Openings – The Sidewall

The Opening

After your oponent’s first step forward, place a vertical wall next to your opponent’s pawn.

SidewallOpening

Quoridor Freeboard code: hsMBzAHMBA


Notice the wall does not block the back of your opponent’s board. Here is where this opening will usually lead to when used against opponents unfamiliar with the play.

Quoridor Freeboard code: j8YrLiz3AADg

Quoridor Freeboard code: j8YrLiz3AADg

Black’s move, and White is down 5 walls to 10. That said, White is 3 moves across the board and has Black boxed in. Black will tend to move towards the right side of the board. White can respond by building a horizontal wall across the board that will push Black back to the left.

Quoridor Freeboard code: j8dU1V7Liz3AFMFA

Quoridor Freeboard code: j8dU1V7Liz3AFMFA

White is spending walls but also White is managing steady progress across the board. On top of this, White is in full control of the movement flow. How did this happen? The initial sidewall is so immediate that when Black sees it, it “feels” like something must be done. At the same time. The sidewall pushes Black around, but it doesn’t create obstacles for White. Notice how the two available paths for White don’t wind or have extra spaces. The path to the right is shared, so it won’t matter if Black tries to elongate it. The path to the left is wide open, but White can close it quickly, or, if Black closes the right, White can “turn” the horizontal wall upwards and push the path (now shared) towards the goal.

Quoridor Freeboard code: j75k1V4bLkaoz3Kr8GgGg

Quoridor Freeboard code: j75k1V4bLkaoz3Kr8GgGg

Response

Here is a great response. After White’s sidewall, Black plays a horizontal wall to begin closing the left side of the board.

Quoridor Freeboard code: hsMBzHIPIBQ

Quoridor Freeboard code: hsMBzHIPIBQ

With the left side of the board one wall from closing, Black can move to the right and quickly force his own path if White threatens to close the right side. Black also now has more immediate control over White’s path, and can use walls to attack. Because Black can quickly control his own path, White’s walls suddenly have less impact, and threaten to become an obstacle to White himself.

Discussion

This is a great opening for intermediate players. It throws beginners off balance when they see it, and usually you can tie the game up early because the responses are unintuitive.

That said, this opening can be used all the way up to the highest levels, because you have to manage the entire board after opening moves.

Aggressive and complicated. This opening deserves much more in depth study.

 

Screenshots from the Quoridor Freeboard, the most amazing thing to happen to Quoridor recently. Paste this code (QNBPNKwgKuL3AA) into the textbox below the Quoridor Freeboard and click “input”. You will be able to walk through this opening and play around with different ideas. Paste any of the other codes below the images into the board to start from that position. I’m working on have the board embedded into this site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s