unearthed figurines
A brass xiangqi piece of Song dynasty with icon of a catapult on the reverse side
Traditional xiangqi set
Grapic xiangqi pieces
AXF design

Xiangqi(象棋), also known as Chinese Chess in the past, is an ancient brain game of the East. It symbolises a battle between two armies. Scholars of recent times mostly believe that it evolved from a popular board game called LiuBo (六博)during the Spring & Autumn period in China. Xiangqi took its Morden form (the board, the pieces and their movement), during the Northern Song dynasty as evidenced from literatures and archaeological relics.

For centuries, the 32 xiangqi pieces are made of round discs with Chinese characters engraved on top. In 1984, the Asian Xiangqi Federation (AXF) designed a set of icons to represent the 7 piece-types It was an undertaking of the AXF to promote xiangqi globally, in particular to people who do not speak Chinese. However, the project was stillborn and Graphic Xiangqi has faded from one’s memory after 1990.

The subject was revisited during the Federation’s 40th anniversary celebrations in 2018. In response, the Singapore Xiangqi General Association orgnised a National Graphic Xiangqi Open Tournament in July 2019 in conjunction with the Racial Harmony Day. It is our vision that graphic xiangqi accompanied with English manual, in print or online, will help to effectively promote the game to all nations.