Renju Rules

Here you will find Renju rules described in an easy way:

Renju is played with two people on a board by making moves with the black and white stones.

The board is made up of 15×15 squares making it 225 intersections. Five of these intersections are reference points. It is important that the board colour is not the same or similar to the colour of the stones.


A row is a combination of stones in the same colour, either situated on a horizontal, diagonal or vertical line and is limited either by the edge of the board, an opponent stone or a free intersection.  The row should also have no opponent stones situated among the own stones.

An unbroken row is a row where there is no free intersection between the stones.

Five in a row is an unbroken row with five stones.

An Overline is an unbroken row consisting at least six stones.

A four in a row with four stones to which you can have the possibility to add one more stone to attain five in a row.

A Straight four is an unbroken row of four stones (“four”) where you can, in two different ways add one more stone to get five in a row.

A Three in a row with three stones where you can, at the same time a five in a row is made add one more stone to get a Straight Four.

A Double-Four is when you putting a stone on an intersection and by doing that get more than one four.

A Double-Three Putting a stone on an intersection, which at the same time makes more than one three that meet each other in this intersection.


  • One player has all the white stones and the other player has all the black stones.
  • The players make one move at the time, going back and forth. The players with the black stones start by putting a stone in the middle of the board.
  • When someone says “Black to play” it means that it is the player with the black stones turns to play. When someone says “White to play” it means that it is the player with the white stones turns to play.

A move consists of either putting a stone on one of the intersections on by passing. When someone passes it means that that player gives up his/her right to put a stone on the board.

When a player releases the stone on the board the move is considered ended. The other way a move is considered ended is when a player passes.

When it is a player turn that player has the right to adjust stones on that player’s intersections but before the player adjusts the stones the players have to inform the opponent.

If stones during the game the stones get disarranged the positions of the stones must be reconstructed. If the stones cannot be reconstructed the players that are responsible for the disarrange will lose the game. If none of the players can be responsible for the disarrange of the stones a new game must be played.


  • To win a game the players need to get five in a row. For the white players, an Overline is also considered as a win.
  • The white players will win if the black players don´t get the following combinations at the same time as the white players get five in a row:
    1) makes an overline;
    2) makes a double-four;
    3) makes a double-three (however there are some double-threes, which the black players are allowed to make, see below);
  • A Double-Three from the black players is allowed if at least one of the following conditions 1) or 2) are met:
    1) Not more than one of the threes in the Double-Three can be made to a Straight Four when adding another stone to any intersection on the board, without at the same time an Overline or Double-Four is attained in this intersection.
    2) Not more than one of the Double-Threes can be made to a Straight Four when adding another stone to just any intersection on the board, without at the same time at least two threes meet in this intersection and make a forbidden Double-Three..
  • If one player uses more time for each move than decided before the game start that player loses the game.
  • If one player gives up the other player win the game.
  • The player that is about to win has to claim the win and stop both clocks at the same time.
  • If the black players gets five in a row but does not call the win and the white players makes a move and the black players continues to play and if the black player makes a prohibited move according to above, the white player will win the game (if the white player calls attention to it).
  • If the black player makes a forbidden Double-Three or a Double-Four, and the white player does not call attention to this and continues to play, white cannot afterwards claim the win with respect to this particular Double-Three or Double-Four. If black player makes an Overline and the white player does not call attention to this and continues to play, the white player can still call attention to the black players Overline in a later time in the game, as long as the black player has not made a five in a row and claimed the win or the game has been ended in any other way.


The game is drawn when:
1) When all the intersection of the board is filled.
2) By agreement between both the players.
3) When both players (after each other) passes.
4) When both players time has ended.
5) An offer of draw according can only be made when it is a player turn. When it is the other player turn that player can either accept the offer or refuse by telling the other player or make a move (which is the same as refusing the offer).

When starting a game of Renju the game must start as according to the image below. That means that the second move has two alternatives and the third move have thirteen possible moves.

renju rules and renju rule


  • When starting a game of Renju. The players decide a tentative black player and a tentative white player. The tentative black player plays the first three moves (two moves for the black player and one move for the white player. The tentative black player decides which of the allowed moves that will be used.
  • The tentative white player decides which of the players that will be the black player and which will be the white player after the tentative black players made the first three moves.
  • The white player will make a move and put a stone at any unoccupied intersection.
  • The black player now has to make two proposals for the fifth stone. The white player now has the right to decide which of the two proposals that will be the fifth stone on the table..
  • After the with the 5th move, the opening rules has ended.
  • It is not allowed to pass within during the opening phase.


  • Both players need to record the moves of the game. Both of there own and the opponent. The way to record the game is decided by the organiser.
  • If one of the players only have five minutes or less left that player does need to record the move in the game.
  • If the player gets more time than five minutes that player need to record the moves again.


  • During a specified time the players have to make a specified number of moves. A special clock is used for helping the players to keep track of the time.
  • When the game starts the black players’ clock will be started. After each move, the players have to stop the clock with the same hand that was used to make the move. If one player forgets to stop the clock the other player does not need to remind the other player.
  • The last move is not considered to be made until the player has stopped his/her clock.
  • If there is something wrong with the clock the player has to point that out immediately.
  • If the game has to be stopped or paused for some other reason that is not in control of the players the clock has to be stopped until the problem is resolved.
  • Players must ask the organisers of the game before stopping the clock.
  • It is only the players in a game and the organiser that are allowed to point of that someone have forgotten to stop the clock.


When to game begins all clocks with be started on request from the organiser.

After the game has started is not allowed to use any papers or phones to analyse the game.

If games are stopped or paused no analyses are allowed.

It is not allowed to distract or disturb the opponent in any way.

Transgression against above-mentioned rules of behaviour should lead to punishment and loss of a game.


The official Renju Rules can be found on These rules are simplified to hopefully help players to easier learn how to play a game of Renju.


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