Mini Xiangqi (Chinese Chess on a smaller board)
The rules of Mini Xiangqi are similar to Xiangqi but with fewer pieces and played on a 7 x 7 board. The game was invented in 1973 by Shigenobu Kusumoto of Osaka, Japan. Players take it in turns moving pieces on the board to checkmate the enemy king.
There is a palace on each side (a 3 x 3 grid) confining the king. None of the pieces can promote, the starting pawns are instead the same as a promoted Xiangqi pawn, (as though it had already crossed the river).
The King (also known as the general), can only move within its palace and one step orthogonally (up/down, left/right) not diagonally.
Additionally, the kings are not allowed to face each other with no piece in between. This is useful to setup checkmates in the endgame.
The horse can move like a chess Knight except that it must move one square orthogonally first, before then moving diagonally forward in the same direction. This means that the Horse can be blocked if there are pieces adjacent to it.
The cannon moves the same as a chariot except it captures but jumping over exactly one piece, friend or foe.
The chariot moves the same as a chess rook, any number of squares orthogonally. This is the most valuable piece in the game.
The pawn (also known as soldier) moves and captures one square forward or sideways.
- A stale mate is considered a loss for the player that cannot move.
- Perpetual checks are a loss for the player giving a check after three repetitions.
- The chasing rules are not yet implemented in the engine used (Fairy-Stockfish), once this is supported (github issue) we will incorporate this rule(s) for Mini Xiangqi.
There are several notations used for Mini Xiangqi, we currently use WXF notation on this site, which consists of 4 characters:
[single-letter piece abbrev.][former file][operator, including movement direction][new file, or in the case of purely vertical movement, number of ranks]
Files are numbered 1 to 9, from right to left from each player’s viewpoint. Therefore, your rook in file 1 faces the opponent’s rook in file 9.
Pieces moving forward are given “+” whereas moving backwards gives “-“, movement is relative to the active player. If a piece moves diagonally their new file destination is given rather than number of ranks increased or decreased. Moving sideways gives “=” followed by the file destination.
In order to avoid any ambiguity, if two of the same pieces are in the same file then “+” or “-“specifies if it’s the more advanced piece or less advanced respectively.