### Why we have to start in the middle? Gomoku, Connect6

11 replies. Last post: 2019-09-08

Why we have to start in the middle?
• trieste6 at 2019-04-19

It’ll be good if we have freedom no to start in the middle for connect 6, thoughts?

• Galdian at 2019-04-19

Let’s say, that you have this freedom, where would you start and why?
I’m quite positive, that there is no better place for the first move than in the middle. If you put your stone near edge or corner, it lacks possibilities, and the middle point is furthest from them, so that should be the best place to start.

• trieste6 at 2019-04-20

That’s true. But the rule of the game doesn’t have such restriction. I would like to try starting near the middle but not always in the middle. The asymmetry of the game state makes the 2nd move more interesting.

• mmKALLL at 2019-04-22

I thought that too, but wouldn’t a lot of approaches simply be mirrored? The end result seems to be almost exactly the same – or possibly slightly disadvantageous for black.

• ondik at 2019-09-02

If anything, connect6 needs a swap rule to keep the game interesting.

• ypercube ★ at 2019-09-02

No, Connect is balanced. No need for swap.

• Carroll ★ at 2019-09-03

Is it balanced based on stats or because on an infinite board it is a draw?

• Carroll ★ at 2019-09-03

Well maybe Wikipedia has some explanations:

## Fairness

In principle, even some complex games are not fair: either the first or second player has an advantage. (Games such as Gomoku have been mathematically proven to give an advantage to one player or another; complex games such as chess are generally too complicated to analyze fully.) Herik, Uiterwijk, and Rijswijck give an informal definition of fairness (Herik, Uiterwijk, and Rijswijck, 2002) as follows: A game is considered a fair game if it is a draw and both players have roughly equal opportunities for making mistakes. From this, it is argued that Connect6 is fair in the following senses:

• Each player always has one more stone than the other after making each move.
• For about one thousand opening templates, Professor Wu let the AI program written by his team play against itself, and the result seemed to show that the game does not favor either one for these templates. Note that the AI program can beat most casual players, but this does not necessarily imply that its strategy is strictly optimal.
• The initial breakaway (where White plays far away from the initial black stone) is a guaranteed loss for White, according to Professor Wu. The principle is that Black can essentially ignore White’s move, giving Black a three-stone lead that is insurmountable.

However, this evidence is not conclusive.

• ondik at 2019-09-07

It’s definitely not balanced on the highest level.

Currently there are around 3-4 openings which are playable for white. Other than that, everything is a significant black advantage surewin. And even with those 3-4 openings, I’m quite sure most of the top players prefer to play black. Last 2 championship: 46 black wins 25 white wins, 1 draw. So much for the “balance”.

Either way, it’s boring to have just a few variants to play.

• trieste6 at 2019-09-07

Preferring to be black or white is a racial discussion and best left untouched :)

• lazyplayer at 2019-09-08

triste6, the entire point of double moves is to balance the game. If they don’t work, then probably players should go back to Gomoku with swap rule.