Reversi Strategy

As a complex strategy game that involves intricate mathematics at advanced levels, there are many ways to take a strategic approach to Reversi. Common practices involve use of edges, corners and restricting movement options for the other player.


Due to the nature of legal moves in the game the edges of the board are the first target for players. A Reversi move that places the first piece on an edge of the board gives that player the upper hand. This is simply because they have restricted the number of places that their opponent can use to surround that piece.

Each piece not on the edge of the board will potentially have up to 7 squares surrounding it whereas one on an edge can never have more than 4 surrounding squares.

In addition to the limiting options for an opponent, pieces on the edge represent potentially highly influential moves as they hold the possibility to turn the maximum number of opposing pieces in one line.

Having said that, there are many sacrificing options where a player may seem to give away easy access to an edge square only to then capture a strategically stronger position such as a corner.


These positions are beneficial for very similar reasons to edges but with greater strength in each case. Once a player has put a piece on a corner square it is impossible for their opponent to turn this piece.

To maximize the potential of a corner position the player must then aim to create a line from that corner to the vertically, diagonally or horizontally opposite one. In the case of vertical and horizontal lines such as this the player will own the complete edge as it would subsequently be impossible for any pieces in the line to be turned.

Good players will position themselves from very early on in the game to ensure that their opponent is forced to give away corner or key edge positions.

Forcing movement

Because the rules that govern what is considered a legal move are very strict it is possible to limit the number of options that a Reversi player’s opponent has. In very simple terms the fewer pieces an opponent has on the board, the fewer the options there are available to that person.

Successful implementation of forcing an opponent’s movements will result in them being left with no legal moves. At this stage the first player is now at liberty to continue taking consecutive turns until a legal move is possible for their opponent.

Sacrificing options

The traditional method of aiming for the corners to complete lines along all edges is one that is often countered in several sacrificing ways. In the case where black is occupying two corner pieces but not the entire edge, white is able to capture all the edge pieces in between each corner. This can only be achieved if there is at least one empty edge square in between the two black corner pieces.

However if this is achieved, the corner advantage turns into a disadvantage for black because the player using black pieces has effectively blocked their own possibility of turning the white pieces in between.


In a situation where the game ends but both players have an equal number of pieces on the board, 32 each, the Brightwell Quotient is applied. Because of the complexity of the application of this, it is not really seen in use except in official tournaments such as the world championships.

In summary, whatever strategic options that are taken, the flow of the game will continually swing favour to and fro. It is not possible to apply one method throughout a game between two experienced players and flexibility to adapt must be used in order to keep or gain the upper hand.