The Procedure of Starting the Game

Having studied both basic and advanced tutorials, you are ready for some serious renju games online or even in real tournaments. But you need to know one more thing about renju rules before that - the opening procedure.

With the years of serious games and analyses by strong masters, it became evident that the forbidden moves alone are not sufficient enough to provide the balance in the game, black was still having the advantage. In order to give the best balance, there were developed some opening procedures that both players need to follow. Below is the list of those procedures. 

  1. The first player sets the opening pattern, consisting of two blacks and one white stone.
  2. The second player choose either black or white side.
  3. The player with white stones plays the 4th move.
  4. The player with black stone puts two choices of the 5th move on the board.
  5. The player with white stones removes one of the 5th moves, and plays the white stone - the 6th move

The opening prcedure ends with the 6th move. Then the normal game goes on until somebody wins, or until the game ends with draw. 
Below you can see the detailed explanation of those 5 steps of opening process.


The first player sets the opening pattern, consisting of two blacks and one white stone. The first stone is black and it is placed to the center of the board, just like on the diagram below.

Then the first player also puts the second stone which is white and it is placed inside the 3x3 central square, to one of the points marked with A on the diagram below.

And then, the first player puts the third stone, too, which is black and it is placed inside the 5x5 central square, to one of the points marked with B on the diagram below.

Having put the three stones, the situation might look something like on the example below.

Now the second player has to make the decision what color stones will he keep for the rest of the game. By default, the box of white stones is in front of the second player. If the second player decides to choose blacks, then he simply swaps the stones boxes. In the online games, there is usually a "swap button" for that purpose. If the second player chooses to keep the white stones, then he does not need to do anything on this step of procedure.

Whoever is having the white stones by now has to make the 4th move on the board, placing one white stone anywhere on the free spot on the board. Although the choice is not limited, it is wise to not play too far from the rest of the other stones, otherwise black side gets too strong. Look at the diagram below, there is an example of the 4th move being played.

The player with the black stones takes two black stones, and places them on the board, giving the offer to the opponent, letting the opponent decide, which 5th move he prefers. The two black stones can be placed anywhere on the board, but again, it is not wise to play them too far away, otherwise white gets too strong. Below you can see the example of black placing the two stones - to the points C and D as an example.

Finally, the white player removes the 5th move from the board he does not like, and plays the white move, anywhere he likes. In other words, after removing the 5th move he does not like, there is just one 5th move on the board left, and the situation is like on the example diagram below.

And then the white player also puts the 6th move on the board - the white stone. He can play it anywhere he likes. Look at the example below.

After all that the game goes on normally, the players take turns, playing stones one by one. However, you should always keep in mind about the rules of forbidden 3x3, 4x4 and overline. Sometimes the traps may wait for you just when you have completed the opening procedure. In order to prevent the "opening disasters", it might be useful to learn some opening theories. There are lots of information sources available about renju opening theories. In order to make the opening theory more organized, the developers of renju game have divided all the theory according to the "renju openings". The opening is determined with the first three stones. There are totally 26 different openings in renju. Each opening has its name, too. Every serious renju player studies all the 26 openings. If you want to become a serious player, too, then you might want to know something about those renju openings too. In that case, welcome to study the 26 Renju Openings.