Xiangqi is a two-player Chinese board game in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi and janggi. The present-day form of Xiangqi originated in China and is therefore commonly called Chinese chess in English.
The first character Xiàng here has the meaning "image" or "representational", hence Xiangqi can be literally translated as "representational chess".
The game is sometimes called "elephant chess" after an alternative meaning of "elephant". Xiangqi has a long history. Though its precise origins have not yet been confirmed, the earliest literary reference comes from the 9th century.
Xiangqi is one of the most popular board games in the world. Distinctive features of Xiangqi include the unique movement of the pao ("cannon") piece, a rule prohibiting the generals (similar to chess kings) from facing each other directly, and the river and palace board features, which restrict the movement of some pieces.