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An Introduction to the Game of Othello
The game of Othello is played by two players on a eight by eight board with discs that are black on one side and white on the other. The two players take turns making their moves, unless one side has to pass. (The issue of passing will be discussed later) The game start with the initial position shown on the left. The game ends when neither player can make a valid move. The person with more pieces at the end of the game wins.
Each squared is labeled according to which column and row it is in. For example, the upper left corner is labeled as A1 while the lower left corner is labeled as H8.
Black goes first in the game of Othello. There are four valid moves at the beginning of the game (D3, C4, F5, and E6 -- which are labeled by the red dots in the figure). Using this as an example, I will show what makes a move valid.
You make a move by placing a disc on an empty square. In order for a move to be valid, you must be able to flip pieces. You can only flip your opponent pieces and never your own. When you make a move, all the pieces between the disc being placed and your existing pieces are flipped. You can flip pieces horizontally, vertically, and diagonally, all at the same time. This allows flipping up to eight different directions.
This is an example of what happens when a move is made on the square F5:
When the move F5 is made, the white piece on the D5 square is sitting between F5 and C5, an existing piece. Using the rule given above, the white piece was flipped. The result is what you see on the left.
Now it becomes White's turn to make a move. Once again, the red dots denote the valid moves for the white color.
When does a player pass?
In the game of Othello, you do not choose when you pass on your move. You only pass when you do not have any valid moves on the current position. Sometimes, one side may not have any valid moves even after the opponent has made two moves in a row. The opponent can keep on making moves until moves are available again.
The end of the game
The game ends when neither side can make a move. While that usually happens when the whole board is filled up, that is not necessarily the case.
In the position given on the left, neither color can make a valid move. The game ends even though there are still two empty squares left on the board.
Now that you are familar with the games of Othello, maybe you should look at some strategy pointers for new players.
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