More than a century ago a game called 'Reversi' appeared in England. There's a dispute about its precise origin: on the one hand a mr. Lewis Waterman claimed to be the inventor, on the other a John W. Mollet Esq. contested this claim on the grounds that Reversi was merely an adaption of his game 'Annexation'. Will the truth ever emerge? Who knows, and, for that matter, who cares?
Certainly not the Japanese Tsukuda Company who trademarked the name Othello for an ever so slight variation of the game more than a century later and marketed it with great success. Currently it rests with Anjar Co. Int. Licensing.

Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Reversi Player! Caroline Sandberg-Yukiko Tatsumi
(WK finale 2007, 0-1)

Reversi or Othello mode
The applet shows the initial position in Othello mode. In Reversi mode play starts on an empty board and the players first take turns to fill up the 4 central squares. Disregarding rotations and reflections, there are two possible outcomes to start the actual game from. The rules from that point on are the same as in Othello mode.

  • The players share 64 bi-colored stones - black one side, white the other.
  • Black starts. Players must move on their turn, unless they cannot legally move. In that case the turn goes back to the opponent. If neither can move legally, the game ends.
  • A move must be a 'custodian capture': the stone played must trap at least one opponent's stone or unbroken row of stones, between itself and an already present stone of like color. It can do so in up to eight straight and diagonal directions simultaneously. Captured stones are reversed immediately

  • The game ends by one player's resignation or if both must pass on successive turns. The winner is now the player with the most territory, that is: the highest number of stones on the board.

The starting point of all reasoning is obviously the fact that there are four corners where a man cannot be captured and becomes an anchor to capture along the edges. The fact that corners are strong makes the adjacent cells weak, so these should be avoided ...
And so on: the basic reasoning is well known, and 'minimal capture' - capturing as little as possible during the earlier stages, to reduce the opponent's options - also seems to apply. The finer points of strategy are admittedly no less of a mystery to me than those of its hexagonal version MacBeth.

Using the Othello applet
External links

Othello ® Anjar Co. - Int. Licensing
Java applet © Ed van Zon