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    Xiangqi Stories

    Wu Qiu Shou Wang, the Game Official (Click Here for Artwork)

    During the Han Dynasty, there was a Game Official position in its administrative system. Wu Qiu Shou Wang was the Game Official of Han Wu Di. Wu was a native of Zhao (south west of Zhao Cheng in Shanxi) and was a student of the renowned Dong Zhongshu. Wu was famous for being a scholar, as well as a great Gewu player. Emperor Han Wu Di was a great fan of Gewu (also known as Saizhan) and established this Game Official position to serve himself.

    Gewu evolved from Liubo and was one step close to the modern Xiangqi. The basic difference was that Liubo involved dice and Gewu did not. Both games became very popular during the Han Dynasty.

    As the Chinese saying goes, 'Serving the King is like attending a tiger', the Game Official was a tough position. If you lose to the king, he will consider you a lousy player and fire you. However, if you beat the king, he is not going to be happy, because no one likes to lose. Thus Wu Qiu Shou Wang was soon fired by the king. He begged Wu Di to let him stay in the palace and take care of the royal horses, but Wu Di turned him down. He eventually asked for permission to join the army in fighting the Huns (Humgarians), and Wu Di accepted his request.

    Later on, Wu Qiu Sou Wang unearthed an antique ding (a three legged cooking vessel) in Fenyin and he presented it to Wu Di. All the officials came to congratulate the emperor, because dings were considered as good luck omens, calling the vessel a Zhou Ding. The Zhou Ding symbolized the unification of the China, which Emperor Shi of the Qin Dynasty failed to possess. Emperor Wu Di was very pleased, but Wu Qiu Sou Wang insisted that this was not the Zhou Ding. This angered Wu Di. Wu Qiu Shou Wang thus explained, 'This ding was known as the Zhou Ding during the Zhou Dynasty. After Emperor Qin Shi united China, he sent his followers to look for this Ding but failed. Now that this Ding has resurfaced, it should be called the Han Ding instead.' Wu Di was greatly pleased and rewarded him with large quantity of gold. This event was well-known in history, known as 'Shou Wang's debate on Zhou Ding'.
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