Chinese players win at 18th World Xiangqi Championship

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 26, 2023
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by Stephen Cho

HOUSTON, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- The 18th World Xiangqi Championship, hosted in Houston, is drawing to a close with an electrifying finale that crowned new champions -- Meng Chen and Tang Sinan of Team China.

Demonstrating the global appeal of Xiangqi, which is often referred to as Chinese chess, the one-week prestigious event ended on Saturday night, marking the first time the tournament has been held on American soil.

In the edge-of-the-seat men's final held on Friday, Vietnamese star Lai Ly Huynh clashed with Chinese grandmaster Meng in a game brimming with skillful plays and opportunities.

Lai appeared poised to clinch his first world championship title, dominating the early stages of the match.

However, a pivotal error in the endgame led to a draw, pushing the match into a high-stakes sudden-death tiebreaker. Here, Meng's persistence and skill shone through.

Despite the challenge of moving second, he managed a stunning comeback to defeat Lai.

"Persistence. I told myself I need to be patient. I'm glad I got a second chance and I caught it," said Meng, who won the title for the first time in his career.

In the women's part, a dramatic narrative unfolded as Tang stepped into the spotlight, amassing a total of 13 points over two matches to claim the women's world champion on Thursday.

This landmark achievement marks Tang's elevation to the esteemed rank of grandmaster, a significant milestone in her Xiangqi career.

Tang's victory was a testament to her dedication and skill, eliciting emotions of joy and gratitude.

She said: "It's the most important moment in my life! I feel honored to represent Team China and glad that I clinched it!"

Tang, alongside teammate Liu Huan, also played a crucial role in securing the women's team championship for China.

The American team, with Matthew Boey and Olivier Tessier, showed potential despite not topping the leaderboard. Boey earned a commendable eight points, including a victory over teammate Tessier. Both players are determined to continue improving and return to the world stage.

The championship transcended competition, acting as a cultural bridge and fostering sportsmanship among players from diverse backgrounds.

"I had a good time! There's no easy game and players are strong. I'll continue working and hopefully I'll do better next time," said Tessier.

Reflecting on his journey with Xiangqi, Boey said: "It's a marvelous event. I started playing this game more than 20 years ago in the military. Learning Chinese and Xiangqi together improved my language skills significantly."

In the concurrently held 4th World Youth Chess Championship, young Chinese players captured three gold medals.

Among them, Liu Baihong won the U16 boys' championship, earning the title of National Chess Master; Zhou Yufei won the U16 girls' championship. Yuan Weihao and Wang Sikai secured the U12 championship and runner-up titles, respectively.

"The tournament has been a bridge between the rich traditions of Xiangqi and the enthusiasm of American audiences," said Hu Yushan, Chairman of the Houston Xiangqi Association.

The World Xiangqi Federation (WXF), the American Xiangqi Association, the Houston Xiangqi Association, and the Houston Sports Authority are collaboratively hosting this significant event, which attracted a total of 84 participants from 13 countries and regions.

The inaugural World Xiangqi Championship took place in Singapore in 1990. Enditem

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