Gateball Puzzle #1 is trialing a monthly gateball puzzle for readers to put their captaincy skills to the test.

The puzzle will present a scenario in the format below. The court shows the balls current position on the court including outballs (1 and 9 in the example below) and balls that have hit the goal pole (6). The match details include which balls have been through gate 1 (5,2,4), gate 2 (1,8,10), gate 3 (3,7,9) and have hit the goal pole (6). Match details also specify the next stroker (5), time remaining (1:30) and the current score (12-11).

Readers should leave a reply in the comments outlining what they would do on the next shot given the game scenario set out. There is no right answer however a consensus may emerge.

Gateball Puzzle #1:
5 to play. Score is 12-11 with 1:30 remaining in the match.
What should 5 do on it’s first shot?

April 2017
Click on the picture to zoom in.

If you would like to submit your own puzzle (perhaps based on an actual match situation) please send a puzzle picture to You can create a puzzle picture using the software available at:


21 thoughts on “Gateball Puzzle #1

  1. Ball 5 touch ball 7, spark ball 7 close to ball 8.
    Ball 5 make Gate 2.
    Ball 5 stroke to hit ball 8 or 10, avoiding ball 7. If ball 5 touches either ball 8 or 10, spark that ball out at Line 1 next to Gate 3 then stroke to touch the other ball, then spark that ball out at Line 1 next to Gate 3. Then make Gate 3, then set up a slide touch for ball 7 to go to the goal pole. If no touch then the following is to occur, ball 6 is an agari, so therefore ball 7 is next to play.
    Ball 7 touch ball 8, spark ball 8 of the court at Line 1 next to Gate 3, then touch ball 10, spark ball 10 of the court at Line 1 next to Gate 3, then touch ball 5 and spark ball 5 through Gate 3, then stroke ball 7 to hit the Goal Pole.
    Balls 8, 9, 10 and 1 are all outballs, score at that point in time of the game is 16 – 11. If time permits, probably unlikely though, quickly stroke ball 8 to set-up gate and touch at Gate 2 for ball 2, ball 9 stroke diagonallyt to corner 4 using your full 10 seconds to stroke the ball, don’t hit the ball too hard, however the ball must go out, if ball 2 has a gate and touch opportunity with ball 8 then quickly stroke ball 10 to a position as a feeder from ball 8 to Gate 3, however if there is no gate and touch then quickly stroke ball 10 for a gate and touch opportunity for ball 2. If time permits, probably unlikely though, stroke ball 1 to the furtherst point on the court so that ball 1 is an outball using your full 10 seconds to stroke the ball, don’t hit the ball too hard, however the ball must go out. If there is a gate and touch opportunity with ball 8 make Gate 2 touching ball 8, spark ball 8 through Gate 3, then with your first of your two continuing shots stroke to set-up a slide touch of ball 10, then perform slide touch of ball 10 with your second continuing stroke, then spark ball 10 through Gate 3 deep even out is fine but don’t compromise ball 4, then stroke ball 2 though Gate 3 either short or deep, if short then stroke to hit the goal pole [score would then be if all shots worked 16 – 17] if deep touch ball 4 and spark ball 4 through Gate 2, then stroke to hit the goal pole, if all sucessful then teh final score would be 16 – 18.

  2. The best possible scenario I believe to win the game is:

    Ball 5 touches Ball 7, and sparks over to Ball’s 8 and 10. Ball 5 could then make Gate 2, if too far of a distance, Ball 5 can position itself between Gate 3 and the Agari pole for Ball 7 to use after sparking off Balls 8 and 10 (sparking Ball 10 off however is not really required).

  3. Great initiative Glen and John.

    If Ball 7 is good at slides, then make gate 2 with ball 5. Stroke ball 5 to set up a slide touch for ball 7.

    Slide touch ball 7 to near ball 8. Spark Ball 5 through gate 3.
    Touch ball 8 with ball 7 and spark out.
    Slide ball 7 off ball 10 towards goal pole (don’t hit it!) and spark 10 out.
    Agari with ball 7.
    Probably then little time for any further shots.

    • We tried the puzzle at Lithgow today and red won 3 times.
      We hit 5 onto 7, sparked 7 near the goal pole, then hit 5 through gate 2. 5 then hit over to 8 and sparked 8 out. then hit 10 and sparked 10 out. 5 then went through gate 3. scores is now 14-11. twice 5 missed the goal pole after gate 3, but no problem as 6 was agari, so 7 played and hit the pole. end of turn, out of time. red won.

  4. Do NOT go straight for Gate2.
    Options depend on how good a shot are 5 & 7.
    Either, touch 7 so as to send it over to 8;
    or, build a bridge for 7 towards the centre and a slide touch onwards.

  5. I love this idea, Glen, as I love puzzles.
    I can see that this discussion will definitely help develop strategic thinking. Thanks

  6. Yes, Frances I have enjoyed the “puzzle” and reading the many answers. The consideration of players’ abilities always enters into the mind of the captain. Then, there is the time factor. Quick decision making by the captain, precise explanation to the player and then it is a hope by the captain that the player can follow the reasoning of what was required to do. Having puzzles like this on a white board would benefit players as they can ‘see’ tactics that they might not otherwise have been aware of. Thanks, Glen.

  7. – 5 to touch 7
    – spark 7 over to 8 and 10
    – 5 through Gate 2
    – send 5 to behind Gate 3 (so 7 can do pass-touch)
    – 7 to touch 8
    – spark 8 out
    – 7 to touch 10
    – spark 10 out
    – 7 goes through Gate 3 and touches 5
    – send 5 to in front of Gate 3
    – 7 to pole
    Time out

  8. While there have been some great answers, a question we always need to ask is whether our players have the skills to carry out the required moves. I’ve now seen 10 players carry out this scenario. One played red and the other played white. Red won 4 times and white once.

    The only player to successfully touch and spark ball 7 across to the two white balls at gate 3 was one of our more experienced players. A less experienced player saw the possibilities but the spark of 7 across to 8 fell short. White was then able to score with 8 and 10

    A player with only a couple of years experience, tried to run gate 2 with ball 5 and missed, they had a shot at the goal pole with 7 but missed that too. White then missed with both balls 8 and 10.

    Another player ran ball 5 through gate 2, had a shot at the pole with 7 and missed. When sparking ball 10 through gate 3, 8 managed to jaws it in the gate leaving no space for 8 to pass. Red one again.

    Another less experienced player went back for 7 and sparked it to the goal pole. They then passed gate 2 with 5 and, on the next turn made the goal pole with 7. White did not manage to spark 10 through gate 3 but did pass with 8. The goal pole was missed however.

    My conclusion from all of this is that the scenario is great. It was really good for a range of players to think it out and try it out. The discussion that took place between players was valuable and it was an opportunity for those with experience to keep quiet and let others learn.

    I’d urge others to try the scenarios out with a range of players and report what happened. I’d be interested to hear.

    • We tried a few times at Newcastle…first player wanted to go for gate first but failed. Next attempt player missed the touch with 5 onto 7.
      Next attempt touched but spark fell short and 7 didn’t touch 8. Another attempt did get the sparked ball over but then with touch on 8 …8 went out.
      So white won all the time except for our last try and red did succeed but we did move the ball placements to better positions…maybe we had them all too close to the line and too far apart to start with.

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