Xie An (谢安) (320–385), courtesy name Anshi (安石), formally Duke Wenjing of Luling (庐陵文靖公), was a Jin Dynasty (265-420) statesman who, despite his lack of military ability, led Jin through a major crisis—attacks by Former Qin. His line became one of the two most honored during the subsequent Southern Dynasties—the other being Wang Dao's line—and in the minds of the people no less honored than imperial clans.
The Battle of Fei River
In fall 383, Former Qin's emperor Fu Jiān launched a major attack, hoping to destroy Jin and unite China. Xie sent his brother Xie Shi (谢石) to command the forces resisting Former Qin. As Xie Xuan, the advance general under Xie Shi's command, was ready to depart for the frontlines, he sought further instruction from Xie An, who only stated, "I will have additional instructions later." Xie Xuan did not dare to ask anything further. They then went to Xie An's vacation home, where they played Go—a game that Xie Xuan was typically far better than Xie An at, but Xie Xuan, anxious about the coming battle, lost to the far calmer Xie An. Meanwhile, Huan, believing that the capital Jiankang needed additional defenses, sent several thousand elite soldiers to help the capital defense; instead, Xie sent them back to Huan, stating that the capital was already well-guarded and that the troops would be better off defending the western provinces (under Huan's command).
The Former Qin forces quickly captured the important city of Shouyang. However, after the armies stalemated at the Fei River (which no longer exists, but probably flowed through Lu'an, near the Huai River), Former Qin forces, in an effort to try to draw Jin forces across the river, retreated—and then oddly enough panicked and collapsed. When news of the victory arrived at Xie An's headquarters, he was playing Go with a guest, but did not display particular emotion, but only stated, "The kids won a battle." However, his excitement became evident when, after the game, he was going back to his bedroom, and he forgot about the threshold to his bedroom and broke his wooden sandle without realizing it.