16 Useful Tips To Become A Better Gomoku Player
In this article I will show my personal tips on how to play better gomoku. I divided the list of tips on two parts. The first part is Before the game or preparation, in other words what to do before an important match or tournament. The second part is about the game itself and what to do during it. In the end I attach my last and most useful piece of advice.
Before the game or preparation.
- Know your opponent. For live games find information about your opponent. Check his game history on Gomokuworld. Find out his theory knowledge, his style, his mental strength. Ask some players who know him and simply find out as much relevant information as you can.
- Play with better players and challenge them. If you want to get better, you have to play with better players and compete with their minds. Playing weak players all the time will not challenge your brain.
- Study the games of great players – don’t just check the moves, try to stop after each move and think why the player moved there and what was his plan. Later you can even try to think of a better move for the position.
- In the training try to outplay the opponent, not just use an opening/scheme he doesn’t know. Try to reach the feeling that you play better than him. It’s much better than just win.
- If you know you have weaknesses, focus on them. If you want to improve shortcomings like theory, positional game, too slow thinking etc. you have to train them. Otherwise opponents will use these weaknesses against you.
- Play more live games, which is a totally different experience than the Internet. The excitement, tension and emotions are so much higher than in the Internet. Training live on boards will help you get used to it and improve your live tournament skill.
During the game.
- Always block the opponents four and then think. Don’t spend time to think what this four would change in the position. If you want to continue the game, you have only one move to play. You can think about the position after the move.
- Use your opponents’ time. Especially when you lack enough time at the end of a game, think about his and your move during his time, it will give you a great advantage.
- Always check the position after opponents’ move and don’t play immediately. Even if the opponent played the move you expected, don’t play your move with seconds (especially in live games), make sure the position you counted in your head is going to be developed the same way on the board.
- Have a plan and follow it/adjust. Set a plan before the game and stick to it. With every move you take, try to follow the plan. For example, you opponent prefers attacking only. So the good tactics would be to let him attack, yet control the position until he has nowhere to build the attack. Then prepare to attack yourself. As game develops, don’t be afraid to change the plan but every move has to be done according to your new plan.
- Think about future development of the game and find move that will help in future position.
Example: How to block better. After blacks 17 white has two options to play. It can either play 18-c5 or 18c-7.
Wrong block. 18-c5 might seem as an obvious move. But from strategic point of view, it’s a horrible move because it helps black occupy the space in the middle. After 19-f8 the situation doesn’t look like white advantage.
Right block: 18-c7. Much better move which allows white to spread its possibilities in the middle and yet keeps black from winning in the corner.
If black plays for example 19-d7, white can still control the situation and build a strong position in the upper part of the board where black has no moves.
This simple example showed how thinking about the future development of the game can very easily prepare an advantage or lack of this thinking ruin the position and lose the pace.
- When playing a long game live, try to relax your mind while opponents time. As it’s hard to concentrate for the whole 4 hours, you need to think about something else than game or don’t think at all. Walk and check other games.
- Be creative. When it’s your turn, you got a first idea within seconds and in most of the times you stick to it. Once in a while after finding the typical move which you would play (especially in the beginning of corner games) try to play new move which would refresh the game and might surprise the opponent.
- Yet…pay a special attention and use more time on the first ten moves of the game, which mostly define the whole game. If you screw up the beginning of the game, you won’t be able to save it even you if are the best player in the world.
- Be prepared mentally and physically. Focus on your game, try not to think about your daily issues. Sleep and eat well. A proper sleep and a good meal can make you feel and play better than a great theory knowledge.
Last but not least…
- Enjoy the game, respect your opponent, discover the beauty of the game and play fair. The last and the most important piece of advice I can give you. After all gomoku is about enjoying and experiencing the game. Respect sportsmanship and your opponent by fair play. Try to understand what gomoku is about. On the other hand fight tough and don’t give up any move or any game. When opponents know that every game with you will be hard as f*ck, they will respect you and will subconsciously try harder to beat you.