Gomoku is a traditional Japanese two-player game consisting of a board and a number of pieces (called stones). In this game, black stones will be for one of the players and white pieces for the opponent. This game is almost similar to tic-tac-toe but is more complicated. Each player must place one of the pieces on the board. To win this game, you should try to arrange 5 pieces in a straight line. This line can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal.

How to play Gomoku

First, the pieces must be divided equally among the players. Give the black stones to one player and the white to another person. The player who has the black pieces must start the game. Each player must place their stones on the intersection of the grid lines on the board (not inside the squares).

  • Be careful in choosing the location of the pieces because they are fixed until the end of the game, and you cannot change their place.
  • Skill in this game can determine the outcome. Of course, the results have shown that if a person with black stones is skilled and plays optimally, the probability of winning the game is more in favor of that player.
  • Because it is mathematically easier for the black player to win, they have set rules to balance the game in professional games. For example, the person starting with the black stone must place their first piece on the intersection in the middle of the board. The opponent can place a piece anywhere on the board. Black’s second move should be done based on a rule. This person must put the stone at a distance of at least 3 intersections away from the first stone.

In each turn, a player must place a piece on the board. The game starts with the black, and then it is the turn of the white. Both players should place one of their pieces on the board until the end of the game.

Chess clocks are used in Gomoku tournaments to measure game time

In Gomoku, you will win if you can arrange 5 of your pieces in a straight line. This line can be in any direction, such as vertical, horizontal, or diagonal.

Gomoku rules can be different. Each game rule specifies that arranging several pieces in an unbroken line leads to winning. Each Row with 6 pieces or more is called overline and is not counted.

Gokumo game strategies

  • Think about your next move on your opponent’s turn

Considering that the playing time in tournaments is limited and each player has ten minutes, it is better to use all the moments to think. When it is your opponent’s turn, your time doesn’t change, and in order to save more time in your turn, you can take advantage of your opponent’s time to think.

If your opponent has placed 4 pieces in a row, place your stone in that row without wasting time thinking about your next move.

  • Beginning movements are important

If you start the game poorly and your opponent has advanced the game well, you can hardly get rid of this bad situation to continue the game in your favor. So focus on the first ten moves.

  • Learn about your opponent’s game strategy

Before starting the game, you can ask other players about that person’s strategy or find information about that person on gomokuworld.com (for professional players). See if your opponent is more inclined to play offensively or defensively.

  • Don’t let your opponent place 4 open pieces in a row

If 4 stones of a player are placed in a row so that both ends are open spaces, it is called “open 4”. You should block your opponent’s path when you see “open 3”. Otherwise, your opponent will reach “open 4”, and the game will end against you.

  • Make two lines to attack

If you arrange your stones to make two lines to attack(a fork), you will get close to winning. The fork is an attack method that makes it more difficult for the opponent to defend and should block two lines with one move.

For example, you can arrange your stones like an X-shape or plus-shape (two open 3s). In this method, your opponent tries to block one of these “open 3s”. Then you can convert the other line into “open 4”.

  • Learn from the professional players

You can watch skilled players’ games on YouTube and learn some tips. Of course, try to pause the video after each move and think about the reason for choosing that move. You can also understand their plan and strategy. After you get better at playing, you can think about what you would do if you were playing instead before you see their moves in the video.


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