## Same Direction Cannon Opening: Black Edge Horse variation

This opening was discussed during a local Xiangqi tournament recently.

1. C2=5  C8=5

The game begins with Same Direction Cannons opening.

2. H2+3  H8+7    3. R1=2  R9+1

Red has selected filed chariot whereas Black has selected ranked chariot.

4. H8+7  R9=4    5. P3+1  H2+1

Usually, Black would play H2+3 for proper horse formation to consolidate his center file.
In this game, Black has selected edge horse, this is one of the old variation for Same Direction Cannons Opening.

6. H3+4  …………

Since there is only one Black's left horse to protect center pawn, Red advances his horse to attack the center pawn

6. …………  R4+4    7. H4+5  H7+5    8. C5+4  A4+5    9. E7+5  R4+1

In this game, Black has played R4+1, which is a mistake. The correct move should be C2=4 or C2=3.

Therefore, what is the best move for Red? This is where the discussion started.

10. A6+5  …………

Red A6+5 is the correct move!
Red is planning to sacrifice his horse to gain advantage.
If Red tried to protect his horse by using the chariot, Black would gain the advantage.

10. …………  R4=3   11. R9=6  …………

This is the key move!

11. …………  R3+1

If Black captured Red's horse....

12. R6+8  …………

Key move!

12. …………  R3=2   13. K5=6  …………

To threaten checkmate by R6+1.

13. …………  R2+2   14. K6+1  C2-2

Black is using his cannon to protect bottom rank of File 4.

15. R2+9  P3+1   16. R6=5  A6+5   17. R2=3

Checkmate. Red wins.