Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Chess (Xiang Qi)

Chess is an ancient game in China, and is said to have been invented by the first emperor of the Zhou dynasty, Wu Wang, B.C. 1120.; though it is questioned whether this Zhou dynasty does not refer to one four hundred years later. Chess is mentioned in the Chinese classics, but the game in olden time appears to have been somewhat different from the present one, which came into general use after the Song dynasty. Chess has always been looked upon as mimic warfare. There are the general, the secretaries, the elephants, horses, chariots, cannon, and soldiers; the two armies marked by red and black are divided by a river. The red army usually takes the first step. The victory is won when one side kills the other's general.

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