Janggi: Korean Chess

Janggi is a strategic board game that permeates South Korean society. Although Janggi┬áis usually played recreationally, a patient crowd gathers as players begin to bet money. Men huddle around the two opponents. As horses gallop across the board; cannons fire; government officials take their positions and elephants trumpet. The octagonal pieces, which are differentiated by Chinese characters, are either blue or green and red. The crowd disperses and thickens at intervals: a game of Janggi can take over 150 moves to determine a victor. It’s possible for a player to pass their turn if they feel it’ll be to their advantage.

The Saturday breeze accompanied the players. She strolled through Namdaemun Market when she became fatigued. The levels of concentration never wavered even when a potential customer scrutinised the displayed collection of goods on sale. Soon enough they lingered longer to observe the game develop. Eventually the evening helped me gather my things and bade me farewell.

Iga Motylska

Iga Motylska is a Johannesburg-based freelance writer, photojournalist, sub-editor and blogger. She is published in numerous local and international publications, including: Forbes Africa, Forbes Woman Africa, Forbes Life Africa, CNBC Africa, Ventures Africa, Marie Claire, Sawubona, AA Traveller, Fastjet inflight magazine and Seoul Magazine among numerous others. Her editorial interests range from documenting the entrepreneurial spirit to women's and human rights issues, environmental affairs and of course travel writing.

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