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How to Never Lose at Tic-Tac-Toe

Almost anyone knows how to play tic-tac-toe, but not everyone knows the strategy that guarantees they'll never lose another game.


  • Step 1: Draw a tic-tac-toe board Draw your tic-tac-toe board on a piece of paper using a pen or pencil. It should have nine squares total, with three on the top, three in the middle, and three on the bottom.
  • Step 2: Get the first turn Whether you are flipping a coin or throwing dice, you need to win the right to the first move if you don't want to lose the game.
  • Step 3: Mark the center square Mark the center square with an "X" or an "O." This is the key to guaranteeing you'll never lose in tic-tac-toe when you have the first move.
  • TIP: Following this rule will not guarantee you a win. It will guarantee that, even against a tic-tac-toe master, you will never lose.
  • Step 4: Go to the right After your opponent makes their mark, look to see if there is a square to the right of it available. If so, take it with your next move.
  • Step 5: If you can't go right, go left If the square to the right isn't available, take the square to the left with your next move.
  • Step 6: If you can't go right or left, go above If the squares to the right and left are taken, place your next mark above their last mark.
  • Step 7: If all else fails, go below If the squares to the right and left and above your opponent's last move are taken, choose the square below it.
  • Step 8: Repeat Repeat the right-left-above-and-below rule for each move you play. Congratulations! You may not win, but you'll never be a loser.
  • FACT: In the movie "WarGames," war is averted when the computer is shown that nuclear war, like tic-tac-toe, can not be won.

You Will Need

  • An opponent
  • A pencil or pen
  • Paper

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