I have had a long-standing interest in the game of Othello. It's a strategy board game, akin to Go. Othello was born in Japan in 1971. However, it is almost the same as an older game, called Reversi, invented in England in 1883.

USOA and tournaments. In the United States, interest in Othello peaked in the late 1970s and 80s. The United States Othello Association (USOA) was started in the 1970s, sponsoring tournaments throughout the year, including a national championship. The national champion went on to play in the world championship. As of 2009, tournaments continue to be held, including a U.S. national and world championship.

I played in tournaments from 1981-1986. In 1984, I was U.S. National Champion and finished third in the World Championship (held in Melbourne, Australia that year).

USOA and OQ. From 1979 until (as far as I can tell) 2005, the USOA produced a journal called Othello Quarterly (OQ).


I wrote numerous articles for Othello Quarterly — and was editor of OQ from 1984 to 1986.

Othello: Brief & Basic. In 1985, I self-published a strategy guide to Othello, called Othello: Brief & Basic. It wound up getting a brief review in Games magazine at the time. Here's a quote: "The book can, literally overnight, turn a beginner into a formidable opponent. Excellent."

A free PDF version of Othello: Brief & Basic [1990 edition] is available here.

Computer Othello/Reversi. Computer programs that play Othello/Reversi have become amazingly strong in recent years - to the point that it is almost impossible for a human to win against them. In fact, unless you have a potential winning position by the midgame, it is impossible to win against the best programs, as they play perfectly for the latter half of the game. For a great example of a top-notch Othello game, try SmartOthello.

© Ted Landau 2017