Gaining Material

In xiangqi, the player with more material can overpower his opponent’s forces. You should try to win pieces or pawns when you can unless you see a good reason not to do so. For example, your opponent is offering the piece to exchange for an aggressive attacking chance .In this chapter, you will learn several tactics that help you to achieve your material objective.

When a piece A is attacking an enemy piece B, two situations may arise:
(1) B is protected by an allied piece that will capture A in return immediately.
(2) B is unprotected. A can capture it for free. In this instance, we call it a Catch.

Double Catch

Fig 1.
Red R4+5 attacking the Cannon and the Horse simultaneously and will win either piece.

Fig 2.
Red H6-4 similarly will win either the Horse or the Cannon for free. It should be noted that Black cannot play C5-7 to protect the Horse.

Fig 1
Fig 2

Fig 3.
Red plays R4+3 catching the Cannon (a big blunder), Black answers with C5=1 capturing the Pawn and catching both Chariots at the same time. Black suffers material loss.

Fig 4.
In this position, Red simply nudges the Pawn forward and will win a piece immediately.  

Fig 3
Fig 4


A skewer is an attack upon two pieces aligned on a file or a rank

Fig 5 Red just played R4=2 attacking the Cannon. If Black moves the Cannon away, the Horse behind it will fall prey to the Chariot.

Fig 6. Red with C6+5 skewer,  wins either the Horse or the Cannon.

Fig 5
Fig 6

Check & Catch

This is a more serious double catch when the enemy King is one of the pieces being attacked.

Fig 7. Red just played R7=4. Black has to get his King out of check, Red wins the Cannon for free next move.

Fig 8. Black makes a check with H4+3, attacking the Chariot simulaneously. Red has to bring his King to safety and allows the Chariot to be captured by the Horse next move. 

Fig 7
Fig 8

Fig 9. Red has to answer the C8+7 Cannon check with A4+5 or K5+1. Either way, his Chariot at the corner will fall prey to the Cannon. 

Fig 10. In this example, Black’s Horse is not protected by the cental Elephant as the latter is pinned down by the Red King. In another word, E5-7 is not playable. Therefore, Red R8+5 checks and skewers the Horse.



Fig 9
Fig 10