Collected Writings on Forgetting All Cares and Worries and Enjoying Life


Wang you qing le ji (Collected writings on forgetting all cares and worries and enjoying life), a Song dynasty print edition, was arranged and compiled by Li Yimin, a chess technical official at the Imperial Academy. Li collected works written by earlier authors on the Chinese weiqi (Chinese chess) game, as well as famous weiqi game positions and chessboards. Presented here is the earliest extant print edition of the systematic study of Chinese chess. The title was taken from a line of one of the poems written by Zhao Ji, Emperor Huizong of Song (reigned 1100‒27), which reads: “At a chessboard we forget worries and enjoy life.” The Chinese weiqi game flourished as early as the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods (770‒221 BC), however, most works on the game no longer exist. This work contains the first important works on the subject, such as Qi jing shi san pian (Thirteen essays on classic chess) and the poem by Emperor Huizong. Next it lists chess manuals, among them Qi jue (Chess strategies), which consists of four pieces by Liu Zhongfu; Lun qi jue yao za shuo (Miscellaneous explanations of essential chess strategies) by Zhang Jing; followed by several dozen diagrams of chessboards played by famous chess masters from the time of Sun Ce and Lü Fan of Eastern Wu (222‒80) to the Song dynasty (960‒1279). These diagrams include full chessboards, chess moves from the sides and corners, and partial boards, such as those entitled “Partial Chessboard Played by Sun Ce against Lü Fan,” “Diagram of the Empty Floral Triangle Board,” “Diagram of Eternal Chessboard of Eight Outstanding Talents,” and others. This is the only existing copy of the work. The engraving and printing were skillfully done, and the ink is pure and black. The spacing of lines is clear and in simple and traditional style, bearing the characteristics of Southern Song printing in the region of Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The taboo words were observed, with the character shen (personal name of Zhao Shen, Emperor Xiaozong) lacking the last stroke, which indicates that this copy was published during the Xiaozong reign (1163‒89). The copy was held in the libraries of Qing book collectors, including Qian Zeng, Huang Pilie, Wang Shizhong, Qu Shaoji, and others.

Last updated: June 7, 2017