Xu Chu was originally a peasant farmer from Yan Province, and in 193 he fought against the Yellow Turbans and Cao Cao's army when they fought over his lands, ruining the crops. He dueled with Cao Cao's bodyguard Dian Wei in battle, and the two fought to a draw, so Cao Cao recruited Xu Chu as a backup bodyguard for him, as well as a general. Xu Chu and Dian Wei became close friends during the battle for Xu Province against Liu Bei and Lu Bu. In 199, after Dian Wei was killed in the Battle of Wan Castle by the army of Zhang Xiu, Xu Chu led the attack on Wan Castle that defeated Liu Biao's army and crushed Zhang Xiu into submission.
In the aftermath, Xu Chu continued to serve as the bodyguard of Cao Cao, and in the Battle of Chibi in 208 he was wounded by an arrow to the chest. He protected his lord during the follow-up battle in which Cao Cao escaped from the combined armies of Liu Bei and Sun Quan, making sure that he was not destroyed like his 800,000-strong army. In 211, Xu Chu fought in a famous duel with Ma Chao in the Battle of Tong Gate, where he dueled Ma Chao until sundown, with two of China's greatest warriors fighting an intense battle that ended with a draw.
He later fought in the Battle of Mt. Dingjun in 218. Two years later, he was so overwhelmed when Cao Cao died that he vomited blood. His son Cao Pi made him a Marquis, and he died around 230. His son Xu Yi fought alongside him at Mt. Dingjun in 218 and went on to become a general under the Jin Dynasty, but was executed by arrogant general Zhong Hui after a slight mistake in engineering for the conquest of Shu.