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I'm currently 1st in the Gomoku Pro 9x9 ladder; I haven't done anything profoundly clever.
I'd like someone to analyze what I'm doing (making a Twixt grid) and see if there's a weakness in the strategy.
It's not particularly strong in 15x15 Gomoku and pretty weak in Connect6, but 9x9 is small enough that all I have to do is beat the “center cross” strategy, and quite often I do (16 stones needed instead of 17).
My suspicion is that the board is just too small to be interesting.