# Optimal strategy for 4-in-a-row on 5-by-5 board with random setup and a transfer

Is the optimal strategy known for the following variant of 4-in-a-row where the first 2 moves are random and the 2nd player can once move a mark to any location.

• Win condition: 4-in-a-row.

• Board: 5x5.

• Setup:

1. Player1 randomly place a mark on the board.
2. Player2 randomly place a mark on the board, which can not be in the center.
• Play:

1. After the first move by player 1, player 2 can move their piece.
2. Next, the turns alternating like in a regular tic-tac-toe.

Two questions:

1. Is this game solved/solvable?
2. Does player 2 have a strategy that can guarantee a win for every random first move? If so, what is that strategy?
• Since you can force 3x3 to a draw, 4 for a winning condition should be even easier to force to a draw, random or not Commented Jun 2 at 6:03
• @Zibelas, you are wrong, it is easier to make a k-in-a-row because the board is bigger. For example, a 3-in-a-row on a 5-by-5 board is very easy win by the first player. Commented Jun 2 at 6:41
• @Zibelas, what I mean is that there are several forces that push in different directions: the 4-in-a-row instead of 3-in-a-row push the game to a draw but the bigger board push the game to a first player win. The random moves setup pushes the game to some games won by each of the players. Commented Jun 2 at 6:44