Game of the Week, 1/20/2001

Zero games poured in this week. Keep those e-mails coming, and please send some games. Every week I will pick out the best game I receive (in my judgement), annotate it, and broadcast it to the world. In fact, I will probably pick more than one. Think of the honor, think of the glory to have your game so highlighted.

Since there are no actual games this week, I will be forced to use a solitaire game. I played this game last night while watching the Howard Stern show.

8+ This is the normal game with eight spots. Left needs five survivors, while Right needs six. 1(9)2 An open move like this is often the best try for fewer survivors. And other moves obviously lose. For instance, the move 1(9)1[2] loses to 1(10)9[3,4], when Left will be forced eventually to move to the trap S(3). (There are six cannibals outside of this trap, and there will be four survivors outside of the trap. So Left will "lose" the "normal game" outside of the trap.) 1(10)1[3,4] Right sets up a trap. There are six cannibals outside of this trap, so if four survivors are routinely produced outside of the trap, then Left will be forced to move into the trap. 3(11)10 Left “crashes” the trap (moves to it without being forced), converting the trap to a switch. The sphere S(2) is also a switch, so now the game should come down to Sprague-Grundy numbers. 3(12)3[4] What a strange move! Forget Sprague-Grundy numbers, I apparently decided to test the assertion that the sphere S(2) is a switch. Well, it’s good to test and test. 2(13)2 Left needs to force the production of three survivors from the sphere S(5), while Right needs four. Left has played a “drying up” move, a move designed to limit the number of survivors. 9(14)13 This move looks odd. Right needs to increase fecundity, but the move looks like a drying up move. 5(15)5[6] Apparently, a losing move. Left probably wins after either 5(15)14 or 5(15)6, but this move lets Right form a favorable trap. 5(16)15[14] Disaster for Left! There are six cannibals outside of the trap S(7) and there will be four survivors from this area. Left will be forced to move to S(7), when Right will have his way. Novices should note that this final position would also be lost for Left in misere sprouts. II Left resigns, of course.

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