Can playing Xiangqi improve one's chess ability?



I have come to enjoy Xiangqi (the Chinese chess variant) lately and I was wondering how dedicating time to it instead of chess affects my ability to play chess.

My own opinion is that it may depend on how good a chess player you are. Being a rather unsophisticated player (like myself), playing Xiangqi may be beneficial for one's chess because it trains tactical vision, the ability to look ahead and calculate sequences of moves etc. just like playing chess would. Strong players (>1800 maybe) might not benefit from playing Xiangqi though because they're already tactically strong.

What are your thoughts about this?


Why not just do chess puzzles instead or read up on some articles on this site?

The problem with doing this is that your Xiangqi skill would have to become better than your chess skills before you'd improve in chess, which makes no sense to do...


the only piece that moves the same in Xiangqi and Chess is the chariot (moves like the rook)


I've played Xiangqi before I even knew how to play chess, yet I've sucked at chess until I started studying it more seriously. (granted, I was really young back then)


I agree with the OP's assessment.  If you are very weak at playing Chess, playing Xiangqi might help because it helps train the mind to get used to analyzing possibilities and looking ahead, but it won't help a lot.  You can get more benefit for your Chess game by playing more Chess.

I also agree that Clubxiangqi is a great site for Xiangqi.  The chat sessions are a bit rough, though, since I don't speak Vietnamese.


It's just another way of forcing your head to think in detailed fashion about something insignificant, so I guess it will help.


I think somewhere on the internet there is an anecdote about Kasparovs very first game of Go:  he lost to a well established player, but apparently, performed especially well (considering it was his first game!)  {unfortunatly a quick google revealed nothing :(}


and there is also stories like this:


the question is this: is it simply that the skill set required of both chess and shogi are similiar, such that anyone with a natural talent for one would also (with effort) be exceptional in the other.

or is it that the years of shogi practice has also taught him how to play chess?


In my opinion, the awsner is a little from both:  weak players can learn transferable skills (e.g. board vision) but the returns rapidly diminish. players with talent, will naturally be good at any similiar board game.


Ho ruon hua great master chinese xiangqi like fischer had only 2400 elo in chess international. Only improve at low level and medium. Thge openings, endings are very different. New knowledge for a chess western player.

heinzie wrote:

It's just another way of forcing your head to think in detailed fashion about something insignificant, so I guess it will help.

Good point! In the end, any form of chess is just a game. 


I just tried playing xiangqi, and while I am OK at chess I am terrible at xiangqi. I think the amount of skill that transfers over is very limited. But it might make it quicker for you to learn.


Yes it can.I find Xiangqi a quite interesting game.But mostly I like Xiangqi puzzles which I play on my phone .Give a try you will like it too happy.png


How to play xiangqi in English: