Published by Stefan Karlsson on 2008-01-03

Tallinn at New Year time 2008-01-03

Dear All,

This is a statement concerning future opening rule. In the end of the letter you can read the names of the renju players who have joined in this statement.

Renju world needs a change:

We truly believe that the Renju World needs a change of current opening rules. The change is mainly needed for title championship tournaments to attract the best players to continue to play the wonderful game of renju. For other players we realize that a change is not that important, however that can not be a reason for stopping the development of the game. We should remember that opening rules have changed with only some years of interval in history also, just because it has been necessary to balance the game and make it more interesting.

The need of new opening rules makes people test a lot of different variants. To some extent this is good, because tests are needed to change opening rules. However, there is a risk that players are going deeper and deeper into "their own way" of opening rules, which in the long run might lead to different international organizations. We fear that this time can come sooner than we might think at the moment. In order to stay as one renju world we need Renju International Federation (RIF) to act and show the way forward. The renju world needs a decision!

Taraguchi rule (rule number 4 according to numbering at Open Renju Class homepage):

The renju players who have signed this letter believe that the so called
Taraguchi rule is a really good opening rule and a suitable solution for a
long period of time. It is a balanced way of letting both players influence
the opening and the number of possible interesting renju positions increases dramatically from the situation with current rules. Several international tournaments have been played with these rules and players have been satisfied. The games have proven to include a lot of old traditional theory, which has not been played for long time because there are more efficient ways with current opening rule.

The Taraguchi rule has also the advantage to be easily understood by new players. A player can simply play every second move and more or less only care about the wonderful playing rules (double threes, double fours, overlines). In a sense this opening rule is more logical and easier to understand by a new player than the current opening rule.

Yamaguchi rule (rule number 2 according to numbering at Open Renju Class homepage):

The so called Yamaguchi rule is more of a "light change" to current opening rule. We believe that the Yamaguchi rule is better than current opening rule, because number of possible playable variants will increase. In theory we think that Yamaguchi rule will contribute only to some extent with new interesting "possible to play" variants. However, in practise the rule will contribute to a lot of new variants in the beginning when openings have not been analysed enough.

Other opening rules:

The so called Rejection System has been used in Russia lately meaning that from three possible opening rules both players can reject one opening rule each. For instance there could be Current rule, Taraguchi rule and Yamaguchi rule to choose from. In that case rejection system could be used mainly for title competitions. In other tournaments one of the three possible opening rules could be chosen. We realize that this is a new way of thinking and some risk that different group of players diverge into different opening rules. However, there is also a chance of connecting different groups of players using different opening rules.

There are other choices of future renju opening rules as well. For instance there is the so called Karepa rule when the opening (three first stones) can be placed wherever on the board and then there are three choices for player 2: 1. Choose white and play move 4, and game continues... 2. Choose black and 3. Put move 4 and 5, whereafter player 1 chooses colour. This rule is of course a larger change from current rule, but probably a very good rule in the sense that it should possess the ability to last forever :-) (at least for a very long period of time).

Further choices of opening rules have been discussed a lot recent years, in many countries, in many internet sites, by a lot of renju players. We do not intend to dig further into those rules here, because we do not think it brings value to the aim of this letter.

RIF Decision:

In order to move forward we think it is necessary to find a common way, meaning RIF must make a decision. If there still is a possibility of
choosing Taraguchi rule we think that would be good since we believe
Taraguchi rule is a really good next opening rule.

However, if there is no other way forward, we are ready to accept Yamaguchi rule for some years. In that case we do have a better situation than at present with current opening rule. We think though that the life-time of Yamaguchi rule will be limited to some few years. How many years "some few" are, is not easy to say. Also, we should remember that opening rules have changed with only some years of interval in the past. So, actually this is a quite logical way forward thinking about the history. Our plan and our hope is that after some few years with Yamaguchi rule the renju world is ready for Taraguchi rule, which we believe is a more long lasting opening rule.

Let us care about the wonderful playing rules of renju (double threes,
double fours, overlines) we do have, and that we do not argue about! The playing rules that really makes this game so fantastic!

The Renju World needs a decision!

When to change:

If RIF General Assembly can agree at Team World Championship (TWC) in May in Finland 2008, it should be possible to change opening rule directly after TWC and thereby also use new opening rule in World Championship 2009. In this case we might also have European Championship 2008 by the new opening rule.

Happy New Renju Year 2008!

Friendly Yours,

Stefan Karlsson
Aivo Oll
Ales Rybka
Pavel Salnikov
Ants Soosorv
Vladimir Sushkov
Tunnet Taimla

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