Renju is played on a 15×15 gridded board. The playing pieces, called stones, are played on the grid line intersections.
Abstract strategy game
|Playing time||Casual games: 5 to 30 minutes; tournament games: from 10 minutes (renju blitz) to 5 hours or longer|
|Skill(s) required||Strategy, tactics|
Renju (Japanese: 連珠) is the professional variant of Gomoku, a strategy board game originating in Japan from the Heian period. It was named Renju by Japanese journalist Ruikou Kuroiwa (黒岩涙香) on December 6, 1899 in a Japanese newspaper Yorozu chouhou (萬朝報). The game is played with black and white stones on a 15×15 gridded Go board.
Renju eliminates the "Perfect Win" situation in Gomoku by adding special conditions for the first player (Black).
Unlike Gomoku, Renju has a unique sequence of opening moves called an "opening rule". There are several certified opening rules. The list of requirements for new opening rules as approved by the RIF General Assembly in 2003 was:
- The basic Renju rules must be kept.
- The opening stage must not exceed 5 moves.
- All 26 canonical openings must be possible and only 26 canonical openings can be possible.
- All present realistic variants must be possible.
- The moves located very closely near the edges of a board during the opening stage are not preferable.
II. Simplicity and attraction
- New rules must be simple to study.
- New rules must be simple to play for beginners. The situation when in significant part of cases a beginner will have the lost position already after the first 5 moves is not good.
- The rules must be systematic and attractive.
- The number of possible creative variants must be significantly greater than now. These variants must be achieved under the optimal strategy of both players.
- The chances of sides to win must be practically equal.
- The situation when during the opening stage the player who make a move does not interested in the forming of equal and creative position is not preferable. (Example: indirect 2nd move in previous opening rules).
- The rules must give the chance for both players to avoid the position after the opening stage well known for the opponent.
- The knowledge of theory and deep own analyses must give an advantage but the player with a good imagination must have chances against this.
An example of such opening rule (namely "RIF opening rule") follows.
- The first player places 2 black stones and 1 white stone on the board thus forming opening pattern.
- The second player now chooses whether to play black or white.
- White then places one more stone on the board.
- Black places 2 stones on the board.
- White removes one of the two black stones from the previous move.
- White places a white stone.
After this sequence is complete, Black and White continue to take turns to place their stones.
The Extra General Assembly of Renju International Federation in 2008 created three new sets of rules for openings that are to replace the above old sequence of moves: Soosõrv, Taraguchi, and Yamaguchi. Also a rejection system for their use was approved. The General Assembly of Renju International Federation in 2009 certified Sakata opening rule as proposed by Russia. The General Assembly of Renju International Federation in 2011 certified modified opening rules such as Taraguchi-N and Soosõrv-N.
There are certain moves that Black is not allowed to make:
- Double three – Black cannot place a stone that builds two separate lines with three black stones in unbroken rows (i.e. rows not blocked by white stones).
- Double four – Black cannot place a stone that builds two separate lines with four black stones in a row.
- Overline – six or more black stones in a row.
Black can win the game only by placing five black stones in a row (vertically, horizontally or diagonally).
White can win by either:
- getting five (or more) white stones in a row
- forcing Black to make a forbidden move (see above).
Previous World Championships have taken place in the following places:
|Title year||Hosting city, country||Champion||Opening rule|
|1989||Kyoto Japan||Shigeru Nakamura||Swap opening rule|
|1991||Moscow USSR||Shigeru Nakamura||Swap opening rule|
|1993||Arjeplog Sweden||Ando Meritee||Swap opening rule|
|1995||Tallinn Estonia||Norihiko Kawamura||Swap opening rule|
|1997||Saint Petersburg Russia||Kazuto Hasegawa||RIF opening rule|
|1999||Beijing China||Ando Meritee||RIF opening rule|
|2001||Kyoto Japan||Ando Meritee||RIF opening rule|
|2003||Kyoto Sweden||Tunnet Taimla||RIF opening rule|
|2005||Tallinn Estonia||Ando Meritee||RIF opening rule|
|2007||Tyumen Russia||Wu Di||RIF opening rule|
|2009||Pardubice Czech Republic||Vladimir Sushkov||Yamaguchi opening rule|
|2011||Huskvarna Sweden||Cao Dong||Yamaguchi opening rule|
|2013||Tallinn Estonia||Tunnet Taimla||Yamaguchi opening rule|
Team World championships
|Title year||Hosting city, country||Champion team|
|1996||Saint-Petersburg Russia||Russia (Ilyin D., Peskov S., Sinyov I., Nikonov K., Kozhin M.)|
|2000||Tallinn Estonia||Russia (Sinyov I., Klimashin A., Sushkov V., Salnikov P., Kozhin M.)|
|2002||Vadstena Sweden||Russia (Salnikov P., Klimashin A., Artemyev S., Skouridin A., Semyonov V.)|
|2004||Tyumen Russia||Russia(Sushkov V., Klimashin A., Chingin K., Nikonov K., Sinyov I.)|
|2006||Tallinn Estonia||Russia (Sushkov V., Chingin K., Artemyev S., Savrasova Yu., Vershinin P.)|
|2008||Helsinki Finland||Estonia (Taimla T., Oll A., Purk A., Soosorv A., Lents J.)|
|2010||Tokyo Japan||China (Li Yi, Cao Dong, Yin Licheng, Xi Zhenyang)|
|2012||Beijing China||Japan (Yuuki Oosumi, Shigeru Nakamura, Takahiro Kudomi, Kazumasa Tamura, Hiroshi Okabe, Tomoharu Nakayama)|
|2014||Taipei Taiwan, China||Estonia (Tunnet Taimla, Martin Hobemagi, Ants Soosorv, Johann Lents, Ando Meritee)|
Renju World Championships via Correspondence
World Championships in Renju via Correspondence were held in 1982, 1984, 1985 (by paper letters, later by e-mails) and now are played every year since 1996 with an exception in 2009, 2010. Since 2011 the opening rule being played is Taraguchi. The results follow.
|2006||No gold awarded||Silver: Epifanov, Dmitry., bronze: Barykin, Victor|
- Five-in-a-Row (Renju) For Beginners to Advanced Players ISBN 4-87187-301-3