RE: About the Chinese Chess - Xiangqi, 象棋
I didn't invest much time into western chess, less than a year: I was only 12 years old, and I lacked discipline to study hard, I just played for fun. My parents bought me a chess computer (no good players where I lived that I knew of). I played against that some although it often cheated if you started to win because it would overheat when it "thought" too hard, and I read a few chess books, so I got good enough to beat any normal player I met in the area (small town).
I went to one chess tournament, which was fun overall, but it was also where I first experienced that some people are annoying in their competitiveness :-) I think I was rated around 1250 in chess rankings from that tournament, which is pretty weak, but good enough to crush amateurs.
I remember coming back from the tournament (my parents had to take me as it was a couple hours away from where I lived) and I couldn't make my brain stop thinking about chess positions, which was a little disturbing as it was the first time I didn't have full conscious control over my thoughts.
I was also very ambitious then, so if I spent time at it, I wanted to become among the best, and it looked like I would have to invest too much of life to potentially reach that goal (and it seemed from my brief reading on the subject that many of the strongest chess players were a bit crazy). So I gave up chess very early and never really played more than a few games after that. Nowadays, I'm less competitive, so I'm comfortable to learn something and just be "good" at it, but I found I liked go more than chess.
I played both games at very different ages, so maybe I would enjoy chess more this time if I went into it seriously. My problem as a kid was that I didn't like it when I couldn't find any obvious good move (in go this is never a problem, it is just a case of having to decide among too many good moves).