Renju Connection games
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Renju is played on a 15x15 gridded board. The playing pieces, called stones, are played on the grid line intersections.
Genre(s) Board game
Abstract strategy game
Players 2
Age range 5+
Playing time Casual games: 5 to 30 minutes; tournament games: from 10 minutes (renju blitz) to 5 hours or longer
Random chance None
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 15x15 gridded Go board.

Renju eliminates the "Perfect Win" situation in Gomoku by adding special conditions for the first player (Black).


Opening rules

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:

I. Traditions

II. Simplicity and attraction

III. Creativity

An example of such opening rule (namely "RIF opening rule") follows.

  1. The first player places 2 black stones and 1 white stone on the board thus forming opening pattern.
  2. The second player now chooses whether to play black or white.
  3. White then places one more stone on the board.
  4. Black places 2 stones on the board.
  5. White removes one of the two black stones from the previous move.
  6. 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.

Disallowed moves

There are certain moves that Black is not allowed to make:


Black can win the game only by placing five black stones in a row (vertically, horizontally or diagonally).

White can win by either:

World championships

World Championships in Renju have occurred every second year, since 1989. Since 2009 the opening rule being played is Yamaguchi.

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
2015 Suzdal Russia Qi Guan Yamaguchi opening rule

Team World championships

Team World Championships in Renju have occurred every second year, since 1996. Since 2010 the opening rule being played is Yamaguchi. The results are following.

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, Republic of 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 2014 the opening rule being played is Soosõrv-7. The results follow.

Title year Champion Country
1982 Sapronov, Vladimir USSR
1984 Nosovsky, Alexander USSR
1985 Nosovsky, Alexander USSR
1996 Reims, Aldis Latvia
1997 Tarannikov, Yuri Russia
1998 Fedorkin, Oleg Russia
1999 Fedorkin, Oleg Russia
2000 Reims, Aldis Latvia
2001 Nikonov, Konstantin Russia
2002 Lunkin, Vitaly Russia
2003 Chen Wei China
2004 Sun Chengmin China
2005 Barykin, Victor Russia
2006 No gold awarded Silver: Epifanov, Dmitry., bronze: Barykin, Victor
2007 Epifanov, Dmitry Russia
2008 Zhang Jinyu China
2011 Balanova, Jelena Latvia
2012 Potapov, Alexey Russia
2013 Sushkov, Vladimir Russia
2014 Sushkov, Vladimir Russia

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