Gomoku is a strategic race between two people’s brains; each one tries to place five stones in a row at first. And like any other board game, this one also challenges your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. So, how to win Gomoku? Surely, it depends on your skills, level of practice, and understanding of your opponent’s psychology. While these are crucial, we provide some more strategic tips to enhance your dominance in this game. Let’s hit the core.
What is Gomoku?
Gomoku was originally conceived in Japan around 1886. This is a board game (15 x 15 grid lines) that requires two people to play. Playing this game is very simple; you just have to strategically move the stones (black or white) throughout the intersections of grid lines to form a “Five in a row” position before your opponent. The 5-row can be horizontal, diagonal, or vertical, and, like chess, the play proceeds on a turn basis.
How to Win Gomoku?
In this section, we describe some crucial tips to improve your chance of winning your next “Gomoku” game.
1. Balance Between Defense and Offense
As mentioned earlier, gomoku is a brain game; aggressiveness and quick advancement are not always effective ways to win a shot. Some quick aggressive moves may create a winning situation, but if your opponent is a high-level player, you will be surprised at how quickly he or she covers up your progress. Also, being too defensive is not logical; by being so, you might lose several chances to gain competitive advantages. So, think analytically and create a balance between offense and defense.
2. Dealing Threats
Be concerned about some nearly invisible threats. If you see that the opponent has formed a four, a broken four, a straight three, or a broken three, take immediate action to diminish the threat.
3. Blocking the Four
Another crucial threat-tackling trick is known as blocking the opponent’s four. If you see that the opponent has already formed a four in a row, then do not care about anything else; just block that. And think about the next step after blocking the near-win situation.
4. Develop Multiple Threats
Do not target only one 5-row formation. Import variation in the movement of the stones and create a number of threats. It is effective to maintain at least two three-in-a-row placements. And while the opponent becomes busy tackling these two threats form a new one. You will see that, in a gradual process, the opponent will fail to tackle one and you will create four in a row. Follow this and create multiple four-in-a-row positions.
5. Take Time Before Moving a Stone
To win the gomoku game, you have to think ahead. So, do not move a stone immediately, just after the play of your opponent. Take time, think critically, and form a plan for some moves in advance.
6. Think from the Opponent’s End
Your rival in the gomoku game also needs time to think and plan. So, make the most of this time by putting yourself in the shoes of your opponent. What would you think or do if you were the opponent? This will give you a valuable idea about the competitor’s next plays. You can also take some advance preparation in this manner to deal with any threat formation.
7. Gain Control of the Board’s Center
Well, to win, you can form the “five in a row” context anywhere on the board. But, eventually, the head-to-head encounters occur in the middle portion of the board. So, from the beginning, try to gain control of the middle of the board. It is your competitive advantage.
8. Use Formatted Playing Strategies
There are many strategies you can find on the internet that have been proven successful in board games, including Gomoku. Some that must be mentioned are Alpha-Beta, Threat Space, Threat Search Tree, etc. You can use those to get a win. However, we see that these strategies’ application can be fruitful against an average player. If you are playing against an advanced-level professional, he or she also knows these strategies. And there will be no chance for you, as the opponent can predict every move of yours.
9. Try to Form a “Fork”
A fork move is a winning move; it requires careful planning and the capability to think ahead. To get this, you have to be able to form two potential rows with four stones. It is a tough challenge for your opponent, as tackling one may earn you a win with the other four-stone line.
10. Identify a Pattern
It is very crucial. Every player has a pattern and some basic moves. If you can find those in advance, you will be able to know the playing style of the opponent. Surely, you won’t be able to predict every approach of the opponent, but you can have a general idea of his or her playing strategy. In this way, you can form an effective plan.
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It is certain that the above-mentioned strategies cannot confirm your victory (as it depends on your capabilities). But if you want to know how to win gomoku, these tips and tricks are vital. However, we would like to mention two more things here. To begin, don’t be so fixated on a single strategy. Maintain a flexible approach and go forward with a trial-and-error method. Secondly, always keep an open mind with the goal of learning new things from each play. This attitude will help you enormously to gain a higher level of dominance in the Gomoku board game.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, there is not a “Tie” option in the Gomoku board game. The final result has only one winner.
Yes, now Gomoku can be played online. One of the popular online platforms is PlayOK.
As with any other board game, Gomoku influences the improvement of your critical thinking skills. Also, it teaches how to control emotions and make strategic decisions. This game is highly popular in China, Japan, Korea, etc.