象棋是什麼

象棋(Xiangqi),坊間又稱中國象棋,是聞名世界的智力運動。許多亞裔家庭都被認為是一種由父親傳給孩子的技藝。全球「懂得象棋」的人口可用億來計算。

象棋跟國際象棋(Chess)相似,同樣是一個「擒王」的圖版遊戲,玩者操作有限的資源,作出調度去解決問題,但相對於國際象棋,象棋有更多的兵種,更大的戰場,因而更能模擬更多要求使用不同工具及解難技巧的場境,對正在學習解難思維的學童有明顯的借鑑作用。

學習象棋的好處

與其他版圖遊戲一樣,當然有其教育的價值,跟象棋性質相近的國際象棋,其教育的價值更曾經成為一個英國案例的核心,在該案中的法官就說過:

“The game of chess (which, by those who follow it, as well, perhaps, as by those who do not follow it, is regarded as something rather more than a mere game) is an institution with a very long history behind it, and it possesses the somewhat notable feature that it is essentially a game of skill into which elements of chance enter, if at all, only to a negligible extent.  It is a game which, I suppose, is played all over the civilized world.  I have some evidence with enables me to say – and, indeed, I think I might have said it even without that evidence – that the nature of the game is such as to encourage the qualities of foresight, concentration, memory and ingenuity.  Even unguided by actual evidence, I should not have been surprised if the conclusion could have been reached that the game is essentially one which does possess an educational value.”

Re Dupree’s Deed Trusts [1945] Ch 16, 18 per Vaisey J

象棋作為一種教育工具,其主要優點是增強了玩家的認知能力和解決複雜問題的能力。通過我們對教導所有年齡和不同背景的學生的經驗,無論是學生還是成人,專注力不足給過度活躍的兒童又或是視障的學員,我們注意到象棋不僅提高了他們的認知能力和解決問題的技能, 也整體地提高了他們面對自身殘疾時的自信和學習方法。

象棋正名

常見的Chinese chess其實不準確,因為象棋並非國際象棋(Chess)的中文版。

若取信於印度東傳論,則象棋可稱為Chinese Chaturanga,但正如恰圖蘭卡西傳歐洲後,經過發展成為現代西洋棋的過程中有了自己的名字Chess,則明顯注入了大量中國原素的象棋也有自己的名稱,也就是「象棋」。

至於象棋的英文譯名,近代以「象棋」二字的拼音寫法為標準,即Xiangqi。