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At which board size is the first spot that leads to a draw if both players play perfect (size > 5x5)? Is such a starting move existing at all? These are some of the interesting questions behind this topic, let's see if we can find out...

< 3x3

Impossible because the corners aren't part of the game.

3x3 to 5x5

Draw: At 3x3 and 4x4 there isn't an existing connection, that means even with the help of the opponent we can't win. 5x5 is the first little challenge. These games result in a draw because 'X 'can't connect to the top (and of course the same is valid for the mirrored position to come down), so the right answer for '1' is '2':
. * * * .
* 1 X * *
* * * 2 *
* * * * *
. * * * .

6x6

This was evaluated with a computer program using brute force. The sign shows who's winning (negative black, positive white) if both play perfect and the numbers say in how many moves (not counting the first one already there). This number gives an additional finer grained estimation of the strength of a starting peg. The most neutral spots should be those with the biggest numbers. White is considered to be the winner if the first and/or second row is connected to the last and/or second last row, for black the same with colums.

...B..C
1 -5 -7
2 +6 +4
3 +6 +6

7x7

One of many "perfect games": 1. C4; 2. B4; 3. F4; 4. D4; 5. E3*; 6. D5*; 7. E6*; 8. F3*; 9. E5*; 10. D2*; 11. C2*; 12. C6* 13. D7*#
....B..;..C..;..D
1. - 7 ; - 7 ; - 7
2. - 9 ; +10 ; + 6
3. + 8 ; + 8 ; + 6
4. + 8 ; +12 ; + 8

8x8

TODO
For boards with a size > 7 brute force didn't work any more, here other techniques have to be used.

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