World

Game

Of

Sprouts

Association

What the *&!#@ am I talking about? Let me give you a hint. It has everything to do with last week's column. And fair warning: you're at the cusp of the spoiler.

The peculiar bait is a coded up representation of the sprouts outcomes from 0 to 11 dots. There were 24 ways to choose my symbology. I think I found the most natural.

Through 11 dots, we're pretty certain to have the outcomes right. I was hoping the online encyclopedia would give me more terms, but as I say, I did not get a hit.

So what does come next? Daniel Sleator and company expect (starting again from 0) 1,1,2,3,3,4,1,2,2,3,4,4,2,2,2,4,4,3,2,2,1,4,3,3,2,1,1... See the pattern yet? I don't either.

After a long walk on the beach, mulling, pondering, pulling a long face, I came up with an alternate: 1,1,2,3,3,4,1,2,2,3,4,4,2,2,2,4,4,4,2,2,2,4,4,4, etc. In other words, I see the traps and flipflops systematically invading and taking over.

Who's right? Time will tell.

ANALYSIS (Find a shrink.) **17-** Here's the test case, the place our sequences diverge.**1(18)1[2-9]** Now I expect player1 to win with a simple plan. He can probably force an even number of isolani from each side plus a trap from at least one side. So he's probably already got the warmonger's requisites for success.

--Cal Hudson, First World Champion of Sprouts