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The highly original abstract strategy game has become a huge success on the Continent. Abalone is a game where playing the game appeals to many of the senses. There is the normal visual imagery, but it is enhanced by the board, which is an elaborately crafted plastic hexagon and the pieces are marbles. Pieces are moved by pushing them which makes it very tactile and then there is a rhythmic clink as the marbles move into each other. The board game has already a modern classic.


The two player version of abalone is played with black starting. The start position used for tournament play is the Belgian daisy. This is where each sides 14 balls are arranged in a hexagon of 7 balls. The black hexagon is set-up in the left hand corner aligned next to it in the righht hand corner is a white hexagon (also called a daisy). The players take it in turns to move up to three of their balls at once. to move more than one piece they must all be touching in a line the pieces can either be pushed or a broadside move can be made. A broadside is where the whole line is moved sideways which requires all of the squares (holes) to be empty. When moving the pieces as a push (this is just 1 space at a time) if the line is blocked by fewer opponents balls this is known as sumito. If there are only one or two opponents' pieces then the move can be made as long as there is a free space at the end of the line. The edge of the board counts as a space and this how you take pieces. To win you need to eject 6 balls. There is no draw rule in the game but there are stalemate positions which is why the superior belgian opening is used over the classical start which was used in the earliest MSO tournaments.

You can find out about opportunities to play Abalone live at the timetable. Please report any external links that have broken or have changed to contain inappropriate material. More information about how tournament play works can be found in clocks and in MSO rules.

External Links


MSO Champions

2015Vincent FrochotFranceWorld Champion
2014Nicolas FioriniFranceWorld Champion
2013David M. PearceEnglandOlympiad Champion
2012David M. PearceEnglandOlympiad Champion
2011Vincent FrochotFranceOlympiad Champion
2010Vincent FrochotFranceOlympiad Champion
2009David M. PearceEnglandOlympiad Champion
2008Jan StastnaCzech RepublicOlympiad Champion
2007Vincent FrochotFranceOlympiad Champion
2006Jan StastnaCzech RepublicOlympiad Champion
2005David M. PearceEnglandOlympiad Champion
2004Alex BorelloFranceOlympiad Champion
2003Stephane NicoletFranceWorld Champion
2002Jan StastnaCzech RepublicWorld Champion
2001Thomas FennerGermanyWorld Champion
2000Gert SchniderAustriaWorld Champion
1999Gert SchniderAustriaWorld Champion
1998Vojtech HrabalCzech RepublicWorld Champion
1997Marc TastetFranceWorld Champion

Full results for Abalone can be found here.

MSO Ranked Players at Abalone

MSO International Grandmasters

MSO International Masters

MSO Candidate Masters