the native chess of Korea, is derived from the same source as
xiangqi, the chess of China. Janggi has much in common with
xiangqi, yet it carries on some characteristics of an earlier
version of Chinese chess; it also has some very interesting
pieces are arranged symmetrically, as shown above. They are
octagonal in shape, in varying sizes, placed on the intersections
of lines. Note that most of the pieces on the red side bear
different characters than their counterparts on the green side.
The red pieces are traditional Chinese characters, and most
of the green pieces show the same figures rendered in cursive.
A few of the pieces have different characters altogether, as
if to show that the two armies are truly different groups.
Each side of the board has a nine-point fortress, marked by
an “X” of diagonal lines. Note that, unlike Chinese
chess, the king (or general) begins in the center of the fortress.
There will be a little shuffling of the pieces before play begins,
which will be discussed later. But first, the pieces.
Pieces and Their Moves
are the red and green pieces, shown with their western names
(king, queen, bishop); their Korean names; the meanings of the
Korean names; and their various moves.
“Koung,” General :
Must stay within the nine-point fortress. He moves one point along
any printed line in the fortress. Note that he moves diagonally
only along the printed lines.
“Sa,” Counselor : Moves exactly the
same as the king, and is also confined to the fortress.
“Ma,” Horse : One point forward, backward,
left or right plus one point outward diagonally, as shown in the
diagram at right. This is similar to the western knight, but the
Korean knight can be blocked. Note that in the diagram (right) the
knight can not move to the red marked points, because he is blocked
by the pawn on his right. (He is not blocked by the pawn on his
“Syang,” Elephant : This piece has
a very unusual move, found only in Korean chess. He starts one point
forward, backward, left or right, and then moves two points outward
diagonally, like an extended knight’s move. He can be blocked
anywhere along this path, as he is in the diagram by the green cannon,
and by the red rook.
: Moves as many points as he wishes, in a straight line,
along the lines of the board. This is the same move as the western
rook, but note that the Korean rook can also move along the diagonal
lines in the fortress, if he is already on one of these points.
He can not jump over pieces (such as the red queen in the diagram),
and he captures as he moves (and so, can capture the green piece
at his right).
“Pyeng (red) / Tjol (green),” Foot Soldier:
One point, either forward or sideways.
the fortress, the pawn may also move forward along the printed diagonal
lines. The diagram shows the green pawn, with his increased power
of move, approaching the enemy general.
“Hpo,” Cannon (a leaping rook) : If
you are acquainted with Chinese chess, note that the Korean cannon
has some important differences. The cannon moves along any straight
line, including the lines within the fortress, but must have one
piece to jump over. In the diagram below, the cannon (H) can move
to point A (jumping over the pawn at B); to M (jumping over K);
to E (jumping over F); and may capture the green piece on D. He
may not jump over more than one piece (to point C), and may not
move without jumping (points G, L and N). Also, he may not leap
over another cannon (friend or foe) (can not go over I to J), and
may never capture another cannon.
play begins, the players have the option of changing
the positions of the bishops and knights. The first
player (usually Red), if he chooses, may place the bishop in
the knight’s place, and the knight in the bishop’s
place, on his left side, on his right side, or on both sides.
The second player (usually Green) then has the same choices
of bishop and knight placement. Each player must maintain one
bishop and one knight on each side of his line-up; he can not
begin with two knights or two bishops together on his left or
right. After the bishops and knights are arranged, the last
player to arrange his bishop and knight (usually Green) makes
the first move.
two sides alternate, moving one piece in each turn, in an attempt
to force the capture of the enemy king (general),
just as in other forms of chess. When a king is left with no
option but to be captured in the next move, he is in checkmate,
and has lost the game.
pieces capture by using their normal moves and landing on a
point occupied by an enemy piece. The enemy piece is removed
from play for the rest of the game.
that, as a rule, pieces which move straight along the horizontal
and vertical lines of the board also may move straight along
the diagonal lines drawn within the fortress.
kings may not face each other, with no intervening
pieces between them — except in the following case. If
one player finds himself with less powerful pieces on the board
than his opponent, he may take the option of facing the other
king, with no pieces intervening between the two, placing the
opponent in check. The opposing king must then move out of check,
and the game continues. The player who uses this option, however,
forsakes all possibility of winning the game. Even if, later,
he checkmates the enemy king, the game is considered a draw.
This special check by the king may happen more than once, by
the same player.
player may use his king to essentially defend an attacking
piece in the enemy fortress, since the opponent can
not capture the piece with his king and face the opposing king
(except in the above situation). If a player uses his king in
this way, to defend a piece which is in the enemy fortress giving
checkmate, the game is considered to be a draw,
not a win.
a player finds himself in a position in which he has no safe
or desirable move, he may pass. To indicate
this, he simply flips his king over in place, and it is the
other player’s turn once again.
a player forces continual repetition of the
same positions, and does not wish to break the pattern, the
game is declared a draw.
if both players agree that there is no remaining
possibility of either player winning the game, it is declared