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What is your favorite chess?
Chess (Western/International) 45%  45%  [ 29 ]
Shogi (Japanese chess) 31%  31%  [ 20 ]
Xiangqi (Chinese chess) 8%  8%  [ 5 ]
Other... 5%  5%  [ 3 ]
None 12%  12%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 65
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 Post subject: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #1 Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:34 pm 
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Obviously many people on these forums would prefer go to chess, but which kind of chess do you like best?

I have played all three of these chess variants and own at least one of each set.

The choice between western chess and shogi is pretty hard. I really enjoy the drops and promotions in shogi as they bring in an element of choice and creativity that feels very go-like, but I also like the raw logic and faster pace of western chess. I like that western chess pieces are each very powerful compared to shogi pieces (that are mostly weaker than the king), yet I also like the fact that shogi involves interesting defensive strategy and not just constant battling for position. In many ways, they feel like very different games and I could see myself enjoying one over the other given my mood. In the end, I would have to choose western chess as I've spent more time with the game and feel a deeper connection to it - this may someday change if I continue to explore shogi.

As for xiangqi, I have yet to find what might make this game better than western chess. I enjoy the uniqueness of the cannons, but I feel like there is more depth to western chess strategy than to xiangqi strategy. If someone here really enjoys xiangqi, I'd like to know what appeals to you about the game because I'm sure there's a reason why so many people in China play it.

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #2 Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:47 am 
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The only chess like game that I've enjoyed is Arimaa. It's a distant second to Go, but it's still in the realm of games I enjoy playing. It's less chess-like than the other two, I think, in that the capturing method isn't the same. But it shares a board with chess, as well as (I think) something of the feel of the game, and it seems to attract a lot of former or current chess players.

But I also haven't played Xiangqi or Shogi.

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #3 Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:17 am 
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I really like western chess, I had a brief look at the others, but none of them really appealed to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #4 Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:03 pm 
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I remember getting into Shogi briefly. I played a friend of mine whom I beat regularly at just about any game requiring strategy. Interestingly, though, he was usually the winner in our games. :mrgreen:

I liked the idea of a fresh new variant of Chess that involved actual capture, with the possibility of using the pieces later. The problem, though, is that at our skill level, the game took forever to complete. It's a problem similar to teaching a neophyte Chess for the first time and leaving him with the problem of chekmating the king.

So I never got any good, but overall it was frustratingly slow, with only four pieces which can move the full length of the board, two for which it is a one-way trip. Then there are the two which move like knights, but only going forward. Everything else moves one space at a time, like pawns but in a number of directions but not others.

All in all, the rules, including the movements of each piece, are difficult to keep track of, and a bit convoluted. Then there's promotion of pieces to boot, which changes their movement patterns completely. Couple that with the possibility of using captured pieces as your own in lieu of a regular move and you have a game which can't be played adequately without considerable effort over a period of time.

At least the rules of Go are simple, though I grant that playing it with any amount of skill is rather difficult. ;-)


Edit: It riles me that I always come up against opponents who don't understand the 'en passant' rule in Western Chess. They always think I'm trying to cheat. :-|


Last edited by Phoenix on Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #5 Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:41 pm 
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My preference toward these games is directly related to my experience in playing them.

Therefore:

(Go >) "Western Chess" > Shogi > Xiangqi

The idea behind playing captured pieces in Shogi is cool, but having played "Western Chess" more, Western Chess is more fun to me.

But this is certainly biased due to my experience in playing.

Generally speaking, things I spend more time with I enjoy better... (Or is it the other way around...?)

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #6 Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:19 pm 
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I would really love to read the views of someone who enjoys playing Xiangqi. When I was in China, I couldn't believe so many people played it. My feelings were akin to, "Pshaw! So much Go potential being wasted on these boards with little round wooden pegs!" Can't say I wasn't intrigued though.

Is there a gambling aspect, similar to poker, that exists in Xiangqi that doesn't exist in Go?

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #7 Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:24 pm 
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Koosh wrote:
I would really love to read the views of someone who enjoys playing Xiangqi. When I was in China, I couldn't believe so many people played it. My feelings were akin to, "Pshaw! So much Go potential being wasted on these boards with little round wooden pegs!" Can't say I wasn't intrigued though.

Is there a gambling aspect, similar to poker, that exists in Xiangqi that doesn't exist in Go?

Well, I know that go also has a gambling aspect in the East. But to be fair, pretty much every game everywhere has a gambling aspect to it. My dad used to gamble on games of Risk in college.

From my understanding Xiangqi has been more popular with the average person in China for a long time. "Weiqi" was seen as a refined game and was one of the Four Arts that every civilized man was supposed to know - along with calligraphy, painting, and playing the guqin. It was supposed to be the game the nobles played, however, some evidence suggests that go was played by everyone anyway.

The history of go is often disputed (like how old it is - 4000 years old or 2500 years old?) and the same is true of xiangqi.

Some think that there were multiple versions of xiangqi being played in China and that the modern version is a fairly recent invention - they think the pieces used to be either shuffled before the game or that the player was allowed to choose, which still happens in Korean chess with the knight and elephant. Some even think that references to weiqi and xiangqi have occasionally referred to the same game, meaning that it is possible ancient xiangqi descended directly from go with influence from chess and not directly from chess with influence from go as is generally accepted. It is the only chess variant played on intersections besides Korean chess (which comes from xiangqi) and it is the only one using circular pieces (Korean chess actually uses octagons) so clearly it has some go influence in its past. (And maybe go descended from xiangqi...)

I feel I'm missing something important about why it is the most popular board game in the world. Without accurate history, it seems impossible to know exactly why xiangqi is more popular than go today in China. I would also love to hear from a xiangqi player on the subject.

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I blushed inwardly to recall the ignorant thoughts that had gone through
my mind before, when I had not realized the true worth of Black 1."

-Kageyama Toshiro on proper moves

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #8 Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:10 pm 
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Murray's "History of Chess" (which is mostly full of BS) speculates that xiangqi is universally popular because the opening was under analyzed (as of 1925ish) and therefore less forbidding to beginners than western chess. Caveat lector. This would fit in with a recent genesis of xiangqi. Assuming xiangqi and shogi have a parent-game more similar to chatranj, xiangqi must be very recent.

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #9 Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:05 am 
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Koosh wrote:
I would really love to read the views of someone who enjoys playing Xiangqi. When I was in China, I couldn't believe so many people played it. My feelings were akin to, "Pshaw! So much Go potential being wasted on these boards with little round wooden pegs!" Can't say I wasn't intrigued though.

Is there a gambling aspect, similar to poker, that exists in Xiangqi that doesn't exist in Go?


Many of the xiangqi players you see around in China actually do play weiqi, but because it is so much easier to find opponents to play xiangqi with, that's what they focus on. I recently was watching a group of older men playing xiangqi in my compound and one of them saw the book of tesuji problems I had, and excitedly left his xiangqi game and ran home to grab his weiqi board. He wasn't particularly strong - maybe 3 or 4 kyu KGS - but he knew all about recent events in the Chinese professioal world and seemed quite an enthusiast.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #10 Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:34 am 
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Shogi is definitely my choice. I used to be a tournament chess player but I think Shogi is better, not only because of the drops, but because the pieces are a little weaker (no queen rampaging around the board). It's less about brute material force and places more emphasis on strategy.

I can't comment on Xiangqi since I never learned the rules. I used to think Shogi was just as incomprehensible, but Hidetchi's YouTube videos have made the game far more accessible for potential players. I went through the entire beginner's series (40 vids) as well as most of the opening videos and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in Shogi.

One last point- I hope this isn't considered heresy, but I find tsumeshogi to be more fun than tsumego!


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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #11 Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:33 pm 
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Interesting. I find it funny that one of your reasons for preferring shogi and one of my reasons for preferring chess are opposite. The queen is actually one of my favorite parts of western chess because it is incredibly valuable. It is almost as valuable as both rooks. I can think of no equivalent in any game equal to the unique value of the chess queen (a piece that is clearly the most powerful, but isn't the king). In shogi the rook and bishop are too close in value for one to be seen as "the" key piece for attacking - some strategies in shogi involve trading a rook to get two bishops or vice-versa. In xiangqi there is no piece like that at all.

I've also found Hidetchi's videos to be very useful. They taught me everything that I know beyond the rules (which I learned from Wikipedia).

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I blushed inwardly to recall the ignorant thoughts that had gone through
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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #12 Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:42 pm 
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Sorry for the bump, but I have been playing a lot of these chess games lately as well as go. Nothing like a bit of ambition! :) I was actually thinking of starting a thread with this same topic! But I thought I'd give my thoughts here now.

I first started playing/ studying Western chess seriously about 20 years ago. I played it casually as kid in the 1970s and enjoyed it, although unklike some I wasn't immediately enthralled by it. Later on I got a hand held chess computer to pass time and eventually got so frustrated at losing all the time I got lots of books and read them. That lasted for about 18 months. So I think I've gained some level of ability albeit not through any natural talent on my part.

In the past year I've been expanding into other traditional boardgames, such as shogi, xiangqi, backgammon, hnefetafl (viking chess) and of course Go.

The appeal of Xiangqi is easy to explain- it's very dynamic! If Confucius and Bruce Lee could ever have had a baby together I think Xiangqi would be the result. Playing it feels like the mental equivalent of a martial art. It is mostly about attacking that is true. Defensive moves are few and far between but that makes it all the more satisfying when you play them. There's just something aesthetically pleasing about the way the pieces complement each other and interact with each other. Pawn clear a path for horses to jump, horse provides a bridge for cannon to penetrate enemy ranks, chariots patrol the river either looking for trouble or defending against it. Also the opening theory is much less intimidating that Western chess or shogi, so casual players can get into play quickly.

Shogi like Chess and Go, is truly a "game for life". The ability to use captured pieces allows you to be very creative in finding a plan in a game. It seems a game of extremes to me, it can be as aggressive as any game ever invented, yet you also have to keep your king heavily defended.

Western chess- I may be biased here! I think Western chess is the most perfectly balanced of all the chess variants. Games that start slowly and defensively can suddenly turn into very fast, tactical games. Defence is called for in equal measure to attack and counterattack and the way the pieces interact on the board can be very subtle. Also after playing Shogi and Xiangqi I sometimes miss using the extremely powerful Queen!

So overall, I would rank Western chess and shogi as about equal in greatness. They're just very different. Objectively I think Xiangqi is perhaps just *slightly* behind them, but still one of the greatest games ever. However on another forum I knew someone who loved Western Chess and Xiangqi, yet thought shogi was "totally meh" (his words)

Which chess variant I would want to play really just depends on my mood!

But now for a game of Go....

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #13 Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:31 pm 
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Chess Grandmaster Larry Kaufman (chess grandmaster, one of best wester shogi players) wrote his own opinion: http://www.shogi.net/shogi-l/Archive/1999/Nfeb07-06.txt

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Post #14 Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:52 pm 
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Xiangqi is cool. I bought a "goban" (it is better say table of go because on the other side has a board of xiangqi). Xiangqi is simple, I taught it a chess player in one night, the next week they was winning me :cry:

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Post #15 Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:06 pm 
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I think the most interesting piece in Xiangqi is the cannon. It seems that almost every Chinese knows the rule of Xiangqi, but once I learnt the rule of Go (Weiqi), I immediately preferred it to Xiangqi.

The most complicated chess variation I have played is the amazing Tenjiku shogi, which I still can't remember how each piece moves after playing about 10 games :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #16 Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:22 am 
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Where is the 'bughouse' option? I had to choose 'other'.


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Post #17 Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:42 am 
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I might also add that after playing Chess, shogi and xiangqi, they are all so different from one another that it would be a mistake to assume that because you're good at one it doesn't mean you would be good at another! They may share a common ancestor and some tactics are the same such as forks, pjns etc but they really are like comparing apples to oranges. Shogi for example sometimes can be seen as a race to checkmate, and exchanges don't have quite the same "no going back now" feel to them.

I have also played some of the large variations of chess and shogi and I feel that more pieces does not neccessarily mean more depth, quite the opposite in fact. The largest versions of shogi have so many squares and pieces it would be impossible to figure out what to do or what makes a good move. Really large versions of any chess variant would have only two skill levels- "Bad" and "slightly less bad" :D

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Post #18 Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:59 am 
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LGolem wrote:
Chess Grandmaster Larry Kaufman (chess grandmaster, one of best wester shogi players) wrote his own opinion: http://www.shogi.net/shogi-l/Archive/1999/Nfeb07-06.txt


Larry Kaufman is also a respectable go player with an AGA rating of 2.88 a few years ago

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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #19 Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:45 pm 
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Shogi is a great game, and so is Xiangqi.

I still prefer regular chess, because I grew up with it.


*edit: some pictures, this thread needs some pictures


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 Post subject: Re: Western Chess, Xiangqi, or Shogi?
Post #20 Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:31 am 
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As someone who hasn't grown up with any of these four but tried them all (I grew up playing Janggi) I guess I can cast a neutral vote, and to me it's definitely Shogi. Because of the 'capture and drop anywhere' rule its complexity level is almost on par with Go and far more dynamic than any other variant of its kind. No wonder it's been held in nearly the same high esteem as Go in Japan - a privilege its cousins in China and Korea couldn't enjoy.

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