The idea

If players keep playing their strongest openings all the time and play several hundred of games per month, games sometimes become a bit boring, as the only time to think is between move 30 and 50. If you play some random moves early on, chances are high that your opponent can take the advantage to beat you badly.

So it would be nice to have a position early in the game which neither of the players actually has played plenty of times and that's almost even. In online games you could sometimes find top players who varied early knowing that their opponent will also try to play a random move to get into an almost even position. But this "even" is very subjective and frequently it turns out that the position was not really even after all.


Several players tried to find solutions for this.

  • Ben Seeley used Ntest to set up random positions that were not necessarily legal positions, but are evaluated as about even.
  • My first idea was to randomly pick a position of the known drawtree.
  • David Beck suggested to use random even sequences with 8 moves.

The lists

Borja Moreno and I used Edax and Ntest to create two lists of 8-move openings. The large one contains 10784 sequences where move 8 is considered between -2 and +2 by Edax and Ntest at level 16 and 20 each. The small list contains 3623 sequences considered between -1 and +1.

As Borja is the creator of, he implements that list in his game site, so that players can choose to play a random position instead of a standard Othello game. If you want to play such a game on another game site or maybe on a real board, you can either let eOthello's randomizer page give you a random position, or you can download the lists in the download area and select any position, or you can use XOT, which is my Othello tool which offers a few more features like a personal favorite list.