Chess In The Hutong

Deep in a hutong I came across a group of men playing xiangqi. I say a group of men because even though it's a two player game, it's one that really gets the crowd involved. One particular fan was heavily involved in the game.

It started, as xiangqi games often do, with each player taking turns to make moves. While this goes on the crowd may offer up suggestions on what they would do had they been lucky enough to be in the hotseat. As the game progressed the tension ratcheted up. This pushed one observer beyond the event horizon of observation.

Fed up with the how one player was playing he made a move on their behalf. Slapping the piece down, capturing an opponents piece. The player, whose turn it was did nothing to rebuke the former observer. The opponent made a move in response and the game continued.

The observer plays again, the original player has now been reduced to a figurehead. The observer-cum-player was not content though with being a player and siezed an opportunity to wield absolute power. He had been giving advice to his (now) opponent on what to do. This couldn't last and he started making moves for that player too.

Within three moves he had won and lost.

Xiangqi players

Note: This photo is from another time.

when: Wednesday, March 19, 2014