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Haizi

horse-after-gun

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Haizi

I have done a bit of research on ma3hou4pao4 and understand that it refers to a pattern of Chinese chess by which the player can effectively checkmate his/her opponent. However, it is against my intuition that ma3hou4pao4 (afterwit) originates from this pattern.

My interpretation of the term is like this:

In Chinese chess, a ma3 is often used as a defense against a pao4's threat. The player could do this either proactively or reactively. To me, ma3hou4pao4 means moving a ma3 in response to a pao4's move and thus it is a move without foresight (i.e., afterwit).

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roddy

Afterwit isn't a word, which is why I can't understand this.

The dictionary gives mahoupao as 'belated advice or action' and the nearest English translation I can think of would be '20-20 hindsight' (to see things perfectly when you look back at the past) or 'to close the stable door after the horse has bolted' .

Roddy

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Quest

Ma Hou Pao is a well known Chinese Chess "killing" move. Both horse and canon belong to the attacker. They are on the same "team". The horse is not defending against a canon. They work together to checkmate an undefended king. In MaHouPao, if the king try to move left or right to avoid the canon, the horse will get it, and if it moves up the canon will get it. So, it's a dead end, a checkmate. The analogy in real life is when a person's first action/opinion is ineffective/wrong (if the horse alone can't kill the king), he always has another card (the canon behind the horse), a second option to make sure he would succeed the second time.

e.g.

A: "Please help me debug this program, I don't know what I did wrong."

B: "Okay, see, in this line you forgot to put a semi colon."

A: "oh! I knew it, I knew I forgot to put a semi colon there!!"

A is being MaHouPao.

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roddy

Ok, I understand the chess part now (Chinese chess is great).

However, all the dictionaries I have indicate that being a mahoupao means that you are doing something too late for it to be useful

Quests example is different though.

Roddy

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Quest

Yes, the canon behind the horse backs it up to checkmate the king. A second action/speech backs up/reinforces the first one.

It's often used when the first time the person didn't get it, but he somehow found out the correct answer then immediately said "oh yea this was what I thought, I just didn't say it." He can't be wrong that way, as MaHouPao can always checkmate a king.

It's in some ways the same as 事后孔明

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Haizi
It's often used when the first time the person didn't get it' date=' but he somehow found out the correct answer then immediately said "oh yea this was what I thought, I just didn't say it." He can't be wrong that way, as MaHouPao can always checkmate a king.

It's in some ways the same as 事后孔明[/quote']

This is an interesting and plausible interpretation, although I am not totally convinced. You don't have to be wrong at the first time and right at the second time to be "qualified" as a ma3hou4pao4. To me, the Chinese chess tactic is more like an antithesis of hindsight because it takes into account all the possible moves.

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