Duo to the Death

Blokus has taken over my life

FW rethought: Kissing

Posted by nand on December 17, 2009

OK, so I’m trying to rethink my approach to this, in part because there are some good midlevel players who still insist on using it despite its evident weakness. (It can win big against low- or midlevel players, I’ll admit; I’m purely concerned with optimal play, though.) Anyway, the most formidable of the “kiss” variants is one where violet tries to use Y and then Z5 or (better) T5 to round the corner, killing off all orange’s useful corners in the bottom left. Here’s the start of my line against it:

Moves: 1. F – X / 2. W – N / 3. Y – F / 4. X – W. Note that it’s a good idea to hang on to Y as a last-ditch block in the midgame (I1uur), though if it becomes freed up then it’s a major threat on top (L14ddl).

If violet is so foolish as to play N on top rather than X then you get one of my favourite positions, eminently winnable for orange:

Moves: …. 4. N – Z4 / 5. T5 – I5. This is an elegant example of an unblockable leak, since the only block (V5[F14ddr]) produces a horrendous I2-T4-I3 series of holes. You can see the violet T5 “corner kill” in action here — not that it does him much good.

If violet plays T5 on move 4 (or Z5) it’s a different line, I still think bad for violet. Will unpack it later on…

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3 Responses to “FW rethought: Kissing”

  1. Gerenuk said

    I the first diagram I usually didn’t kiss with W, but blocked with Y (or T4) instead. However, I didn’t have opponents strong enough to prove me wrong.

    • nand said

      Well, I’ll try to work it out in more detail, but it seems to me you’re putting yourself in a bad situation by killing your only entryway into top left (violet’s area). If you play say Y(B4rrr — position the knob in either downwards position according to taste) then violet blocks it with probably P(A4uur). Then you have no way into top left, and no way to block either the bottom left or top right leaks. It should still be a close game since violet’s attacks are both too far back, but it still looks bad for orange there.

      • Gerenuk said

        I didn’t mean to say Y is good 🙂 W seemed complicating to me, but analyzing through the possibilities, it is probably better. Or maybe my opponents played the Y with knob up? Since top right there isn’t a good chance for orange progress anyway!

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