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by William Armstrong
25 Sep 2011
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Ovid's Game Puzzle

Genre: Logic Rating: 7 - Hard Source: Dudeney, Canterbury Puzzle 110
Brain Functions: Analysis / Focus Hint    Solution

Imagine a game of tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses) played on the numbered squares below. The game is played with black and white markers (or coins) instead of X's and O's. Unlike tic-tac-toe, each player gets only three markers. When all of the markers have been played, the moves consist of sliding a marker into an empty square that shares a common wall with the square the marker is leaving.

Ovid's Game Puzzle

Here is an example. White starts at 5. Black plays 7. White plays 6. Black is forced to play 4. White plays 1, and Black plays 9 to block. White's next move would be to slide the marker from 6 to 3. No matter what Black does, White's next move will be to move 5 to 2 for the win (three in a row).

If both players use perfect strategy, will White (player 1) always win? Will Black always win? Will each game be a draw?

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