PENTE®

BASIC RULES FOR TWO PLAYERS

[adapted from the rules provided by Hasbro]

Equipment - a PENTE® board and an ample supply of PENTE® stones, one color per player.

HOW TO PLAY

Start with the board completely clear of stones. The first player (chosen by chance) begins the game by playing one stone on the center point. Thereafter the players take turns playing their stones, one at a time, on any empty intersection. The stones are played on the intersections of the lines (including the edge of the board), rather than in the squares.

A move is completed when the stone is released. Once played, a stone cannot be moved again (except when re­moved by a capture, as is explained below).

The players simply take turns adding new stones to the board, building up the position, until one person wins as follows:

OBJECT OF THE GAME

There are two ways to win in PENTE®:

  1. Win by getting five (or more) stones in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, with no empty points between them.
  2. Win by capturing five pairs (or more) of the opponent's stones.

The first player to achieve either of the above objectives wins the game.

There now follows:

  1. An explanation of captures.
  2. An explanation of five-in-a-row.
  3. Answers to common questions.
*For simplicity, we will require each move to be on a square adjacent to some other piece on the board already.

Whenever the opponent has two stones (and only two) which are adjacent to each other, they are vulnerable to capture. The pair can be captured by bracketing its two ends with one's own stones. For example:

BEFORE

Black plays on the point indicated by the arrow, bracketing White's pair of stones. The pair is thus captured and removed from the board, leaving the diagrammed final position.

AFTER

Captures can be made along diagonal as well as horizontal and vertical lines. All four stones involved must be in a straight consecutive line. As soon as the capturing play is made, the captured stones are removed from the grid and placed in view along the border so that both players can see how many stones have been taken.

Moving into a captured position - A stone may legally be played onto any empty intersection, even if that point has been previously occupied, and even if it forms a pair between two enemy stones. Thus White's move in the diagram below is "safe," and no stones are removed from the board.

BEFORE

SAFE

AFTER

Multiple captures -It is legal to capture two or more pairs with a single move, as in this example:

BEFORE

Black's move brackets and captures two separate pairs of White's stones.

AFTER

 

II. FIVE IN A ROW

The five-in-a-row must be in a straight consecutive line to win. It may run in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. It need not be exactly five - six or more stones in a row win as well.

NOTE: If a player has obtained the advantage of having an unblocked four-in-a-row (as in the diagram below), called a "tessera," (s)he has practically won the game — whichever end White blocks, Black will play on the other end and achieve the winning five-in-a-row.

Therefore, if one's opponent has an "open three" (as below), one end of the three should be blocked immediately to prevent the formation of the deadly tessera.

This general axiom, that one must block an open three, applies unless a player has something better of his own - like a move to make four, or a good capture on this move or the next that or moves men from the row or poses a superior threat. Even if the three stones are not all adjacent, as below, they must still be blocked to stop the win. All three shaded circles in the diagram suggest possible blocking moves.

III. ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT PENTE®

Does six-in-a-row also win?
Yes, six or more stones in a row wins the game as well.


Can a stone be played on the edge of the board?
Yes, one may play on the very edge of the grid; and also inside the four hemispheres, each of which covers three "in­visible" intersections that can be used.


Can I break up a five-in-a-row by capturing one of its stones?
No, when a player achieves a Pente, 5-in-a-row, he wins immediately. It does not matter if the opponent can "capture across" the Pente, even if that would be his fifth capture.


What happens if I form a pair between two enemy stones? Are they captured?
No, you would not "capture yourself" by moving into a captured position. Instead, the pair would remain on the board. See earlier example.


After making a capturing move, do I have the option of leaving the captured stones on the board?
No. The captured stones must be removed. However, if both players overlook that a move is a capture only to realize it later in the game, the "captured" stones remain on the board.


What happens if the position gets disrupted?
Move carefully, as he always loses who drops the pieces and messes up the board!


Who moves first?
The first player has a slight advantage. Therefore some method of chance should be used to decide who plays first, in the first game. In following games, the loser of the last game moves first. The advantage of the first move can be eliminated by using the tournament rule.


Can PENTE® be played with more than two people?
Yes! You can play Partners with two teams of two players, alternating turns, using the same rules as in Basic two-player PENTE®.