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The great ancestor of Pente and Renju is GO. GO originated in China some 4,000 years ago. The invitation of GO is commonly attributed to Chinese emperor Shun, who reigned from 2255 to 2206 BC. GO's popularity led to the development of many related games. Among them Gomoku.

Gomoku was born in China. The game was played as early as 700 AD. The translation "moku" is intersection.

Scientist in Japan are discussing if the very old game kakugo mentioned in a writing from the year 100 A.D. is a five-in-a-row game. When the first book on our game was published in the year of 1858 A.D. the game was called kakugo. The ancient Chinese game of WUTZU is also considered to be the prototype of the Five-In-A-Row games.

When the players got stronger they found that playing with the above mentioned "completely free" rules was in great favor of Black (the beginner of the game). It is also proved that there is a sure win for Black when playing with "completely free" rules. In the year 1899 in Japan the game Gomoku was balanced out for both players. The new game was named Renju. Renju means "string of five pearls".

However, the game Go-Moku has become even more known than Renju for the Five-In-A-Row game played in families and in schools. 1899 they tried to play with forbidden double-threes for both players to make it more difficult to win. To make a double-three is to make two threes with the same move.

To play in 1 is to make a double-three. It is in principal impossible to stop it if the opponent only has to defend himself. Playing with forbidden double-threes for both players is still the only additional rule that is usual for family games of Gomo-ku in Japan. However in the year of 1903 the rule that only Black had restrictions was adopted i.e. only for Black the double-three became not allowed.

In 1912 it was decided that Black will immediately lose if he makes a double-three, even if it is as a defense. In 1916 the rule that Black will lose the game if he makes an overline i.e. a row with more than five stones. Usually an overline consists of 6 stones in a row. To play in 5 is to make an overline. 1918 it was decided that Black could not make a 4-3-3 i.e. a four and with the same move a double-three. However making exactly five-in-a-row is never forbidden i.e. 5-3-3 is allowed even if there were suggestions to adopt such a rule especially about 1918.

In the first half of our century one great player where appointed Meijin for lifetime (Now the Meijin of Japan is the player who wins the yearly final match including 5 games and with the time limit 5 hours/player and game.) The 1st permanent meijin was Takayama Goraku.The 3rd permanent meijin Takagi Rakazan was also a very good Go-player and his dream was to spread Renju outside Japan (You can read about him in the famous book of Nobel prize winner Yasunari Kawabata ." The Master of Go" , Penguin Modern Classics, pages 31,33,78). He proposed two new rules. 1931 he proposed the change from Go-board with 19x19 intersections to Renju-board with only 15x15 intersections. He also proposed a double-four (a move in 3) to be forbidden for Black. These suggestions were discussed for many years and a split into several organizations using different rules occurred. The purpose of all suggestions to changes was of course to reach equal winning chances for both Black and White.

In 1966 all the main organizations joined and created Nihon Renju Sha which is still the Renju Federation of Japan. At that time also some opening rules were decided.

On the date of August 8 of the year 1988 The Renju International Federation (RIF) was created in Stockholm, Sweden. In the following year that it was created the first World Championship of Renju took place in Japan.

The 1st World Championship of Renju took place in Kyoto, Japan 1989. The second World Championship was organized in Moscow 1991 and the third World Championship was played in Arjeplog, in the north of Sweden 1993. In August 1995 the 4th World Championship took place in Tallinn, Estonia. The winner of the 1st and 2nd World Championship was Shigeru Nakamura from Tokyo, Japan. The winner of the 3rd World Championship was Ando Meritee from Tallinn, Estonia and the winner of the 4th World Championship was Norihiko Kawamura, Japan. Many other international tournaments have been organized since the start of RIF.

By now RIF has eight full members. It is Japan, Russia, Sweden, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Latvia and White Russia. The following countries have connection men but are not yet full members: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Taiwan, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan.

Pente is a registered game owned by Parker Brothers. Pente was introduced by Gary Gabrel from Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA in the end of the nineteen seventies and Pente became very popular in the USA in the first half of nineteen eighties and in the USA also World Championships were arranged, but with participants only from USA. Among the best players of Pente in the USA there were discussions whether the rules of Pente are enough to get equal chances for White and Black. The World Champion Rollie Tash thought that White had a sure win and proposed a change of the rules. He proposed Keryo-Pente or taking up some of the rules of renju into pente. Some books on Pente were written by Tom Braunlich, former World Champion.