Travel Pics Theme: E for East Asia

Qiangqi in the Temple of Heaven

Xiangqi in the Temple of Heaven

This week, our Travel pics series is E for East Asia.

East Asia geographically includes China, Macau, Japan, North and South Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan and Hong Kong … but we only have photos from the first and last of those.

While Japan, Korea, Macau, and Taiwan are all on my wish-list, we’ve not actually been there. Yet. Still, that gives me an excuse to go there – to get a whole new swag of #travelpics 🙂

Anyway – to today’s picture.

This is a scene that you could see in parks and gardens, in open spaces and cafes, all around China … a game of Xiangqi, or ‘Chinese Chess’.

Xiangxi is in the same genre as Western and Indian Chess .. in that it involves two ‘armies’ battling each other to capture the other’s King (or General)… but the gameplay is quite different.

In fact, I’m told that the gameplay is quite different depending on which part of China you are in.

There are Generals, and Advisors, and Elephants and Horses, and Chariots and Cannons and Soldiers … but no analog of the Queen in western Chess .. and many pieces cannot ‘jump’ so they are easier to constrain.

Quite frankly, I’m a lousy chess player – so I’ve got no idea good (or bad) I would be at Xiangqi – but If I lived in China, there’s a fair chance I would find out – because this game is played, as I say, in spaces all over the country.

This particular game was in the Temple of Heaven – a park in Beijing – but we also saw games on the streets of Xian,  and I’m told that it has now become increasingly popular online.


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