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Chinese Chess
Classic Chinese Games

Classic Chinese games are a very important part of Chinese culture. I am going to introduce to you how to play the Classic Chinese games, Chinese Chess (Xiangqi), Go (Weiqi), and Majong (Mahjong), on the Net. Brief introduction of the games and links to the sites on which you may play the games with others are included. For beginners, some links with useful information about those games are also included. There are three parts of this series and we will start from Part I: Chinese Chess.

Introduction of Chinese Chess (Xiangqi)
Chinese Chess or Xiangqi is a variant of chess. Chinese Chess might have the same ancestor, the old Indian Chaturanga, as 'Western Chess'. Chaturanga is believed the oldest form of chess, played around the 7th century after Christ.

Chinese Chess is the most popular game in the world. It is estimated there are as many as half a billion people who know how to play the game. Chinese Chess is a very popular game in China. You often can see people play the game on street using a large chess set. Some players may hit the board hard at some moves to show his power. Since the pieces are large (about 2 inches in diameter), the effect is dramatic. They may also say or sing something to do the trick. Usually there are a few people watching the game. If they know both players (sometimes even they don't know the players), they may point out some moves for one or both players. To prevent the helpers to say anything during a game, the players often remind them by saying 'watching but not telling, a true gentleman'.

Chinese Chess is very easy to play, but the rules are very different from 'Western Chess'. Once you know the rules, you just need practice to get better like anything else. The Internet is a good place to start since you can always find somebody to play.

There are basically two ways to play games on the Net, on a Telnet server or a Web server. Playing games on a Web server is the new trend (thanks for new technologies and those who provided the places). It is a little easier to play games on a Web server since you don't have to install anything to get started. On the other hand, you usually need to install a client software to play games on a Telnet server.

Play on a Web Server
It is very simple to play Chinese Chess on a Web server as long as you know the rules of Chinese Chess. I have some quite good experience with Club Xiang Qi. As we mentioned above, you don't need to install any software to play the game and it works on any computer systems. You do need to have a Java enabled web browser at Club Xiang Qi, since the Club Xiang Qi game client software is written in the Java programming language.

You need to register a free account with the club and your password will be sent to you by email. Then you can login the server and start to play the game. When you get in the server, if you are ready to play, you can play by either starting a new table or get on a table which is open. Use your mouse to make a move. Beware there is a timer on your screen which is very handy since there is a time limit of three minutes for each move. If you are not ready yet, you can observe any game which is playing on the server. Also you can chat with others on the server. The levels of players are varied and you can find out that by observation or by playing the game yourself. A good place to know other players is Xiang Qi Player Registry.

A similar site you may play the game on a Web server is Chinese Chess, however this site is not as popular as Club Xiang Qi.

We are going to introduce to you how to play Go and Majong on the Net in next two parts of this series, so see you next time.

For more information about Chinese Chess, go to the game page on this site.

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