This is an incredibly naive question so this may be closed. Nevertheless, I have been reading about the problem asking *if every obtuse triangle admits a periodic billiard path*, which has been open for a very long time. As someone who has not worked on this problem, I am wondering why what (on the surface) appears to be a "simple" problem is in fact so difficult to solve.

From the little I have read, it would appear that there has indeed been progress into the problem by the likes of Schwartz, Halbeisen et al., Vorobets et al., and more, however none have actually solved this problem. I find it curious that finding periodic billiard paths for acute triangles via the Fagnano billiard orbits is so natural and even simple, yet as soon as the same question is asked about right or obtuse triangles the ease in answering the question is vanquished.

Would anyone here be able to explain to me why this is (I know why Fagnano orbits do not exist in obtuse/right triangles), and how we happened upon methods such as unfoldings to be the best machinery in asking questions about this problem?