Overview / Summary

Overview

The opening starts with the first move and usually ends when both players have a tuzdyk or one player has a tuzdyk and the other one is 20+ ahead (more about tuzdyk values under middle game / general strategy). Here you’ll find some statistics and a summary at the bottom. Visit the pages of the individual first moves for the best replies and some opening lines.

Statistics

These are the results of 937 games played by Kazakh top players and analyzed by Yernar Shambayev (abbreviation: pro, visit his blog yernartoguz (in Kazakh)) and 43416 games played on igGameCenter, which were generously provided by Arty Sandler and analyzed by Chris Maechler (abbreviation: iggc). All numbers are rounded down. Caution: the winning chances of openings which were played just a few times are not very accurate.

first move 19 21 32 43 54 65 76 87 98
winning chance (pro) - 47% 62% 59% 54% 40% 55% 39% 0%
number of games (pro) 0 57 8 133 12 20 662 44 1
winning chance (iggc) 29% 52% 51% 62% 51% 43% 54% 53% 46%
number of games (iggc) 364 4144 965 6459 1590 1642 23680 3450 1122

Summary

  • 76 is by far the most popular first move with a winning chance of about 54%
  • 43 is the strongest opening with a winning chance of about 60%
  • 21, 32, 54, 65 and 87 are also playable, they are used less often because the winning chances are lower, but it is still very close to 50%
  • 19 and 98 are not recommended
  • 98 is usually a very good answer to every opening move, except on 87 you should answer 87, other popular replies are 76 – 76 and 43 – 87
  • try to get a tuzdyk and / or to make big captures
  • it’s usually a good idea to play mostly big piles (pits with 10+ balls) in the opening to significantly reduce their number on your side
  • early in the game it can be worth it to make large sacrifices just to get a tuzdyk, especially if it is on 5, 6 or 7

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