(Hopefully) Helpful advice for beginners to see who is winning Amazons forum
6 replies. Last post: 20100727
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alain at 20100727
There does not appear to much in the way of help getting beginners' “off the ground” in this wonderful game (or at least, I’m not aware of any advice apart from general advice).
I have never seen this simple advice given below anywhere else, its totally my own. Apologies if it is so basic and such common knowledge that I am insulting anyone by presenting it. That is not my intention, it is merely humbly offered because it has helped me improve my standard of play with very little effort.
Preamble:
You’re playing a game of Amazons, and you are getting close to the endgame. Its not obvious...who is winning? There are unoccupied N squares that neither player can move to. Often N=0.
Formula, pt 1:
(YOU ARE WHITE TO MOVE, N=0)
* Move number will be even (eg. 34)
* Add 8 to the number => 34 + 8 = 42 (“8” is the number of friendly and enemy pieces)
* Take this number away from 100 => 100 – 42 = 58 (squares still unoccupied on board)
* Divide by 2 => 58 / 2 = 29
Conclusion:
29 is your target. You should control more than this. If you control exactly 29 and Black controls exactly 29, then Black will win (by making the last move of the game).
Formula, pt 2:
(YOU ARE BLACK TO MOVE, N=0)
* Move number will be even (eg. 33)
* Add 8 to the number => 33 + 8 = 41 (“8” is the number of friendly and enemy pieces)
* Conceptually add 1 to the move and say to yourself “After my move, then will be 42 occupied squares”
* Take this number away from 100 => 100 – 42 = 58 (squares still unoccupied on board)
* Divide by 2 => 58 / 2 = 29
Conclusion:
29 is your target. You should control at least 29. If you control exactly 29 then you will win (by making the last move of the game).
If N > 0 then the formula is modified by adding in N before subtracting from 100 eg. 34 + 8 + N (N=1) = 43. In this case, say to yourself “After my move, there will be 44 occupied squares”.
HOW DOES THIS HELP?
Well, by simply calculating this value (takes a few seconds with practice) you already know your target number of squares. If the game is still in flux, you still need to carve out as much territory as possible, but the formula might focus your attention a bit better. For example, if the target is 29 and you currently control 23 squares, while your opponent controls 25 squares, you might need to take a few risks. If its the other way round, you might be able to consolidate more easily.
There are few more advanced things that lead off from this (for example, if you see a minibattle for control of an area lasting, say, 6 moves (ply) then you can factor that into the formula easily, but the above advice should, I hope, already be enough to give a total beginner a much tighter focus, a feeling of progress and probably many rating points, without much effort!
If this advice note is factually wrong, please help me to correct it. If you wish to make comments, please do, I would welcome some discussion. 
alain at 20100727
Correction: Formula, pt 2 should say for Black’s move that the move number will be odd (not even).

FatPhil at 20100727
Another helpful calculation is one to see if it’s worth shutting yourself into a closed area.
Subtract the move number from 100, and divide by 8. If that number is equal to the number of squares in the region you are thinking of claiming – then if there’s nothing more urgent to do, go ahead and claim it.
e.g. If it’s move 33, then the calculation yields (10033)/8 = 8, so it’s worth nabbing an area of size 8. The logic being that the other 7 amazons will have to fight over the other 678=59 squares, and so will only average 8 each if almost no more movement occurs, which is unlikely. So the 8 you claim now might be one of the larger regions by the end of the game. 
Dvd Avins at 20100727
I think one should generally require a little more than a ‘fair’ share to isolate an active piece, lest you cede a tactical advantage by being outnumbered in the remaining contested area.

FatPhil at 20100727
You’re right, when 3/4 down in free territory you could be outmanoevered.
So what if you were hemming in 2 of your pieces, that would make you even more outgunned, so you’d have to aim for more than 2 eighths of the remaining squares?
And hemming in 3, leaving only 1 against 4 – that final guy’s in big trub – you have to aim for much more than 3 eighths in that case.
And in the situation where you’re isolating all 4 of your pieces, it’s practically game over – you absolutely must isolate significantly more than 4 quarters of the remaining squares in order to win.
Or not.