Monday, July 31, 2023


Results of "Jishi Media" North-South Confrontation

In the 7th version of the 2023 "Jishi Media - Liwang Cup" Xiangqi National Championship North-South Confrontation Tournament, the South team beat the North 3-1. The South has now won 5 times against North 2 times in the series.

In terms of personal records, the South team Zhao Xinxin won all his 4 games in 4 rounds, with Lu Qin 3 wins and 1 defeat, Sun Yongzheng 2 wins and 2 defeats, Xie Jing lost all his games.

The North team with Hong Zhi 3 wins and 1 defeat, Wang Tianyi 2 wins and 2 defeats, Jiang Chuan 1 win and 3 defeats, Wang Yang 1 win and 3 defeats.

Zhao Xinxin has been in excellent form recently, he has been crowned champion of the Pan An Weiye Cup, a winner-member of the team competition, he also came out second in the Asian Games selection. Wang Tianyi has not been in good performance since the Asian Games selection, in the north-south competition he is not in a good mood.

Zhao and Wang having tied in the normal slow games, they went for the tie-break. Wang Tianyi sacrificed his Rook to grab the attack, missed several good opportunities, Zhao Xinxin counter-attacked and won in the end.

The old veteran Lu Qin is still impressive, he defeated Wang Yang with the Black pieces. In the previous rounds, he defeated Wang Tianyi and Jiang Chuan, and nearly defeated Hong Zhi, but missed several good opportunities.

As one of the top players in the Xiangqi Hall of Fame, Lu Qin is known for his short and sharp, fast and lightning attacking style.

Jiang Chuan and Xie Jing have respectively lost in their first three rounds. They met in this final round. The normal slow and fast games were tied, and so they got into the sudden-death stage. Xie Jing opened with a rarely seen Balanced Cannons in the Opening, but Jiang Chuan was cool and steady, he firmly took the counter initiative early, and in the middle game formed a powerful offensive of the Central Cannon. Faced with an unfavorable situation, Xie Jing came out for a final battle, and after the exchange of Cannons, his Knight was trapped by Jiang's Rook. Xie has no alternative but to admit defeat, and Jiang Chuan won the game.

On another table, Hong Zhi quickly defeated Sun Yongzheng. Hong Zhi was the best player in the Northern team, with 3 wins and 1 defeat.

+ + + +

Source : Qipu88

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Tuesday, July 25, 2023


Jishi Media - Liwang Cup : North versus South 2023

The 7th "Jishi Media(吉视传媒)- Liwang Cup(力旺杯)" Northern team versus Southern team 2023 will be held in the Cultural Square of the City of Changchun(长春市), from July 27th to 30th. The total prize fund is 400,000 yuan, with 250,000 for the winning team, and 150,000 for the other team.

The opening ceremony will be held a day earlier on Wednesday 26th. Each team consists of 4 players. The tournament format basically is for each side to take 60 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds added for each move. If after the scheduled 4 rounds, the scores are even, there will be tie breaks of faster moves and shorter times to separate the teams.

Schedule of the 4 rounds tournament :

26th : Registration and opening ceremony

27th : 1st round

28th : 2nd round

29th : 3rd round

30th : 4th round

The organizers to cover the travel and accommodation expenses of the participating players.

8 Xiangqi champions are invited to participate. The northern team players include: Wang Tianyi(王天一), Jiang Chuan(蒋川), Hong Zhi(洪智), and Wang Yang(汪洋). The southern team players are: Lu Qin(吕钦), Zhao Xinxin(赵鑫鑫), Xie Jing(谢靖), and Sun Yongzheng(孙勇征).

Grandmaster Zhao Xinxin, who has just won the Pan'an Cup, has become the top card of the southern team, can he continue the good momentum of the Pan'an Cup and make contributions to the team?

Lu Qin, a veteran master of Xiangqi, five-time champion and the guiding light of Yangcheng(羊城), is the leader of the southern team, his strength is still there, when necessary, he dares to strike lightning fast and hard.

Shanghai's Sun Yongzheng and Xie Jing are the backbones of the southern team's attack and defense. In terms of strength, although the south is not at full force due to the absence of Zheng Weitong(郑惟桐), who is busy for his post-graduate thesis, it is not to be underestimated.

The northern team is led by the ranking number one player Wang Tianyi, nicknamed 'man from the outer galaxy', who played well in every north versus south tournament. With an average of four wins or 3 wins and 1 loss, he is the anchor of the team.

Jiang Chuan is another important figure in the northern team, the jade-faced Buddha is really amazing, not long time ago he won the Xie Xiaxun Cup. The two players could tilt the balance of power. Together with Hong Zhi and Wang Yang, the two heroes from Hubei, the north team has indeed reached a high level.

+ + + +

Source : Go to Qipu88

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Sunday, July 23, 2023


Know Yourself And Know Your Opponents

Hao Jichao(郝继超)has various nicknames: Brother Belt, Social Man, Longjiang Dalang. His chess career has had many twists and turns, plenty of interesting anecdots and funny tales, including a paper strip incident with veteran Grandmaster Wan Chunlin(万春林).

In a 1st Division Xiangqi League of 26-rounds, Hao had 8 wins, 18 draws and no defeat, this amazing result led many people commented that "it seems not to come from the human brain", so there was a fierce debate about whether Hao is a human or a machine.

Hao Jichao is a controversial figure indeed, he has not studied from a Xiangqi teacher proper. When as a child, he got hold and memorized two Xiangqi books, which can be regarded as learning the game more than seriously. Unlike other young and promising chess players, he was educated only up to junior high school level. Unlike most players who sit and talk and study the game in the hard way, Hao Jichao like to make new friends, go to clubbing, good at playing billiards, independent minded, acting in a way to sort right from wrong...

A piece of paper caused lots of questions: Can people get out of the "devil moves"?

Back to 2017, for the Heilongjiang team, it was an ordinary round in the 1st Division League, free of the worry of relegation, the players were under no much pressure, it was time to enjoy a good competitive game, however things were disturbed by Wan Chunlin.

Speaking of which, Wan Chunlin and Hao Jichao have a difference of 16 years gap, when Wan got into the Shanghai team as a professional player in 1984, Hao was not even born.

Hao recalled the incident : As soon as he entered the tournament hall, he handed me a note saying : "I will give you some written lines to the effect like this - I know very well about your use of chess software, if you beat me today, that will be a watershed in your life."

Hao Jichao recalled : "His rank is a Grandmaster, I didn't expect such a move from him. I was angry and a little confused too, pondering whether to give the note to the arbiter or to Mr. Zhao (Grandmaster Zhao Guorong, member and coach of the Heilongjiang team), then Wan Chunlin told me to give him the note back, I said I wouldn't return it, our voices became louder, almost quarrelsome, just at that moment the light suddenly went out, he took the opportunity to snatch the note back.”

"Actually, Wan Chunlin and I didn't play chess much, I beat him when I was a master in 2009, and then we drew 2 games in the League 2011, three games played in total. I don't know why he did this, it was an attack on my personality. I didn't go outside, but he went out twice during the game, though the final result was a draw." Hao Jichao said.

Hao Jichao continued : "Before the competition, the security guard took the detector to scan twice, and I was not allowed to bring any electronic equipment or my mobile phone inside, even my ears were checked by doctors, and I had avoided suspicion and tried not to go to the toilet." In the end, they said that I implanted the chip in my brain, then alas I really can't respond, let's settle the truth on the chessboard. I respect every opponent, but I'm not afraid of anyone.”

Speaking of which, Hao Jichao's most admired Xiangqi players are Lu Qin(吕钦)and Hong Zhi(洪智), because "Lu Qin's chess is crafty, there is always a stroke of genius, Hong Zhi's chess dares to attack, he has the courage to give it a go when it is most critical. Anyway, there is a reason why I can make some unexpected moves..."

There are many ways to become a Grandmaster, Hao Jichao's road is to make it out by himself

In fact, what Wan Chunlin didn't know was that Hao Jichao, who grappled the note with him, was once good at combat. "When I was a child, playing chess was just fun for me, I didn't expect to become a professional player." Hao said.

Unlike most players who have the chance of learning from a Xiangqi teacher, Hao Jichao has never got properly taught. As we all know, Zhao Guorong studied under Wang Jialiang(王嘉良), so the chess style of two generations of "Siberian Tigers" is continuous, impervious to wind and rain, while Hao Jichao's chess is strange, hard to recognize, so he appreciates the craftiness in Lu Qin's chess style.

"My family is in rural Longjiang County, Qiqihar City, and when I was 13, my family moved to Daqing, and my parents became ordinary workers in the oil extraction plant." Hao Jichao had for years having no job, and when the national amateur xiangqi tournament was held during the year 2005, he had the good opportunity to play against the Xiangqi master Jing Xueyi(景学义), in the end he lost the game.

One day after the tournament, Hao Jichao received a call from Jing Xueyi himself, "Do you want to come to my Kailuan coal mining team?" In this way, the Longjiang guy who had the idea that "playing chess is also a way of getting a living", rolled up his sleeves and went to become a Tangshan man. "I was very impressed, my first month salary at Kailuan was 670 yuan."

Coach Jing is my enlightenment teacher. At that time, Hao Jichao was of 20 years old.

Zhao Guorong once said that studying the opening game is the key for players to improve themselves, because in the endgames, masters players deal more or less in the same way. However, because Hao Jichao did not learn from any Xiangqi teacher early on, he turned to study a variety of openings with the help of computer software, though the endgame was his weakness point. "They say my moves are like software, because I learn 90 percent of my chess with computers. In 2003, there was a software called Qiyin, I used that to review and analyse my games, I have to find out where I lost, and why, I have never lost twice in the same situation.”

Over the chessboard, know yourself and know your opponents. Grand Master teapot can cook dumplings

Hao Jichao knew his weakness : "This year I have a chess game, the opponent was Zhao Jincheng(赵金成), I got Rook and 2 Pawns against Rook and Pawn, and due to time pressure I did not win. To be honest, my basic skills are not up to standard, having no teacher, no one has taught me the endgame technique.” "I have had a good life, though, and I play well every time I play in competition." Since Hao Jichao participated in amateur competitions, he can at least score among the top three ranks every time, in fact, the meaning of this is that he has good psychological quality and is a competition-type player. With the prize bonus alone, he supported himself well during his 6 years in Tangshan. In 2010, Zhao Guorong invited him home. "Actually, in the end, it was Teacher Zhao who brought me back to hometown, I am very thankful to him." Hao Jichao said.

In the end, Hao Jichao won 5 games and drew one in six rounds of the Asian Games this year, coupled with a 65.4% win rate in the League, he proved his strength with an undefeated record for everyone to see. For this result, Hao Jichao light-heartedly said: "The strongest chess player in the Vietnamese team did not come, so I think I won within a limit."

Speaking of which, the newly promoted Grandmaster seemed a little spoiled, "For me to go to work from 8am to 5pm, I really can't stand it, as a chess player my life looks a bit lethargic, fortunately, as Mr. Zhao is also a chess player, he understands me well, he does not force on me about my working routine, I live according to my own tempo, my chess training has never been lacking behind. I am quite satisfied with my life now, and I like to play the game.”


+ + + +

Source : Qipu88

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Sunday, July 16, 2023


Man with a pinch of hair plays super-fast Xiangqi

Deng Rujun(邓如军)is a good amateur player in the Guangxi Xiangqi circle, and recently become famous for playing ultra-rapid and blitz chess against lots of masters across the country. Deng Rujun has grown sparse hair on one side of his face thus nicknamed 'a pinch of hair'(一撮毛)or 'Brother Mao'(毛哥), and over time, his real name was little known. Brother Mao is good at fast chess, especially three-minute, one-minute ultra-fast chess. Extreme fast and rapid reaction helped him not to fall behind in the duel with his many famous opponents, and even dominated them with advantage.

It was talked about in the Xiangqi circle that Brother Mao has defeated two advanced students of Grandmaster Liu Dahua in consecutive matches (five games against Xiangqi Master Wang Xingye and three games against Xiangqi Master Zhao Ziyu), and more players will come over one after another, and the excitement is building up ahead of the confrontations! It seems that the professional masters all have to pay a tuition fee to Brother Mao, how are the master players going to react to the situation? It's anybody guess. What's more, several of Brother Mao's major agents have also rushed in to support him, including Mr. Wang Jiang(王疆), the Xiangqi coach of Lin Huiyu(林辉宇), it seems that it is difficult for the masters to pluck the hair, and the longer this hair grows, the more lush it is!

Xiangqi Master Chen Fujie has failed miserably the night before. The net loss of twelve games shocked the Xiangqi world, and Mao Ge's troop has reached Grandmaster Xu Yinchuan's camp last night. Chen Fujie got defeated on the opposite bank of river Lijiang(丽江)and lost the sum of 18,000 yuan. The heavyweight of the Guangdong Xiangqi team was greatly enraged, they immediately ordered that the frontline players to be fully ready, to recover the lost ground at any cost and win back their dignity.

Mao Ge is quite strong and full of confidence, he has defeated several well-known masters. Only Wei Qiang(蔚强)avoided defeat and drew with him.

Worthy to mention, because in the past few days, Wang Xingye(王兴业), Zhao Ziyu(赵子雨), Su Shaofeng(宿少峰), Chen Fujie(陈富杰)and other Xiangqi masters all lost to Mao Ge, so a top player in the professional world of super fast chess was requested to step forward to meet the man with a pinch of hair.

Now comes the battle hero Zhao Jincheng,

He shows his generation's great strength.

With forceful youth and fierce attack,

Brother Mao's approach must be so re-adjust,

Should not do anything arbitrary or carefree,

Non-stop combats can cause lack of fitness,

Ahead are higher mountains and higher peaks.

Xiangqi master Zhao Jincheng(赵金成)crushed Guangxi's Mao Ge, and won back some prestige for the professional team.

Though defeated he is still stunning and glory,

Many masters got the lessons while he went far.

Reached in front of the gate of the God of War,

It is acceptable to lose to better players.

Good games always astound people up and down,

As good things are bound to come to the ground.

Too tiresome really that of continuous battles,

Not to lament, shining reputation been all around!

+ + + +

Source : 孔广锡过宫炮的博客

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

+ + + +

Sunday, July 09, 2023


Hu Ronghua, A Legendary Figure

Grandmaster Hu Ronghua is a legendary figure in the history of Xiangqi - the youngest national champion at the age of 15, the oldest at age of 55, champion 14 times, and 10 times consecutive champion. This is unprecedented. Here are some anecdotes about Hu Ronghua, nicknamed "Commander Hu"(胡司令).

1. Where did this nickname come from?

It turned out that there was an old-timer in the Shanghai chess world named Xie Xiaxun(谢侠逊), who worked as a supplement editor in a newspaper before liberation, and in the early 30s of the last century, Xie Xiaxun won the championship in a national competition, so he telegraphed the whole country in the supplement of the newspaper, proclaiming himself the Commander of Xiangqi, and then appointed leading players in different areas as army commanders and divisional commanders. It was a light hearted fun, for a while, everyone called Xie Xiaxun "Xiangqi Commander".

In the mid-70s, Hu Ronghua had already achieved fame, and once at Xie Xiaxun's 80th birthday banquet, Xie solemnly announced : "I am old, and this position of 'Xiangqi Commander' should belong to Hu Ronghua."

At that time, because the audience hearing this announcement was not large enough, it was not circulated in society.

Half a year later, the model stage play "Shajiabang"(沙家浜)became popular, among which the character Hu Chuankui(胡传魁)"Commander Hu" was even more famous. A certain Xiangqi fan, who was slightly older than Hu Ronghua, felt that calling Hu Ronghua "Xiao Hu" seemed to be disrespectful, and calling Hu Ronghua "teacher" not that correct in terms of seniority, so he jokingly called Hu Ronghua "Commander Hu". Now not only the entire chess world calls Hu Ronghua "Commander Hu", but even the leading figures of the Municipal Sports followed the trend and call Hu Ronghua "Commander Hu" when they met.

2. Righteousness and Courage

Then the Cultural Revolution began. Hu Ronghua, who was in his early twenties, once went to Anhui on a business trip, and it took three hours to change trains in Bengbu(蚌埠).

Unexpectedly, Hu Ronghua saw a Xiangqi stall, with 5 or 6 "Jianghu endgames"(江湖残局)displayed on the ground, with many people crowded around. Hu Ronghua squeezed himself into the crowd, and felt someone tapped him on the shoulder, it turned out to be a man with a northeast regional accent, the latter had saw someone moving behind Hu Ronghua, he kindly reminded Hu : "Put your schoolbag in front." At that time, it was popular for business travelers to carry army-style school bags. Hu Ronghua then being alerted, discovered that the strap of the school bag had been opened, fortunately the contents had not been lost, so Hu Ronghua was thankful to the Northeast man.

It happened the northeast man was also a Xiangqi fan, he wanted to play a game. A two-cent registration fee was needed, if players are successful, they will be rewarded with one yuan. Pity that the Northeast man skills were not good enough, after a while, he lost seven or eight games in a row, he was very depressed, cursing himself silently.

Hu Ronghua told his new acquaintance : "I will play for you, if I lose, I will pay, while the winning bonus will go to you." The man was very happy and said : "Okay, quick help me turn the luck."

Hu Ronghua won two end games in a row. He got up and wanted to leave, but the stall owner said: "The two end games you won are the easiest, according to the rules here, you must win the third end game. If the 3rd end game failed, your 2 yuan will be confiscated; If the game is successful, the prize for you is 10 yuan."

Hu Ronghua didn't want to try again, but he couldn't stand the instigation of the northeast man. The stall owner saw Hu Ronghua's "timidity", so he chuckled and said: "If you don't dare to play, I will refund you two cents of the registration fee." The young Hu Ronghua took up the challenge : "Let's play, nobody is afraid of anybody here!"

The stall owner set up the most "violent and dangerous" Rook-Pawn endgame of "Seven Stars"(七星局). This kind of endgame is full of schemes and intrigues, traps after traps, even if you overcame them all, you still have to fight the endgame with skills and techniques till the end, it can be said that this is the stall owner's "housekeeping secret weapon" to ensure that he can "only enter but not exit" (the money). However this time the stall owner miscalculated, the crowd saw Hu Ronghua as if riding a light carriage, his hand gestured fluently and swiftly, and after a while, he checkmated the stall owner in a rapid, exciting combinations.

In the end, Hu Ronghua won this end game that should have been a draw with his superb skills. At that moment, someone suddenly shouted "the police are coming", Hu Ronghua and the northeast man both taken aback, but there were no police at all. In fact there were five or six people helping the stall owner putting away the chess stall and fled in a hurry. The northeast man wanted to give chase, and Hu Ronghua said: "There are many strong people, even if we chase them, we can't get the money back." The story of Commander Hu's "righteous and courageous deeds" ended with his loss of two cents.

3. Learn from the pass and strife for innovation

During the Cultural Revolution, Hu Ronghua learned the game Weiqi, Chess and Taijiquan(太极拳). Later, his Weiqi level reached the first-class amateur level in Shanghai, and Chess was at the level of accepting first move against top players, only taijiquan was judged to be out of the ranking by martial arts teachers.

At that time, some people criticized Hu Ronghua for learning to play Weiqi and Chess as "not being serious", but in a way, Hu Ronghua later on had borrowed the ideas of Weiqi and Chess and created a new avenue in the opening theory of Xiangqi.

Generally speaking, in the opening, when the central cannon is played, except for capturing or for defense, it is rarely displaced by itself, and there is no precedent for taking the initiative to displaced it when there is no danger coming. But there is a way to access gains and losses in Weiqi called "to dissect". In short, it is to re-interpret the game by changing the move order, so as to achieve the goal of rapid recognition of gains and losses. Hu Ronghua just saw that after taking the initiative to displaced the cannon, although a move was wasted, it was similar to making another new opening, and in that opening, the opponent's knight was in a bad position, and at least two or three moves needed for adjustment to reach the normal state. Later, Hu Ronghua's method of actively displacing the cannon was quickly imitated by the Xiangqi community and became popular, and its theoretical basis was the "dissecting" use of Weiqi.

In addition, as the rook in Xiangqi is the strongest piece, the general method of play is always to quickly get it out for battle readiness. But once in a match between Hu Ronghua and the famous Guangdong veteran player Yang Guanlin, Hu actually played the rook to the 3rd column, behind the double obstacle of the knight and the pawn, which surprised everyone in the Xiangqi circle. But Hu Ronghua immediately exchanged the pawn, brought out the knight, and reveal the rook in an invincible formation, and finally defeated Yang Guanlin. Afterwards, Hu Ronghua disclosed that this game moves were borrowed from the tactics of Chess. Because whenever a passage is to be opened, the chess rook is to hide behind the pawns, and then support the pawns to rush forward, once the minions are eliminated, the rook immediately occupies the vital route and becomes the key force. And this game of Hu versus Yang Guanlin's opening, Hu had assessed that the column will be the main battle ground that both sides must fight for, sooner or later it will be opened, so posting the rook behind the knight and pawn is just a "precaution", and after the rushing and clashing of the troops, the posted rook naturally shows its true power.

Now this move has become a classic example in the opening play.

Hu Ronghua also has another classic game that drew benefits from Taijiquan's theory of "late strike". In 1974, at the National Xiangqi Tournament in Chengdu, Hu Ronghua's opponent was Meng Liguo of Northeast region. His style was fierce, good at direct confrontation and clash, well known as the "Siberian tiger". Hu Ronghua made a plan to use Tai Chi to deal with the Siberian tiger before the start of competition.

As a result, the game completely went into the path designed by Hu Ronghua. Although the "Siberian Tiger" took advantage of the first move and was really fierce, Hu Ronghua adopted the most treacherous and unforgiving "turtle back's cannon"(龟背炮)opening, and pulled all the two cannons and two rooks on the inner side of the chessboard, and fought a protracted battle with Meng Liguo to "lure the enemy deep". Sure enough, Meng Liguo, who could not get his attack flowing for a long time, exposed a slight flaw that was not easy to detect, and Hu Ronghua immediately fired his two cannons and released his two rooks for a concentrated attack, capturing one of Meng Liguo's knights alive, and all the time Hu Ronghua's forces did not cross the river. On the twenty-eighth move, as soon as one of Hu Ronghua's knights crossed the river, Meng Liguo immediately threw in the towel. This game illustrated how to completely annihilate the invading enemy inside one's own territory, and it is still a unique classic game until now.

4. A bottle of the Moutai

25 years ago, when Hu Ronghua went to Guizhou to compete in a tournament, the leader of Guiyang City gave Hu Ronghua as a gift a bottle of authentic Moutai wine that had been matured for more than ten years. Hu Ronghua has always kept it in the cupboard and was reluctant to open it, even when he won the national championship once again at the age of 55, when several students urged him to open it to celebrate, Hu Ronghua said: "Such a long-standing Moutai wine is unique in the world, it is such a pity to open and drink it."

In the first National Xiangqi League last year, Shanghai team was three points ahead of the second-placed Guangdong team leading to the last three rounds, and it seemed that winning the championship was a foregone conclusion, but the young players of Shanghai team saw that the championship was nearly in hand, they got too excited and emotional, they could not play calmly, they drew with the bottom two teams in two consecutive rounds, now if they falter and tie with Beijing in the final round, the championship would be handed over to Guangdong.

When Hu Ronghua led the team to Beijing for the final round, he specially brought this bottle of Moutai with him. He told the players: "If our beloved team wins the championship, we will open the bottle and drink to celebration." Then one of the young players ventured to say timidly : "Sir, what if our team can't win the championship?" Hu Ronghua replied categorically : "If you can't win the championship, this bottle of Moutai will be smashed on the spot on the high road in Beijing."

Hu Ronghua saw that the young team members were still unsteady, he then hinted the play tactics and said: "In the final battle with the Beijing team, the three young of you only need to draw the game, if I can't win mine and we lose the championship, the responsibility will be borne by me alone." The coach's words were so loud and clear that of course the team members had got a very high morale and energy, and they all vowed solemnly to Hu Ronghua and said: "'Commander Hu', please rest assured, we will do our best to defeat the Beijing team."

As a result, Hu Ronghua did what he promised and took the lead in winning his game with a well-prepared opening, and the Shanghai team duly beat the Beijing team and deservedly won the 1st league championship. Hu Ronghua said when celebrating the victory : "Compared to smashing the wine on the high road of Beijing, this bottle of Moutai is now well consumed where it is merited."

+ + + +

Source : 樱伝圣殿

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~

Sunday, July 02, 2023


Wu Guilin (吴贵临), Xiangqi Grandmaster in Taiwan

The overlapping of times can produce a sense of excitement. Grandmaster Wu Guilin has come a long way through countless battles of the game of Xiangqi. He walked out victorious of all these, the storyline sometimes sad, sometimes full of joy. The Taiwan Qiwang (chess king) has at one time joined the Sichuan Xiangqi team, he has challenged his own ability limit ——— breaking Grandmaster Liu Dahua's Guinness record for 1 verssus 108 in simultaneous display. Wu believed that Xiangqi has no boundary, never at standstill, and always hoped to constantly improve himself.

Enlightenment : Xiangqi used to develop one's intelligence

From the day Wu Guilin was born, no one knew that he would become a Qiwang. "My parents were elementary school teachers, and in 1968 I was just 6 years old, the age when I was about to go to school, and I was bored at that time, I learned to play Xiangqi purely to develop my mind. I started playing with my uncle Wu Jieren(吴介仁), I can't say that he was my initiate teacher, I didn't think about getting a living by playing Xiangqi in days to come."

Nantou County(南投县)was Wu Guilin's hometown, which was also where his dream began, "Shortly after learning the game, around 1969, when I was 7 years old, I won the runner-up in the Nantou Jiaheli community competition, then three years later I won the Nantou tournaament. However, at that time I did not expect to play Xiangqi for a living." Already he has made his name in the town, his studies at school did not stop him playing the game in his spare time.

Belief : Keep working hard to find a way out

At that time, to learn the game from a good player one has to "pay a tuition fee", which was to play a game with a small bet(下彩), in this way players sharpened their skills, and learned the trade the hard way. Wu began to wandering in the merciless circle early in his teens. The fierce Xiangqi struggle sharpened his game power and hardened his spirit. At the age of 18, he won the championship in the "Xiangqi Celebrity" competition held in his hometown, since then Wu emerged truly in the Xiangqi world in Taiwan. He had won the first up to the fifth provincial championships, and also the first and the third "Zhongshan Cup" championships.

In the blink of an eye, Wu Guilin grown to be a smart young man. And the most memorable thing for him was the ten-games match with Xu Junjie(徐俊杰)at the age of 22, which in a sense was a duel between the old and the new generations. In the first four sets of the duel, Wu Guilin took the lead, Xu Junjie saw that it was difficult to turn the situation around, gave up the match, and since then Wu Guilin was recognized as the "number one Xiangqi player in Taiwan Province". In the same year, Wu won the Taiwan Xiangqi Association Championship. He was then awarded a six-dan certificate, and since then Wu felt he has reached his best game condition.

Standing at the crossroads of life, Wu Guilin strengthened his belief and self-confidence with winning of championships one after the other. "Since then, we have organized a visiting delegation to Southeast Asia and the United States and other places, and have successively played many international competitions and had a lot of exchanges with players from all over the world. As your level improves, you have the idea of going to the next higher level, because only by constantly working hard can you find a way out." Subsequently, he traveled around a lot and visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and many other countries and regions, with outstanding achievements. In 1992, he was awarded the title of Grandmaster by the Asian Xiangqi Federation.

Teacher : Teacher Hu taught me a lot of things in life

A teacher is someone who relays the light of learning, someone who clarifies things. Wu Guilin humbly sought Grandmaster Hu Ronghua to be his Xiangqi teacher. Early in June 1989, Wu Guilin had won the championship at the "Longhua Cup" Master Invitational Tournament held in the mainland. This did not stop him seeking Hu Ronghua to be his preferred teacher. "Hu told me at that time that my basic skills were already very solid and I had a certain foundation. But Xiangqi is not just a competition on the board, there is also a lot to improve outside of the game. For example, the ability to analyze games, as well as the experience of actual playing, Hu's cultivation in these aspects is very valuable, and I can learn a lot from him." On June 15, 1989, Wu Guilin officially paid homage as a pupil to Hu Ronghua in Shanghai. "Teacher Hu has taught me a lot of things, and it is my honour to be accepted by him." Wu Guilin, who can now compete with Hu Ronghua on the chessboard as equal, always respected and revered his teacher.

Jianghu(江湖): When people swim in the rivers and lakes, how can they not get wet?

In 1989, at age 28 Wu was known as Taiwan top player. He has developed a steady attacking and delicate defensive style in his chess career, with outstanding achievements. At the 1989 Asian Cup Xiangqi Tournament held in Singapore, Wu Guilin caused a sensation with an excellent result of 4 consecutive victories. In April Wu Guilin participated in the "Houxiao Cup" Xiangqi Master Invitational Tournament held in Changzhou. A month later, at the "Longhua Cup" Xiangqi Celebrity Invitational Tournament held in Liuzhou, Guangxi, he defeated Lu Qin and other famous players and won the championship. He had profound skills, strong in the middle game. Wu Guilin was the only Qiwang who has participated in all nine World Championships, he has won once runner-up, twice third place, once fourth place, once fifth place.

"The most regrettable thing was that at the seventh World Cup, he lost to Lu Qin due of a small margin in the tie break, what a shock!" At that tournament, Wu Guilin had a record of six wins and two draws in the penultimate round, the same as Lu Qin's score. However, in the final round, Wu Guilin's opponent had a lower rating than Lu Qin's opponent. Sure enough, Lu Qin knocked the Indonesian player Yu Zhongmin off with a steady and fierce attack, and ascended to the Champion's throne for the fourth time. Seeing that there was no hope of winning the championship, Wu Guilin made a hasty peace with his opponent, and finally only won the third place. "My biggest regret is that I didn't win the world championship, if I had not played well, I would not have anything to say, but I lost to my opponent in the smallest margin of a tie break, I am not too willing to accept the cruel fate."

Love : Xiangqi was our greatest matchmaker

Nanjing(南京)had been the capital of Six Dynasties(六朝)historically, and many heroical personalities had been interpreted in the long river of time, almost like a wonderful chess game. Wu Guilin has also found his favorite heroine there. In May 1996 in Nanjing, Wu Guilin married Ms Gao Yiping(高懿屏), a female chess master in Jiangsu. "Xiangqi is our biggest matchmaker. The first time I met Gao Yiping was at a tournament in Changzhou in 1989, when she was only thirteen or fourteen years old, I was already a well-known person in the chess world, and she knew me then, at least by name." This meeting did not leave too much impression in the hearts of the two, but fate was already registered." In 1995, I went to Nanjing to do some exchange activities, I often went to meet Grandmaster Xu Tianhong, and met Gao Yiping there too. At first, we didn't have any special feelings, but after a time, we fell in love with each other, Xu Tianhong with good intention did help to match us direct or indirectly, and finally we came together." It was really a wonderful chess-mediated love story.

If you pay attention to the tournament arena, you will see such a shot, one moment Wu Guilin went to Gao Yiping's chess table to watch, and the other time Gao Yiping went to Wu Guilin's chess table to ponder, they care about one another. And every time after the game was played, no matter victorious or defeated, no matter how late, the couple would review the game and analyse it carefully. The husband and wife moved together side by side and this parnership bore fruit. Gao Yiping had achieved excellent results, won the national championship, and then won the runner-up of the fifth World Championship, Wu Guilin and Gao Yiping have become messengers for Xiangqi exchanges across the continents.

+ + + +

Source : 蝴蝶飞的博客

~ a XIANGQI EN BLOG translation ~