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The opening consists of the first few moves of a Hex game. Exactly how many moves are considered part of the opening varies depending on the type of opening, and also on whom you ask. Typically, however, the two first moves are always considered part of the opening.

Opening Theory

The two most basic questions in the opening theory of Hex are:

  • Where should I play my first move?
  • Should I swap?

The two questions are closely related. The situation is probably most difficult for the first player — his move should not be too strong, since the second player then will swap, but it should not be too weak either, as the second player then will decline the swap and have a better situation. So the first player has to find a move which gives about equal chances to both players.

The first move

Fortunately strong players have thought thoroughly through this, and there are certain moves that are considered to be about equal, which one can safely play. For example, a2, a3, b2, and c2 are quite common opening moves.

But these moves are only suggestions, and there are many other moves that may be tried, such as a4 – a8, a11, and c10 (on an 11 × 11 board).


When to swap? One commonly used rule of thumb is to swap any opening, except if the first move was played on the first row, adjacent to a friendly edge, and not in the obtuse corner. You may also check out winning opening moves for small boards.

Detailed article: Swap

Opening Theory For Specific Board Sizes

  • 11 x 11
  • 13 x 13 (adapted from Jonatan Rydh's page on openings)
  • 19 x 19

Openings deserving their own articles