Pente Rules

This page will describe the rules of Pente and Ninuki Renju.


There are two possible ways to win a game:

  • Wining by having five in a row either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
  • Wining by capturing five (or more) pairs of your opponents stones.

White players starts in the center intersection.

The first move from the black player can be put anywhere.

The second move from the black players must be made outside the zone of 5×5 intersections in the center of the board.

When your opponent has two stones adjacent, those stones are vulnerable to capture. The pair can be captured by bracketing the two ends with your own stones.

A player can put a stone on any empty intersection, even if that point previously have been occupied and even if it forms a pair between two enemy stones. No capture can be made by the enemy in that case.

Multiple captures are legal.

A board for Pente has 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines.

White starts the game (which differs from Renju and GoMoku).

Pente was first introduced in the US. There has been a few championships in both US and Sweden but as of now the popularity of the game is decreasing. It has been argued that the white player has a sure win and it is purposed to change the rules. That is why more and more players are adopting the Renju Rules.



There is a varitant of Pente that is more fair, it is called Keryo-Pente.

Keryo Pente uses the same rules as regular Pente, except that

  • Three in a row may also be captured in addition to regular pair captures.
  • To win one must get either five in a row or capture 15 stones.


Pente is very similar to a game that in Japan is named “Ninuki-Renju”. The additional rules of Ninuki-Renju are:

  • The first to form a perfect five or capture five pairs is the winner.
  • The black players starts as in Renju. If a five is made and after that the white player takes a capture and destroys the five there is no winner. This is called an Unperfect Five. However the destroying of the Unperfect Five must be made with the move immediately following the five.
  • The first player is not allowed to form a Double-Three, unless it is necessary to do so when destroying an Unperfect Five.
  • An Overline (six or more stones in a row) does not win and remains neutral.
  • A rare case occurs when a fifth capture gives the opponent a five. This occurs when one stone is captured away from a six in a row. In this specific case, the game is draw.

Do you have more information about Pente, Keryo-Pente or Ninuki-Renju. Please feel free to contact us.