HOUSTON, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese chess, known as Xiangqi, is set to break new ground with the 18th World Xiangqi Championships this November in Houston, the United States.
More than 120 world-class players from some 30 countries and regions are expected to compete at the event in Texas' largest city, Houston Xiangqi Association president Hu Yushan told a press conference on Friday. The championships features men's, women's and junior categories, according to Hu.
"I am looking forward to learning this new game. Thank you so much to the International Federation [referring to the World Xiangqi Federation] for having confidence in Houston. We are very grateful and honored," said Janis Burke, CEO of Houston Sports Authority, co-host of the event.
"Our Chinese American community is near and dear to my heart," Burke said, recalling the big success of the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships held in Houston, also for the first time in the United States.
"This championship will not only help promote the game, but also increase the understanding and friendship of global citizens," Hu said, noting that the popularity of Chinese chess has been growing in Europe and America.
According to the Xiangqi.com website, Chinese chess is widely played throughout Asia and has over a billion players globally.
The World Xiangqi Championship debuted in Singapore in 1990 and has been organized every two years by the WXF since 1991. ■