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Quoridor» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Simple Walling Strategies: looking at and example game rss

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Roosta Roost
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Quoridor notation as posted on wikipedia frustrates me. Maybe I am just not used to it, but for the means of communicating this game I used the following notation:

Rows are numbered 1-9 from top to bottom.
Columns are lettered a-i from left to right.
When a wall is placed, first it is marked as V or H. This marking is followed by one square, which is the top most left square that the wall touches.

For example, the first wall in this example game is noted as follows: He4. It is a horizontal wall and the top most left square it touches is e4.

Here is the notation for the example game:
1. e8 e2
2. e7 e3
3. e6 e4
4. He4 d4
5. d6 c4
6. Hc3 Va4 *blue blocks yellows wall
7. Hb5 b4
8. d5 b5 *blue imposes
9. c5 c-d5 *yellow baits, blue bites
10. Hd5 Vb4
11. Hf5 Ha3
12. Vg4 Hg2 *yellow trying to wall both players into yellow's goal, blue trying to block yellow
13. Vh1 X *blue concedes

And the final board:

The Yellow player began at the bottom and was first to move.

OK. If you are still with me I wanted to briefly discuss my comments beside the game's notation and talk about the walling strategies.

First both players move towards the center. When their is one square between them Yellow opts to wall. Blue side steps.

Originally Yellow walled because moving forward would have allowed Blue to jump and gain an free space. As Blue sidesteps, Yellow follows, now placing Blue in the same position Yellow was just in a moment ago.

Blue side steps again. Yellow responds with a second wall.

At this point Blue makes an interesting move. Blue is committed to moving left and can see that Yellow wants to wall him off from crossing along that side, forcing him to back track to the right. Blue decides to place a blocking wall, essentially blocking Yellow from continuing the wall.

From this point in the game Yellow either takes advantage, or Blue makes some foolish mistakes.

Blue has carved an opening to cross Yellow's wall. Yellow sees this happening and places another wall one space lower. Blue continues, undaunted, and Yellow steps up to intercept his path.

Yellow's move into Blue's path is one of the best in this game. The move counts are set up so that if both players walk toward each other Blue will get to jump Yellow. This is a subtle draw for Blue, but Yellow has bigger plans.

Yellow steps right up to Blue and baits him into taking the free jump. Then Yellow slaps down another horizontal wall, capturing Blue in the same long path as Yellow. Blue sees how precarious his position is. He can continue to run, but with one wall Yellow can seal off his path and force him backwards, one step behind Yellow all the way. Again, Blue chooses to force the two pawns elsewhere.

And the important wall from Yellow:

But the damage is already done. Yellow places one more horizontal wall, leaving each side of the board in a position to be closed with one move. If Blue doesn't close one side, Yellow will. This forces Blue to block the left side of the board, and now Yellow can steer both players towards Yellow's goal and all Blue can do is delay being trapped with Yellow on his own side.

After a few move moves Blue concedes.

Did I say brief? This is an example of a game where Yellow walled first and won. Where did Blue go wrong? On which turn should he have walled instead of moving, or where did he wall incorrectly. When do you think Yellow had the game locked away?

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George Leach
United Kingdom
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I think Blue's first mistake was Va7. At this point if instead B takes another step to threaten to step through Y's wall Y will probably feel a little foolish spending ANOTHER wall that only serves to hinder both players. Remember walls are a limited resource moves are not. Y has only 7 walls left and B has 10. Those three walls could easily be used to hinder Y's movement given where Y is and the huge wall between Y and the goal.

Where was Blue's last mistake? Well, leaping Y was a mistake allowing Y the upper hand in extending their shared "tube". Exactly which move is the best after that isn't clear to me.
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Kim Fjeld
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Jugular wrote:
Remember walls are a limited resource moves are not. Y has only 7 walls left and B has 10. Those three walls could easily be used to hinder Y's movement given where Y is and the huge wall between Y and the goal.

I agree. The specific example is artificially conditioned so that B is completely oblivious to anything tactical.

The one with the most walls at the end usually wins the game. I like to play deceptive ("sub par") at the beginning in order to entice my opponent to place walls I would have liked to place myself. In this way they actually help construct their own wall of doom without even knowing it until it's too late. Then I'm in the dominant position for the remainer of the game because I have a wall surplus I can place for decisive effect. Quoridor is won in the end game, not at the onset as this example assume.
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