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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Budding Writers -> 
The difference between Chinese and Western cultures on the perspective of chess (II)
    2018-06-06  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Feng Ping, Poland Central European review reporter

Firstly, in regard to the pieces, international chess doesn’t have a cannon. This is because of the origins of chess. Chinese people invented gun powder long ago and implemented it into war very early. Modern Chinese chess was formed in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) when there were cannon wars, while Western chess was formed long before the Song Dynasty.

Secondly, difference can be seen in the chessboards. On the Chinese chessboard, there are some strategic positions when playing the game. When moving the rock or other pieces, if it occupies a very important position, it will be very hard for the opponents to fight back. While in the Western chessboard, it is very flat. The armies need to march in the front, and reach the bottom of the opponent’s side.

This can be explained in the difference between Chinese and Western battles historically. In the West, especially in Europe, the battle field was rather plain. The army needed to match in the front. The way of thinking in the Western strategies were relatively direct. Soldier’s courage was much valued in the battle, while in ancient China, the battle took place in a very complex terrain. At the same time, in Chinese philosophy, to win a war, all elements must line up: the right time, the advantage of place, and harmony of people. So the army needed to occupy an advantageous place in order to win the war. In regard to the strategy, Chinese chess players need to think indirectly in order to win the war. The art of war from Sunzi is fully embodied in the chess game; while in the Western chess, the strategies are relatively direct. It is rather a cruel and brutal battle.

Thirdly, Chinese chess doesn’t have a “queen.” Chinese society is a man-orientated society. In Western society, the queen has a lot of power. Throughout the history of Europe, the political marriage of a queen would always bring the union of two kingdoms. For example, the queen of Poland, Jadwiga, married the king of Lithuania, leading to the merging of Poland and Lithuania, and creating a prosperous Jagiellonian dynasty. Take the British queen, Elizabeth I, as an example. The reason why she refused to marry was because she wanted to have “balance of power” among all the candidate countries, which a marriage would not bring.

The king of Chinese chess can’t move out of palace, while the king of Western chess would command the battle, and fight in the battle. When the king hides behind the rock, it is a very strong defense strategy in the Western chess. It is a micro picture of the palace life in ancient times.

Fourthly, there is a difference in the pawn piece between Chinese chess and Western chess. In both chesses, pawns stand in front of the army to protect the country, and they can move very slowly in each movement. However, in Chinese chess, even if the pawn crosses the line, it can’t be really promoted, or rewarded much based on its achievement because of its status in the society. In Western chess, if the pawn reaches the bottom, it can be very powerful, and totally changes its destiny — changes it into a queen. From this we can see the severity of the hierarchal system in ancient China.

I think the difference in the chess can also be seen in the modern Chinese and Western societies. Life is just like a battle field. We need to think carefully about each movement so as not to have regret after each move.

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