In preparation for this post I played about 10 games with the Reed opening. I had to do this because of the 1000 or so games of Quoridor I’ve played in my lifetime I’ve never tried or even seen the Reed opening. This post will cover the opening, discuss its value, and close with some responses.
Thanks to one of our curious readers for inspiring this post.
First player starts with two horizontal walls just in front of second player. While Green is placing walls Blue marches forward.
What does this do? The single gap in the middle of Blue’s side is difficult to close. Green can count on being able to walk through here towards the goal. Green also has the option of trying to push Blue back through this hole. If Green can manage this, then Blue is forced to either side of the board because of the two remaining openings.
Honestly I’m not sure about the strength of this opening. As one of our reader’s pointed out, by the time the opening is set up Blue has already advanced to the crucial space. While it is difficult for Blue to close the central gap, it is equally as difficult for Green to do the same thing (if Green is trying to push Blue back).
You’re up two spaces and two walls against your opponent. That and you’re standing in front of a gap that can’t be easily closed. I would march forward.
It will take Green a full 3 moves to block you. You can’t intercept this, but Green will be down 4 walls at this point. Push Green in one direction and close the other side of your board and your path’s will be about even.
On the other hand, if you react right away and close one side of the horizontal wall while Green sets up the block you will have secured yourself two extra spaces towards your goal.
If Green marches forward you can meet him with the jump advantage or take one step to the right and have a safe wall at your back.
All in all I don’t see the power of the Reed opening. Perhaps one of our more astute readers can write in and show us all what we are missing?
Screenshots from Martijn’s Quoridor App.