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There is a board game called xiangqi. It is also known as Chinese chess. I have found a very nice website which allows people to play xiangqi with computer. This site uses western pieces. http://www.springfrog.com/games/chess/chinese/

I have learnt all xiangqi rules from Wikipedia. I have no problems with understanding them. I even know a little about xiangqi tactics (forks, pins, skewers, checks etc.). And I know the value of each Chinese chess piece. My problem is I cannot win. I played nearly about 300 games, and I tried to checkmate my opponent (computer) but I constantly fail. Computer always checkmates me despite playing on easiest difficulty.

It seems I have no idea how to give checkmate to the opponent, unlike standard chess where I have very good knowledge of checkmate patterns. In xiangqi, I have almost no idea how to use my general, and I usually don't know how to protect him. I have no idea what exactly I should do to opponent's general either. Sometimes I manage to trade chariots and cannons but not horses.

Is there anyone who can help me? I know that in xiangqi I can also win by stalemating my opponent... But my wish is to give a checkmate at least once. And I want to play normal games, without any handicaps.

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The best pieces for giving checkmate are the chariots and cannon that move in straight lines and at long range. Horses can be used, but only at close range, which is to say that they are vulnerable to counterattack by the guards and elephants. It's helpful to realize that the two leaders are limited to nine points of their "headquarters."

The "textbook" method of checkmate is the double cannon attack. If you manage to get both cannons on the vertical line in front of the enemy leader with the other soldiers removed, and the other pieces in their original position, the leader can't move sideways because he is surrounded by the guards. The "back" cannon fires over the forward cannon at the leader, and the leader can't block it with a guard or elephant, because then the forward cannon will fire over it.

Another thing you need to know is that the two leaders can't be on the same vertical line with no pieces between them. So you might use a chariot to drive the other leader to one side, while your own leader controls the central file (after the soldiers have been exchanged), and then movie the chariot to check and checkmate the leader on one of the side files of the two headquarters.

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