Hnefatafl - tactics and strategy

The "Guillotine" - secrets of hnefatafl

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This is absolutely top-secret - you must not tell anybody, ever!

This position, called "the guillotine" for reasons that will become clear, is almost always a winning position for white. There are exceptions, but on the whole it is deadly.

Note that there is a white piece (the "executioner") on i1, which is one of the special squares at the end of a third rank - part of the magic quadrat. Note also that the king is also on a third rank, but a different one, so he is applying pressure at right-angles to his warrior.

Remember that if the king gets to j1, white has won the game. It's white to move, by the way, otherwise black might just stand a chance. White is about to move i1 - j1 x (the guillotine blade falls, claiming its first victim, the black warrior on j2)