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Rules of Noughts and Crosses

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Noughts and Crosses is a simple game played by two people.


The object of Noughts and Crosses is to get a winning line of three Noughts or three Crosses in either a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row.


The Noughts and Crosses board is a square grid containing nine squares arranged in threes.


The game is played by two people who either play as Noughts (Os) or Crosses ( Xs). They can either be drawn or objects resembling these two options can be used. In giant noughts and crosses for example, the two objects are the noughts and crosses themselves.


The player with the Xs starts the game by positioning his X in a square. The player with the Os follows and both players take turns to move and occupy the squares of the grid trying to make a row of three and at the same time also block their opponent.


In Noughts and Crosses the opening player has a slight advantage so it is advisable to alternate who starts first in order to keep the games fair. There is only a maximum of nine moves in any game so due to the speed and brevity of a Noughts and Crosses game, every turn counts.


Despite the simple form of Noughts and Crosses it has been calculated that there are in excess of 255,168 possible layouts on the board. However it is a very simple game to play and because of this Noughts and Crosses is a very popular game for children. The giant noughts and crosses board is particularly fun to use, and especially for children.


Many players will find that a lot of games will end in a draw, but there is a strategy so if you want to always win at Noughts and Crosses, or at least not always lose, remember these rules:


Winning strategy for Noughts and Crosses.


The first move and response.


There are only three possible opening moves to a game of Noughts and Crosses, that is corner, edge or centre.


If the first player X moves into a corner square then this gives the opponent the smallest choice of squares which must be played to avoid losing.


The second Player O should always respond to a corner square start by moving to the centre square.


Whenever a game of Noughts and Crosses is started by one player occupying a corner square, the best response is to move to the centre square. However if the first move opens the game by moving to the centre square, the best defence is to move to a corner.


If X uses a an edge square as the opening move, the response should be to take the corner square either next to the X or opposite, to prevent a fork from being made.


Points to remember for success in Noughts and Crosses.


Win. Pay attention to the board and if you have two pieces in a line, play the third to complete the row. It is easy sometimes to simply not notice. Especially with giant noughts and crosses, it is easy to overlook what is happening.


Block. If your opponent has two pieces in a row , play your piece to block them from completing the row.


Fork. Try to create a way in which you can make a row in two ways by making a fork. For example if you manage to cover three corners, even if your opponent blocks one side you can still add your third piece to make a row from the other.


Block your opponents fork. Look out for possible creation of forks from your opponent. for example if X has a corner, O the centre and X the opposite corner, O must not then play another corner because this will allow X to create a fork and win. With giant noughts and crosses, take a step back and see how the board is developing.