象棋 xiang4qi2 (Chinese chess)
Couldn't find anything on ChinesePod about Chinese chess. It is very common - you see people playing everywhere. It is kind of difficult I'm told (I'm not a chess player) but I've decided to learn a little about it. My enthusiasm is bound to wane within a week or two.
So far I've learnt that you play on a 棋面 and when it is set up it is called 棋盘。 河界 he2jie4 goes down the middle (symbolic of 长江 ?) I have learnt how the 棋子 (pieces) move - an intensive hour and a half and pages of notes. The object, and limitations on movement are somewhat similar to 国际棋 (international chess) - I wonder why that is so?
I think that it helps the language study even if you never play a game. The piece names and why they are named that way. Talking about how the pieces move around the 棋面 - it would be worth at least one CP lesson I think. Then you could feign great knowledge and impress people.
bodaweiDecember 16, 2010, 02:39 PM
Each side has:
两个炮 pào (cannon)
五个兵 bīng (红色）或者 五个卒 zú（黑色) (footsoldiers)
两个车 chē (chariot)
两个马 mǎ (horses)
两个相 xiàng (红色）或者两个象 xiàng （黑色) (officer)
两个士 shì (2IC to general）
一个帅 shuài (红色）或者一个将 jiàng（黑色)（general）
I sense I have some things wrong already - my set has traditional characters, I am guessing. Not at all sure about the English translations, or whether it is even possible to translate.
The two sides represent different countries (within what is now China) - in those days different countries had different names for different roles in the army; this is reflected in the names of the 棋子.
bodaweiSeptember 11, 2011, 11:37 AM
A page on Baidu describing Chinese chess says..
I translate in a fashion: …Chess is also known as Chinese Chess (…) It has a long history in China, a game for two players. The equipment is simple, and the game is fun, so it’s become a very popular activity. Chinese Chess is officially one of our 78 sports, to promote the popularity of the game worldwide. (…) In addition, the materials of the chess game also have a high collection value, such as: high-grade wood, jade and other materials. Poets have written poems about chess; it seems that chess has a cultural flavour.
I’m curious about two sentences:
英文现译作Xiangqi - in English, Chinese Chess can be referred to as Xiangqi? [What does this mean? Xiangqi is not ‘English’, it is 拼音。]
现将“中国象棋”项目名称更改为“象棋” – These days the name of the game will be Chess more than Chinese Chess. Is this of interest only to Chinese speakers and, if so, what is the message? I am unclear about what is being conveyed here.
In the first sentence I think the writer simply makes a mistake, confusing pinyin and English.
Ok - just discovered that a search for Chinese chess at Wikipedia redirects to Xiangqi - maybe it is correct to use xiangqi in English now, and not Chinese chess? Like you say go, and not Japanese chess (or the more correct Japanese weiqi).
The second sentence is more interesting. I guess it goes something like this:
China had 象棋 and the West had chess. So in China chess became 国际象棋, and in the West 象棋 became Chinese chess. Then the expression Chinese chess made its way into Chinese as 中国象棋, whereas the opposite did not happen, chess in English being just chess.
But I think that the term 中国象棋 is mainly used in Chinese to distinguish between chess and xiangqi. Talking between themselves most Chinese will just say 象棋. There might be a small amount of national pride in the message from Baidu.
Thanks very much for your comments - interesting. I think I can agree with you in the first case; it must be a slip referring to pinyin as English - for many Chinese pinyin is not an important part of their lives so a slip like this is understandable. In the second case I wonder; Chinese people normally refer to Western chess as 国际的; I would have thought that originally it was simply 象棋 and then in modern times there would be more reason to specify it as 中国象棋. It is possibly an expression of nationalism but a strange one.