Connect Four Is a Deeper Game Than You May Think

I’ve been playing connect with my host mother a lot in the past month. We always play connect four during a meal. Most of the time she loses. In fact, she rarely wins a game. She does not see the traps I lay for her and how I never fall for hers. Sometimes, she’ll plug in a disk so that she only needs one more disk to get four in a row. I see these every time.

I do the same thing. But when uses a disk to block my four in a row, I’ve got another four in a row right above it, winning me the game.

Most of the time I do a double ‘X’ formation which is my standard. I never let her get more than two pieces in a row if I can, or make it so that she only has room for three. I block her and keep in mind how my placed piece can help form the connecting line to win the game. Because the disparity in skill is relatively high, I make it a hobby to try and make a connect four that has as many different connections as possible. On one game I got a full double X.  The last game I tried this, I caused a draw when I could have already won on two different occasions because I was too single-minded on the task to realize that our turn order would have me disable the very trap I set. Any attempts to make the trap a double set of connect fours so that I would win no matter was and I assumed I’d win anyway.

I have been trying to teach my host mother some tricks, even prolonging games I’d already have won to illustrate points. Progress has been slow, but the last five games she really made me fight for victory and at one point, made the game last to a draw.

Here are a few pictures to make some of my points, even though they not from an actual game:

The above is the easiest fork in the game is you catch your opponent napping. I try to do this to my opponent in as many variations as possible.

Here’s a picture of when I show off because I’m sure I can win.

Here is a simple view of my signature move. I can win in either space, the green dot or the red dot. Usually, I’m a dick and I fill in the blank so that my opponent blocks the green dot, and I connect the red dot, connecting two ranks of four because it’s that more fun. The only move my opponent could pull off in this non-in-game footage shot is to add a blue chip on top of the stack of two on the left and hope I don’t see it to steal the win. But I always do. In game, I’m a bit of a sadist in that I try to block my opponents moves a step or two in advance so that they don’t even have a chance of connecting three, let alone four. Then, I try to force my opponent to pick which arrangement of four I want him to lose by.

While Chess is infinitely more complex than this game and teaches many more lessons, the one thing I can say about connect four, is that even if it looks as if you have no way of winning, there is always a way.

Keep your eyes open.


2 thoughts on “Connect Four Is a Deeper Game Than You May Think

  1. Pingback: My Latest Victory | Scar Tissue

  2. Funny. I used to have a technique that guaranteed a win if I got to choose who starts playing. Unfortunately, I have no idea what it was and it may have been a miniature version.

    Are you aware of the fact that chess is too complex to calculate and store all possible moves and situations? It would take much more hard drive space than any computer could handle. Quite amazing.

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