Saving Moves

The goal of saving moves is to have more moves than the opponent in order to collect all remaining balls in the end. In Kazakh this is called ‘atsyrau’. Other terms used may be ‘drying out the opponent’ or ‘running out of moves’. To reach a certain level of play it is very important to be able to count how many moves there are left for each player (usually before someone has to play a big pit and feed the other player making it pretty obvious who will have more moves in the end) or at least get an estimation who will run out of moves first. It will be easy to count (after some practice) how many moves there are left if no player has piles big enough so that they would land on the other side when played and when nobody has any forcing moves (or just forcing moves that would lose moves). Before that there are various tactics how to get the most moves, it also depends on where the tuzdyks are and how the current score is. We divided those tactics in two major groups: stealing moves and tuzdyk-related tactics.

Stealing moves

The easiest way to steal moves is to force the early opponent pits (1,2,3…). For example if the opponent has three balls on 2, then you can try to bring three balls on 9 fast, this will force him to play 24 (or he will lose moves if you capture), this can lead to piles bigger than the size of two in the pits 2 to 4 and piles with a size greater than 2 move faster. The capture 92 would be a neutral one, nobody gains any moves (you get the additional move 92 and the opponent the additional move 12 afterwards).

Sometimes another good strategy is to pile up somewhere to block the opponent, it hopefully is more understandable with an example: both players are piling up on 9, the score is 64-50 and the 2nd player has 14 balls on 9. In this scenario it can be good for the first player to move all the balls to the right first until he has 10 balls on 9, this will block the 9th pit of the opponent because he can’t afford a large capture, so he has to pile up on 8. This will lose moves too.

The opponent can of course use such stealing tactics too, so you have to observe the position carefully to lose the least moves. The order how the moves are played can be very important, it’s possible to temporarily ignore the threats of the opponent if you can make bigger threats yourself (threats that would make the opponent lose more moves if you both capture).

My tuzdyk

If you have a tuzdyk on 1, then you will get the most moves by dropping the balls in your tuzdyk. With a tuzdyk on 2 you can pile up two to three balls on 9 and drop them in the tuzdyk too, but you won’t gain any moves, it will be the same as collecting on 9, but it’s usually still better because as seen in stealing moves the score can cause pressure and a loss of moves.

Opponent’s tuzdyk

If the opponent has a tuzdyk on 2, then you should prevent him from beating balls on 1, because this wins him a move each time, so it’s best to play 12 and drop the ball in the tuzdyk instead of letting the opponent beat it. For tuzdyks between 3 and 7 it is best to pile up to groups of three right in front of the tuzdyk and then play one ball over the tuzdyk. If the tuzdyk is on 7, then dropping the balls in the tuzdyk and moving them to 9 (in groups of three over the tuzdyk) gives the same amount of moves. If there will be four instead of three balls remaining on the left side of the tuzdyk, then there has to be played one group of four (two balls over the tuzdyk) instead of three (except with a tuzdyk on 7 dropping in the tuzdyk gives a move more). If the tuzdyk is on 8, then dropping all balls in the tuzdyk gives the most moves. However sometimes you can’t afford to lose that many points. If you are only a few points behind, then you can sacrifice some moves and gain some points by making groups of three on 7 and move them over to 9. If you have a lot more moves but can’t afford to drop them in the tuzdyk any more, then you will be forced to collect on 7, in close games it can be important that the number of balls on 9 is even or the opponent might be able to force a win.

Leave a Reply