The Gorrion Game Server



The Game of Pente

Pente is a 5-in-a-row game that can be played using Go boards and stones. Pente is one of the games played online on my game server, Gorrion. [ ]. lease do try it. It is a fun game that also is strategically challenging. This page gives an introduction to the game and gives the rules for the game as played on Gorrion.

A game of Margo

( A game in progress. White has just won. Black has made 2 captures. White, 4 captures. )

The Game

The game can be played on a range of board sizes. On Gorrion it is played on a 19x19 or a 15x15 board.

The players take turns to place a stone of their colour on the board and aim to be the first to create a line, orthogonal or diagonal, of five or more of their colour. Black plays first

Capture.  Custodial captures of a line of two stones can be made. When this happens the stones are removed from the board. Individual stones or a line of three or more stones cannot be captured. They are safe. You cannot use the edge of the board to capture. To prevent cyclic captures or a never ending game there is a rule on the number of captures that can be made: a player that captures 10 stones gets the win. The following diagrams illustrate how White can make a capture by playing at 'A'.

Capture, before Capture, after

Capture2, before Capture2, after

( Captures, before and after )

No Self-Capture.  You can play into a 2- stone custodial position. You will not be captured.

Capture, before Capture, after

( Playing ino a custodial position, before and after. No capture. )

Move Restrictions.  Black's first move must be played in the centre. Black's second move must be played outside of the 5x5 centre box. This is needed to counter the first move advantage that Black would otherwise have.

6x6 centre box

( The 5x5 centre box )

Passing.  Passing at Pente is not permitted.

Variations.  There are many variations to the game of Pente and there are also many 5-in-a-row games ( Go-moku, Renju ). The rules for Pente as described here are the rules as played on Gorrion.

Some Insights into Pente

The game has many subtleties that seem to defy any attempt to formulate a strategy of for winning at Pente. Games tend to be short, and do not require 200+ moves that are the norm in a game of Go. A capture, or the threat of a capture, is the defining feature of the game and this prevents you from forming an easy 5. It frees the board, allowing you to place a stone on a node that previously was occupied. It creates traps for you that interfere with your momentum. If you are the sort of person who likes a deep game then Pente is for you.

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