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Topic: Pente for Dummies, by: jasonb
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zoeyk

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Registered: Mar 4, 2007
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Age: 42
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Pente for Dummies, by: jasonb
Posted: Aug 12, 2014, 10:31 PM

This thread and post was originally created by player: jasonb.

To join in the discussion of this thread please go to the mirror thread of this thread where you may make new posts:
http://pente.org/gameServer/forums/thread.jspa?forumID=27&threadID=4553&tstart=15



Pente for Dummies
I am by no means a Pente expert, that's why I feel well suited for writing this guide. There are plenty of strategy guides in this forum written by players who have much more experience and talent than I do. My intent is to write this from a beginner's perspective. I will build on this as I learn and welcome comments or suggested improvements. Most of these tips were shared with me by other players on this site whom I respect and greatly appreciate for the time they spent helping me.

Rules
Players take turns placing their stones on the intersecting lines of the board. The first play is always in the center of the board. The object of the game is to either get 5 stones in a row (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) or capture 5 of your opponent's pairs. Captures are made by surrounding 2 of your opponents' stones (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) with 2 of your stones. A player's stones cannot be captured by moving in-between 2 of their opponent's existing stones.

Tournament Rule: The first player's 2nd move must be at least 3 intersections away from the center of the board. The tournament rule is designed to make the game more fair for the second player. Even with this rule in place, player 1 still has the advantage. When playing rated on this web site, the tournament rule is enforced, however it is common practice for the players that frequent this site to use the tournament rule on non-rated games as well. So, if someone asks you to use this rule, you will know why.

Initiative
Having the initiative basically means you are forcing your opponent to react to the threat of you winning; for instance open 3s, open ended 4s, or a 5th pair capture. The person that is in control of the game for the foreseeable future is the one with the initiative. If you don't have initiative, try to take it from your opponent. If you have it, keep it, even if it means giving up a pair or two.

One way to take initiative is to block your opponent's 3 and set yourself up for a 3 at the same time.



Slow Down

Before making your move, figure out what your opponent's best move is. Also determine what the other player's best defense will be to the move you are about to make. A common mistake I make is to get tunnel vision and focus on my objective rather than what is going on with the rest of the board. Make sure you look at the WHOLE board before every move.

Here is a handy checklist shared by Snow White:
- Check your opponent's last move. Ask yourself - why did they move there? Whats the plan?
- Any threats that I need to address? Can I ignore it and make a stronger threat of my own.
- Any free captures for the taking - especially one that might weaken my opponent's best line?
- Can I simplify to an easy winning position - connect two lines with one stone?
- Can I force my opponent's moves multiple times allowing me to build momentum?
- Will the move I'm considering facilitate the next 3-4 moves?
- Will the move I'm considering strengthen my opponent's position?

Pairs
- Try to win by getting 5 in a row AND by capturing 5 of your opponent's pairs. Don't limit yourself to one form of offense or you will only be playing half the game.
- Capture pairs at every opportunity, except when it will cause you to loose control of the game or if you see a quicker way to win.
- Visualize what the board will look like BEFORE you take the pair. Sometimes taking a pair will leave you at a disadvantage. For instance, you could create or open up a pair of your own for your opponent to capture.
- Avoid placing 2 stones in a row (pair) unless it gives you an advantage.

Double Threat
Make intersecting lines of 3 in a row and continue to build off of them in all directions until you've achieved a double threat. Don't let your opponent do this to you.

Examples of a double threat:
- Open 3 and potential for capturing a 5th pair
- An open 3 and an open ended 4.
- Two open 3s, as shown below.

K10,G6,K13,K9,M10,G8,L10,J10,N10,O10,L12,M11,L11,J14,L12,L13,L8,L9,H11,J10,K12,N9,M12


Extending
- Don't extend an open ended 3 into a 4 until you have good reason to do so, such as reaching another stone to start another line, forcing a capture, or maintaining initiative.

- Here is an example of extending for the purpose of capturing a pair. Be on the lookout for opportunities to inflict this on your opponent and watch out for situations where it may be used against you.




Shapes
There are many shapes in the game of Pente; learn to use them to your advantage and always be on the lookout for your opponent using them against you.

Basic Shapes: Lots of useful information on this site. (Click Here)

Fukumi: Zoeyk's examples of a 3x2 shape that threatens to become a 4x3 shape if left unanswered. (Click Here)

Pawnbroker: This is powerful triangle shape that is often used to force pair captures and take control of the game. The trap is set at move 4. For a detailed explanation, (Click Here)

K10,L11,K13,K9,H12,M9,J11,L9,N9,H9,J9


Keystone: Stone that blocks 4 stones from becoming 5. If one of these stones is captured, the stone will have to be replaced or your opponent will make Pente (5 in a row). A double keystone capture will create a double threat, which can't be blocked.
- Example 1: The white stones in this example are the keystones.



- Example 2: Below is example of extending for the purpose of capturing a keystone pair that results in taking initiative (reference moves 8 thru 12). Notice how Player 1 is forced to respond to the capture, even though they had an open 4. See how Player 2 ends up in control. This tactic is used quite a bit . . . learn how to use it and prevent it from being used against you. The idea is to attack a keystone pair that crosses through your opponent's offensive line in such a way that they cannot rebuild it and block your 4 at the same time.


Example 3: The keystone capture is an important concept to understand. Here is another example where Player 2 steals initiative by first extending and then attacking Player 1's keystone pair. Reference move 5.



Opens
The first few moves in a game can often determine the outcome . . . win or loose. That is why a strong open is so important.

Hat: A commonly used shape is the elongated triangle which resembles a hat. Below is one way to expand on the hat shape. Notice what happens if Player 2 does not react in time (Ref moves 3 thru 7).


4x3 Triangle: This is a slight variation to the hat shape. Notice how Player 1 sacrifices a pair to keep initiative.


5x3 Triangle: Although the shape has symmetry, it is one of the weaker opens . . . probably because it's easier for Player 2 to predict and defeat.


Wedge: Common sequence of moves initiated by player two's second move used to potentially trip up player 1. At this point, both players have lost 2 pairs, so the strategy can quickly shift from getting 5 in a row to protecting your last pair from being captured.

Hammer: Common open initiated by Player 2. There are many variations of what happens next, but Player 2 has the advantage with this open if they play correctly. Use the database to search this shape.


Other Stuff to Consider
Play Often:Ideally play others that are slightly better than you, so winning will be an obtainable goal. Loosing gets old quick, but if you constantly play those that are no match for you, your game will not improve.

Database:Learn to use the database, it is a valuable tool. Review your past games and figure out what you could have done better and what move was the deciding point in the game. Often this move is early on in the game and is the reason well thought out opens are so important.

Computer AI: Play the computer opponents, starting with mm_ai1 and work your way up. By the time you are able to consistently beat mm_ai8 from either seat, you will be a Pente rock star!

Pente Software: Download Pente 10.4 software from Mark's Five-in-a-row site -- this program has the same computer AI that is used here on this site. I like this program mostly because of the back button for undos. If you make a mistake and want to try something else, just back up to the place you want, and start over from there. If you want to see what the computer would do in your circumstance, just change your Player to the computer and click the green button. Configure it the way you want under Options and start playing. This tool is VERY cool!

FUN: And the most important rule, have fun.

To join in the discussion of this thread please go to the mirror thread of this thread where you may make new posts:
http://pente.org/gameServer/forums/thread.jspa?forumID=27&threadID=4553&tstart=15

.

Scire hostis animum - Intelligere ludum - Nosce te ipsum - Prima moventur conciliat - Nolite errare


zoeyk

Posts: 2,006
Registered: Mar 4, 2007
From: San Francisco
Age: 42
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Re: Pente for Dummies, by: jasonb
Posted: Aug 13, 2014, 4:21 AM

I eventually may have this recorded into video or voice over to play along as you read. I have a female friend that may be willing to do it, we'll see.

Scire hostis animum - Intelligere ludum - Nosce te ipsum - Prima moventur conciliat - Nolite errare
zoeyk

Posts: 2,006
Registered: Mar 4, 2007
From: San Francisco
Age: 42
Home page
Re: Pente for Dummies, by: jasonb
Posted: Aug 14, 2014, 2:39 AM

bump!

Scire hostis animum - Intelligere ludum - Nosce te ipsum - Prima moventur conciliat - Nolite errare
Replies: 2   Views: 8,274   Pages: 1  
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