Loyd, Dudeney and... Galactic Takeover


by Serhiy Grabarchuk

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Many of your solutions were correct, but just part of them was the best - showing the best (maximal) score against the best possible play of the second player.

Below we'd like to propose you all the best solutions to the six challenges of Mini-Contest 15. For each challenge the maximal winning score (against the best player) is given.

Challenge 1: G-H; 7 to 2.
Challenge 2: H-L (or M-N); 8 to 1.
Challenge 3: B-C; 7 to 2.
Challenge 4: F-G; 6 to 3.
Challenge 5: F-G; 7 to 2.
Challenge 6: A-B (or B-F); 8 to 1.

Also we show the two original solutions by Sam Loyd and Henry E. Dudeney.


The Boxer's Puzzle

Solution by Sam Loyd

This odd little puzzle-game proved to be replete with opportunities for surprises and fine points of play, as shown in the following answer, which proves that the first player should score seven boxes by beginning with a line from G to H. If the second player then marks from J to K, the first will score two boxes by marking from K to O and P to L, and will then play the waiting move, L to H, instead of scoring two more boxes. The other player now scores the two boxes by G and K, and is then compelled to make a play which gives the first player five others. If, when the first player marks from G to H, the second player marks C-G, B-F, E-F, and then makes the waiting play of M-N, which scores four more boxes. It is this sharp play of giving your opponent two boxes so as to then get four which constitutes the pretty points of the game.


The Nine Squares Game

Solution by Henry E. Dudeney

I should play MN. My opponent may play HL, and I play CD. (If he had played CD, I should have replied HL, leaving the same position.) The best he can now do is DH (scoring one), but, as he has to play again, I win the remaining eight squares.

Last Updated: December 8, 2005
Mini-Contest 15
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