Chinese checkers, anyone?

Chinese checkerboard modified for marble solitaire

Chinese checkerboard modified for marble solitaire

In Chapters 11 through 14 of the book “Learn Chinese Songs and Rhymes” we studied a number of action words (verbs), one of which is (tiào jump). This same word also means to leap, to hop or to skip.

Fleas are called 跳蚤 (tiàozǎo) because they jump around.

跳动 (tiàodòng) is to move up and down or to pulsate.

你的脉搏每分钟跳动几次?
Nǐ de màibó měi fēnzhōng tiàodòng jǐ cì?
What’s your pulse rate?
(How many times does your pulse beat in a minute?)

跳班 (tiàobān) or 跳级 (tiàojí) means to skip a grade.

跳槽 (tiàocáo) means to change job. This usually refers to the situation in which one goes to work for another company to the current employer’s disadvantage.

跳行 (tiàoháng) means to skip a line while reading. It can also mean to change one’s 行业 (hángyè trade or profession). In this case, it is synonymous with 改行 (gǎiháng).

心跳 (xīntiào) means heartbeat or palpitation.

我害怕极了, 心跳不停.
Wǒ hàipà jíle, xīntiào bùtíng.
I was extremely scared, and my heart thumped without stopping.

眼跳 (yǎntiào), or 眼皮跳 (yǎnpí tiào), refers to the involuntary twitching of the eyelid. Some people believe that twitching of the lower eyelids predicts a happy event, while twitching of the upper eyelids foretells bad news.

心惊肉跳 (xīnjīngròutiào) describes a state of apprehension, in which the heart beats fast and the flesh shakes.

下棋 (xiàqí) means to play a strategic board game involving small pieces. The game of go is called 围棋 (wéiqí). 西洋棋 (xīyáng qí) is the chess game. Chinese chess is called 象棋 (xiàngqí). The checkers game is 西洋跳棋 (xīyáng), and Chinese checkers is 跳棋 (tiàoqí).

The checkers game is comparatively simple. You can move only diagonally, one space at a time. When an opponent’s piece is in your way, you can jump over it and capture the piece. Whoever captures all of the opponent’s pieces first wins. In Chinese, capturing an opponent’s piece is called (chī eat). This word is also used in the game of mahjong when you are able to form a meld by taking the piece that the previous player has just discarded.

With the game of Chinese checkers, you can move a piece only when there is a neighboring piece that can be jumped over. You don’t “eat” an opponent’s piece. Rather, your goal is to get all of your pieces across the board to the triangular area on the opposite side. Whoever accomplishes this first wins. You can have up to six players in a game, but usually it is played with two or three players.

竞争 (jìngzhēng) means to compete, and 竞赛 (jìngsài) is a competition. If you would like to find out more about the personality of your friends or colleagues, invite them to a friendly game of Chinese checkers.

赖皮 (làipí)

Are the players 冷静 (lěngjìng sober and clam) or 急躁 (jízào impatient)? Do they adhere to the rules or do they try to cheat?

下棋要遵守规则, 不可以赖皮.
Xiàqí yào zūnshǒu guīzé, bù kěyǐ làipí.
When playing the board game, we must follow the rules and not cheat.

赢家不要得意洋洋.
Yíng jiā bù yào deyìyángyáng.
The winner should not act too cocky.

输家要保持良好风度.
Shū jiā yào bǎochí liánghǎo fēngdù.
The loser should maintain good demeanor.

If you have some time to spare, you could try blocking off an area on the Chinese checkerboard as shown in the above photo and play a variation of the marble solitaire. You may move a piece only by jumping over another piece. Remove the piece that was jumped over to uncover a new empty space. The only spaces available are the ones originally occupied by the pieces plus the one empty space at the apex of the triangular area. The goal is to have at the end a single piece remaining at the apex of the triangular area where the empty space is now showing in the photo. A word of caution:

这个谜题不容易解.
Zhègè mí tí bù róngyì jiě.
This puzzle is not easy to solve.

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