time at their disposal. At that time, it happened that the chess performance of Ding was always excellent, in Li Chengzhi Cup competition he can easily win a top three ranking with confidence. By comparision the junior and senior high school tests and exams are very stressful and sometimes can even cause a failure, so it was really not easy to choose school studying and to persist into it.

Although it was very difficult to play chess well and to study at the same time during the three years in junior high school, Ding was fortunate that due to his excellent performance in both schooling and chess, he was accepted to a leading high school. During the time at high school, in order to be able to carry on playing chess, the families of several outstanding young chess players in Wenzhou City got together and decided to set up a small "family club". The members met every weekend to play chess at an agreed location, usually they and the families having a meal together after a full day of game practice and analysis. Occasionally they held competition among themselves, with prizes and rewards prepared and offered by the parents for the young chess players, sometimes the prizes can be as high as 1,000 yuan, which is a great encouragement. After a year of perseverance, these young chess players have made good and great progress. Among them, Wang Chaoran successfully passed the entrance exam of Peking University Winter Training Camp, and Jia Haoxiang and others later became professional chess players and competed in the National League Category A.

The sweet and bitterness of playing chess

Ding Liren's early chess playing was smooth and did not encounter any difficulties. His secret was to be eager to play and be open in style whenever possible, his parents never put pressure on him, so he plays chess actively and never be afraid of facing his opponents. Winning the national championship in 2009 was one of Ding Liren's most satisfying achievements to date (6 wins and 5 draws in 11 high level games, in 4 of which there were spectacular piece sacrifices). Winning the national championship also laid the foundation for his career path advancement.

However, after participating in the First Division's League competition, the results were not satisfactory, mainly because he was a bit confused of his own strength standing. Facing opponents whom he was afraid of before, now the situation has changed where he has a thinking that he should be able to beat them, yet the result was a bitter loss, and he couldn't bear the huge gap psychologically and wanted to have a pause or even to escape chess. At that time, Ms Xu Yuhua was the coach of the Zhejiang team, and she suggested that Ding should stick to the game anyway, he should go out to do some exercises, and he should not back down because of fear or adversity. So Ding Liren summoned up the courage to play the last game for his team, but unfortunately it backfired and still ended in a defeat. Really no one in competitive sports is a victorious general all the time, and learning to face defeat is a compulsory course for chess players.

Ding Liren frankly said that the real cruelty and pain of playing chess can only be experienced after engaging in the profession. In the past, when he played chess while still learning at school, he didn't care so much, but now that playing chess is everything, it's not so easy to let go after defeat. In the face of losing, his solution was to come back to it and summarize and analyse the game, to accumulate more experience and then participate in the next games and to start all over again. When the mood is particularly sombre, look back on the previous wonderful matches, see how imposing and convincing you have won, and cheer yourself up.

At a critical point to choose playing chess or to go to school

Many middle school chess players face an important choice, that is, what situation is suitable for choosing a career playing chess, and for what kind of students to better choosing further study. Ding Liren believes that this was not so easy to define, as it is mainly based on their personal feelings and circumstances. He suggested that if they really like playing chess, they may consider choosing to play chess regardless of other things, because after all, professional chess players later can turn into excellent coaches and earn a good living. Of course, it is good also to choose to be at school for academic study, however, students with other pursuits and interests may also consider to follow their hearts and the family wishes. In Ding's opinion, learning and studying make people efficient and good at thinking, especially when learning and studying subjects like mathematics, physics etc, they will think of researching when they encounter problems, which is more or less similar to chess playing.

A little advice for young chess players

I've been playing chess since I was a kid, said Ding Liren, and I'm not very good at traps or anything underhand. If you much inclined to take the routine of speculative checking the opponent's King when you start learning chess, it is not very good. When I was young, I encountered professional chess players with a more systematic opening, and I kept playing the Lieji Defense (?) 1.Nf3 2.g3 in order to get out of the book. Until one day for the first time at Li Chengzhi Cup I began to play d4, and from then on I learned a lot about the opening of d4, I began to understand the opening system is something solid, which is a necessary condition for going further in the game's development. If you want to play chess well, there is no short cut, you still have to go right at the very beginning. There are many branches of the opening system. Choosing an unorthodox or untried opening (the left-hand side door in popular saying) from a small age, it will be of limited range of use in the future. By the way, before a game, one can do solving some tactical problems or puzzles, or playing some fast chess games online, all these can be helpful. It's like warming up for the mind, and for relax.

+ + + +

Source : Sina Website, Authors: Chaoyue Chess Club

Dated: 10th October 2020

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~