Here is a collection of fun puzzles most of which come from the hand-written booklets of endgame studies by Qiu Wangyu and Zhu Hezhou. I’ve always had great respect for their creativity and exploratory spirit of these two endgame composers.

Fun puzzles are scarce. Although in a class of their own,they are seldom given a place in xiangqi text books. Perhaps most people would think that they are not worth racking their brains for. However, I think they can serve as a useful tool to help young players grasp various tactics, besides their entertainment value.

In xiangqi manuals, every orthodox puzzle (排局) is given a title of four words. Fun puzzles, on the other hand, are usually called ‘No-King Games’, or have no title at all. The titles you see in the following puzzles, except for “The Miller’s Horses”, are pulled out of my magic hat. By the way, ‘The Quiet Reaper’ is my own brain child. ‘Strait vs Crooked’ is my simplified version of a fun puzzle published in 《中国象棋大全》(‘A Complete Reference of Xiangqi’).

Specific requirement: Red must check on every move.

Precise co-ordination of the Red Horses is required to capture the Black Horse.