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Topic: Tips for gomoku (and renju) players wanting to learn to play Pente better.
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watsu

Posts: 1,265
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
Tips for gomoku (and renju) players wanting to learn to play Pente better.
Posted: Sep 6, 2022, 6:05 PM

I'm going to be adding to this thread as I have time over the next few weeks. It's designed to help gomoku (and perhaps renju) players understand the strategic differences between their games and Pente. Earlier, I created this thread to illustrate positions in which one player would win in gomoku (or Pente) but the other player would win in the other game. A player not being able to win in gomoku due to overlines not winning is a relatively infrequent occurance. On the other hand, winning Pente positions which would lose in gomoku are actually quite common. Below is an example live swap2 Pente game I played earlier this year against an expert/ master level gomoku player.




In gomoku, I think player two can likely either draw or win the position after the third stone. Already by move 4. D5, black is in serious trouble in Pente. 4. ... F5 and 7. ... G7 are better moves for black than the moves my opponent chose, but the dynamic which capturing adds to the game quickly rules out the knight's move grid strategy for Pente (though it may fare slightly better with keryo Pente). Black resigned at move 10; neither a block at K8 or F8 will prevent a white victory. If 10. ... F8, white attacks black's double keystone pair (G7,F8) with 11. H6 and wins either with 12. K8 etc. (if 11. ... E9) or 12. E9 etc. if black doesn't protect the double keystone pair.

If 10. ...K8, then 11. E8 F8 12. E9 (forcing the double keystone pair formation and then attacking it from above) leads to a win for white.

Below is another example of a swap2 Pente game against a gomoku player who attempted to use the knight's moves gomoku box technique against me in Pente.


Retired from TB Pente, but still playing live games & exploring variants like D, poof and boat


watsu

Posts: 1,265
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
Re: Tips for gomoku (and renju) players wanting to learn to play Pente better.
Posted: Sep 6, 2022, 8:26 PM

For the renju players, we have this example ninuki renju game from 1927 (overlines don't win and double 3s aren't allowed for either player except to block a 5). Black resigned this game, since the double 3 block (H7) is forbidden and white threatens a double keystone pair capture (opening up both a 3 and a 3_1 at the same time with a capture at J6). These double keystone pair situations occur quite frequently in Pente (as the above examples indicate) and are one of the primary ways to gain a winning position in Pente.




Retired from TB Pente, but still playing live games & exploring variants like D, poof and boat
watsu

Posts: 1,265
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
Re: Tips for gomoku (and renju) players wanting to learn to play Pente better.
Posted: Sep 7, 2022, 5:21 AM

Now, let's take a look at pairs of adjacent stones in gomoku in comparison to Pente (ignoring for the moment opening rules and restrictions) -




A pair of adjacent stones is probably the strongest two stone formation in gomoku, since if black doesn't play to K12, K9 or one of white's other options, then white has four options for extending the line into a 3 level threat which black needs to address to avoid losing in two moves; those four options in this case are K9, K12, K8 and K13.



In gomoku, this would likely be a weaker position for white than the first board, since black has three options for blocking white's line (K9, K11 and K13) and white only has the same three options for creating a 3 level threat on the third move.


With the potential for capturing pairs in Pente (and winning the game with captures) the creation of a pair of adjacent stones becomes less desirable in many cases. In 79 opening Pente positions (tournament rules) analyzed by Pente master Zoeyk in this thread, there are only two cases (ignoring mirrored positons) where the recommended third move for white is to create an adjacent pair of stones unless black has created an adjacent pair of stones first.


K10,K9,N10,M9,L9


K10,K9,N10,N9,L10


There are also two cases where black does create a pair of adjacent stones and the recommended move for white is to avoid creating a pair in reply.

K10,L9,N10,M10,K8


K10,L9,N10,L10,L8


These last two example positions illustrate the two most common 3 stone formations (including mirrored shapes) which white uses in Zoeyk's opening analysis thread. In both, the creation of a stone space stone line (called a potential in Pente terminology) either verically (the L formation) or diagonally (the hat formation) is chosen rather than creating an adjacent pair of stones.

Retired from TB Pente, but still playing live games & exploring variants like D, poof and boat
watsu

Posts: 1,265
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
Re: Tips for gomoku (and renju) players wanting to learn to play Pente better.
Posted: Sep 9, 2022, 5:53 AM

A few months ago, I posted a forum thread about Pente's equivalent to joseki in which I tried to think of relatively "balanced" opening proposals for swap Pente variants (Turn based D Pente and live game swap2 Pente). D Pente proposals won't necessarily be helpful for swap2 ideas, but the best turn based ones need to be as balanced as possible against high level opponents, otherwise in depth analysis of the proposal can spot the side which has the advantage. Unlike in swap2 gomoku, Pente proposals are going to have one player or the other with a winning advantage (if played correctly, since there are no draws in Pente) but if the definition of joseki is loosened to include games between expert or master level players which last at least 18 moves, then I can come up with some swap Pente proposals which fit the modified definition.

The following game was suggested as an example in the Pente joseki thread by Karlw:



A number of classic and well studied wedge lines fit the definition; here's an example game on one of those wedge lines:



Some turn based swap (D) games between highly rated TB D Pente players (above 1800) also qualify; below are a few examples which black won:











White could move to 18. H11 instead of 18. N4 in this next game:


In this next game, 20. L9 instead of 20. J13 is a white win:








And some games which white won:

































Retired from TB Pente, but still playing live games & exploring variants like D, poof and boat
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