Unlike many other board games like chess or checkers, the first few moves in qirkat are very constrained.
The player with the light pieces, who starts first, only has four possible first moves available.
Depending on which of those moves the light player (Light) chooses, the dark player (Dark) only has one or two countermoves available.
And depending on which countermove Dark chooses, the next three or four moves and countermoves may be predetermined as well.
With this in mind:
- Experiment with the limited number of openings and discover which openings put Light and Dark in the best position once the board opens up.
- As a general rule, the more options (and the more pieces) you have available going into the middlegame, the better.
- While Light controls the action in the opening, Dark often is in a better position entering the middlegame – if Light chooses the first move poorly.
The trickiest aspect of the middlegame is to remember that you are required to jump over one or more of your opponent's pieces whenever you can – and your opponent has to do the same to you.
Also tricky is that while you can only move forwards or sideways when making a regular move, jumps are possible in any direction, including backwards. This means it's easy to get stuck on your opponent's side of the board – unless you're able to jump backwards over one or more of your opponent's pieces.
With this in mind:
- Try not to get stuck on your opponent's side of the board too early, with no possibility of jumping backwards.
- Much of the middlegame is about positioning yourself so that you can jump over your opponent's pieces and land on a safe point – which is generally a point at an edge of the board. Moving your pieces onto these safe points confers a positional advantage.
- Empty points between your pieces are generally a bad thing, since you may be setting your opponent up for a spectacular extended jump, annihilating several of your pieces at once.
- But you can also force your opponent's jumps to your advantage: If you sacrifice a piece by forcing your opponent to jump over it, and on your countermove you can jump over several of your opponent's pieces in return, you've gained a material advantage.
- Pay attention to which diagonals are safe and which are not.
The transition between the middlegame and the endgame is fluid, but it's usually around when each player only has three or four pieces left on the board.
While most of the middlegame action takes place toward the center of the board, with jumps answered by counterjumps, the endgame tends to focus on the edges of the board.
During the endgame, it's important to remember that unless you can jump over your opponent, you can only move forwards or sideways – and you cannot go back to a point you just left. So if you don't manage to jump, your pieces will eventually get stuck in a corner with nowhere to go – and whoever gets stuck first, loses.
With this in mind:
- Always maximize the number of moves you can still make without getting stuck. Not only will this make it more likely your opponent will run out of moves first – it will also give you more opportunities to jump over your opponent's remaining pieces without being jumped over yourself.
- Toward the very end of the game, count the number of remaining empty points available to you and your opponent. If things are getting very tight, you may still be able to eke out a draw, when neither you nor your opponent is able to move.
- Remember: You can still win even if you have fewer pieces left than your opponent – as long as your opponent runs out of moves first. The number of pieces remaining is important, but not as important as the number of moves you still have available.