CXQ Chinese Chess Rules consist of three parts: (1) the basic rules telling
which moves are allowed; (2) the advanced rules restricting certain
moves to ensure fair games; (3) the drawing rules preventing games
from being too long
CXQ Chinese Chess Basic Rules
One can move the pieces according to the following rules:
End game condition: The game ends when one of the following situations
The King moves only one space at a time, either horizontally or
vertically. Furthermore, the King must always stay within the palace,
which is a square marked with an X.
The Guards (Advisor) move only one space at a time diagonally.
Similar to the King, the guards must stay within the palace.
The Ministers (Elephants) move two spaces at a time diagonally
(i.e. 2 spaces left/right and 2 spaces up/down in a move). They must stay
within their own side of the river. If there is a piece midway between
the original and final intended position of a minister, the minister is
blocked and the move is not allowed.
The Rooks (Cars) move one or more spaces horizontally or vertically
provided that all positions between the original and final positions are
The Knights (Horses) move two spaces horizontally and one space
vertically (or respectively 2 spaces vertically and one space horizontally).
If there is a piece next to the horse in the horizontal (vertical) direction,
the horse is blocked and the move is not allowed.
The Cannons move one or more spaces horizontally or vertically like
a Rook. However, in a capture move, there must be exactly one non-empty
space in between the original and final position. In a non-capture move,
all spaces in between must be empty.
The Pawns (or Soldiers) move one space at a time. If a pawn does not
cross the river yet, it can only move forward vertically. Once crossing
the river, the pawn can also move horizontally.
Capture: When a piece moves to a position currently held by an
opponent's piece, it captures that opponent's piece. The captured piece is
removed from the board.
King's line of sight: The two Kings in the board must never be on the
same file (vertical line) without any pieces in between them. A move that puts
the two Kings in such a setting is illegal.
King safety: One must never leave the King to be captured by the
opponent in the next move. Any moves that put the King in such a setting
- Checkmate: If one threatens to capture the opponent's King and
the opponent has no way to resolve the threat, one wins.
- Stalemate: If one does not have any valid move, one loses.
- One or both sides violate the Advanced Rules.
CXQ Chinese Chess Advanced Rules
To make the games fair, certain patern of movements are restricted.
In the nutshell, CXQ Rules prohibit a player to continuously threaten
to capture one opponent's piece using one or more pieces.
Such movements are either perpetual checks (if the King is threatened) or
perpetual chases (if an unprotected piece other than the King is threatened).
Terminology: To make the rules precise, the following terms are used:
- Check: A move of any piece that causes the opponent's King to be
threatened with capture in the next move.
- Same type sacrifice/trade: A piece moves to a position where
it can capture an opponent's piece of the same type in such a way that
the opponent piece can also capture it in the next move.
- Chase: A piece moves to a
position where it can capture an opponent's piece, which is not the King,
in the next move. It is also a chase when a piece moves and results in
a cannon attacking an opponent's piece. There are a few exceptions:
- It is not a chase when a King or a Pawn threatens to capture any piece.
- It is not a chase to threaten to capture a Pawn when it is yet to
cross the river.
- Same type sacrifice/trade is not a chase.
- Protected: A piece is protected if there is a piece that can
capture any piece that takes the protected piece. An exception is that
a car is never considered protected when it is threatened by an opponent's
cannon or knight.
The CXQ Advanced Rules: All moves following the basic rules
are allowed except:
When one side violates the Advanced Rules while the other does not, the one
who violates the rule loses. It is a draw when both sides perpetual
check or both perpetual chase. If one side perpetual checks and the other
side perpetual chases, the one who perpetual checks loses.
- Perpetual Check: Continuously checking opponent using one or more pieces is not allowed.
- Perpetual Chase: Continuously chasing one unprotected opponent piece using one or more pieces is not allowed.
CXQ allows a player to check/chase 6 consecutive times using one piece,
12 times using 2 pieces, and 18 times using 3 pieces before considering
the check/chase a perpetual check/chase.
CXQ Automatic Drawing Rules
When the game is not winnable, it is strongly recommended that both players
draw the game by themselves. To prevent one or both players from
dragging the games for a long time, CXQ imposes the following 3 rules
for automatic drawing:
- Moves Rule: When the total number
of moves made by each side reaches 300.
- Effective Rule: When the total
number of effective moves, moves made by each side excluding
checking/chasing moves or moves to respond to checking/chasing, reaches 120.
- Progress Rule: When the total number of
moves by each side since the last time a progress is made, i.e.
since (1) the last capture or (2) the last advance of a pawn already
crossed the river, reaches 30.
CXQ Advanced Rules are similar to
Asian Chinese Chess Rules.
CXQ's goal is to make the rules as easily understandable by an average
player as possible. Those who wish to learn the rules more in detail
are strongly recommended to check out Asian Rules.
Following are the judgement calls for common scenarios using the Advanced Rules:
- One (or many) checks one idle is allowed.
- One (or many) checks one chase is allowed.
- One (or many) chases one check is allowed.
- One (or many) chases one idle is allowed.
- One (or many) checks one threaten to checkmate is allowed.
- Perpetual chase two or more pieces is allowed.
- Perpetual blocking is allowed.
Note that a move is a violation if it violates the Advanced Rules in any way.
For example, a perpetual blocking, if it is also a perpetual chase, is
a violation even though perpetual blocking is allowed in general.
Last modified 02/26/2004