Here's How to Win Connect Four Every Time

Connect Four might be a game that triggers childhood flashbacks, but it's not simple stuff. In fact, Numberphile reports that there are more than 4 trillion unique ways to fill a standard board. But there's only one way to guarantee a win every time.


There are slightly fewer than 2 trillion ways to get four in a row, but if two perfect players are competing, the only way to lock in the win is to go first and play in the center column. As Numberphile points out, a perfect opponent would know that they couldn't win at that point, but if they played perfectly anyway they would lose within 41 moves. Time to show all the kids in your life what's what.


It's interesting to me to consider that this game has been "solved". That is, all the possible solutions have been figured out. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised though since it only takes three things to solve any sort of game: the right algorithm, enough computational power, and enough time.

That leads me to the interesting part of this. What happens we have the technology to enhance our brains so that those three things will be available to anyone? Many games will be "ruined" unless you play it as a non-enhanced person. That is, turn off your extra cyber brain power. I see this as the intellect version of the performance enhancing drugs we argue about now.