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Pente rules

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Pente is a board game which is very similar to Go-Moku. You might want to read the Go-Moku rules first. There are two differences. The first is a minor one: an overline (six or more in a row) also wins, contrary to Go-Moku. The second however changes the board game dramatically: you can capture enemy stones. Another way to win a Pente game besides making five in a row is to capture 10 enemy stones.

Object of the board game

The goal of pente is to make five stones in a row before your opponent does, or to capture 10 enemy stones. Five in a row can be made horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Pente is a draw if the whole board is filled with stones without any player having five in a row or capturing 10 stones.


Pente is played on a 19 by 19 Go-bord. In turn each player places a stone on an intersection point. Black begins. On we have adopted the tournament rule. This means that black's very first move must be in the center of the game board. White's first move can be anywere. Black's second move must be outside the 5 by 5 area in the center of the game board. White's second move, and all moves after that, can be anywhere.

Figure 1: Black has done the first move on a Pente-board on j10.

5 or more in a row

One way to win the game is to make five or more stones in a row. This is a difference from Go-Moku where only 5 on a row win. But many Go-Moku strategies continue to work here.

Figure 2: Black wins by making 6 in a row.

Capturing stones

A second way to win is by capturing 10 enemy stones. You can capture enemy stones in pairs by flanking them with your own stones. You can capture only pairs, not 3 or more stones in a row. Capturing can happen horizontal, vertical and diagonal. Figure 3 shows how it works. White is to move and there is already one stone flanking the black pair. By placing a stone to the right of the pair, the black stones will disappear.

Figure 3: White captures two black stones.
If your opponent fills a gap between two of your stones, those stones are not captured. You can only capture stones when you place the flanking stone yourself. Figure 4 shows a pair that is not captured.

Figure 4: The black pair is not captured.


Because there are two ways of winning, you can combine them in a strategy. Here are some situations useful to know:

Figure 5: Double attack

By placing the white stone in such a way that it flanks two black pairs, white will always be able to capture next move. Black will be able to defend only one pair by making 3 in a row.

Figure 6: Another double attack

This is also a double attack. Black is certainly able to defend his pair against capturing, but then white will make an open four, winning the board game. So black must block white's row, and his pair will disappear if white flanks it on the other side.

Figure 7: Counterattack

Black threatens to capture white's pair. White can choose between defending his pair by making three in a row, and to counterattack black's pair. If black captures, white will also be able to capture. Counterattacking is recommended when you have captured more stones than your opponent. You should not do it when your opponent has captured more stones than you.

Final remarks

Black has a big advantage because he begins. But for both players, the opening is very important. After three or four moves, you can be completely lost. Try to minimize the number of pairs you have (only they can be captured). Instead force your opponent to make pairs. Don't think you can block an open four by capturing, the next move your opponent will certainly play a stone on the same place.

Have fun with this nice board game,
The team.