# Questions tagged [combinatorial-game-theory]

Two-player turn-based perfect-information games, surreal numbers, impartial games and Sprague-Grundy theory, partizan games

172 questions
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### A Game on Noetherian Rings

A friend suggested the following combinatorial game. At any time, the state of the game is a (commutative) Noetherian ring $\neq 0$. On a player's turn, that player chooses a nonzero non-unit element ...
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### Checkmate in $\omega$ moves?

Is there a chess position with a finite number of pieces on the infinite chess board $\mathbb{Z}^2$ such that White to move has a forced win, but Black can stave off mate for at least $n$ moves for ...
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### Decidability of chess on an infinite board

The recent question Do there exist chess positions that require exponentially many moves to reach? of Tim Chow reminds me of a problem I have been interested in. Is chess with finitely many men on an ...
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### A Ramsey avoidance game

Consider the following game: Given $K_n$ the complete graph on $n$ vertices, two players take turns coloring its edges. Initially no edges are colored. At his turn a player can color a prevoiusly not ...
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### The arithmetic progression game and its variations: can you find optimal play?

Consider the arithmetic progression game, a two-player game of perfect information, in which the players take turns playing natural numbers, or finite sets of natural numbers, all distinct, and the ...
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### David Gale's subset take-away game

I learned of this problem through Su Gao, who heard of it years ago while a post-doc at Caltech. David Gale introduced this game in the 70s, I believe. I am only aware of two references in print: ...
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### Removing pawns - the game

Here is a simple game I've invented (if the idea is not fresh, then please let me know): The game is played on a board. The board has some (finite) number of lines drawn on it. A pawn is placed on ...
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### Determine or estimate the number of maximal triangle-free graphs on $n$ vertices

Among the collections of the open problems of Paul Erdős on the website of Professor Fan Chung, there is one called "number of triangle-free graphs". http://www.math.ucsd.edu/~erdosproblems/erdos/...
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### Who wins the Rubik's cube game?

This game has two players, Spoiler and Solver. We start with a solved 3x3x3 rubik's cube (to make the problem easier). Solver and Spoiler take turns making 90 degree twists (starting with Solver). ...
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### Variation on a matrix game

The original problem appeared on last year's Putnam exam: "Alan and Barbara play a game in which they take turns filling entries of an initially empty 2008×2008 array. Alan plays ﬁrst. At each turn, ...
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### Traversing the infinite square grid

Starting somewhere on an infinite square grid, is it possible to visit every square exactly once, if at move $n$, one must jump $a_n$ steps in one of the directions north,south,east or west, and mark ...
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### When is a game tree the game tree of a board game?

This question arises from what I find interesting in the recently asked question What is a chess piece mathematically? My answer to that question was that mathematically, game pieces are in general ...
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### Irreversible chess

Suppose we play a chess-variant, where any finite number of pieces are allowed, and the board is as large as we wish, but only two kings in total. And there is no 50 move-rule, no castling and no ...
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### Why does the bitxor function appear in Nim?

I am conducting research in Combinatorial Game Theory (CGT). Although I have done a considerable amount of reading, I do not completely understand why the bit-xor function also known as the nim-sum ...
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### Playing an (invertible) matrix game with two players

Players $A$ and $B$ take an empty $n \times n$ matrix and place, one by one, an element (say, a rational number) in an unoccupied place of this matrix. Player $A$ starts. The game ends if there is no ...
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### Are the moves/rules of standard chess delicately balanced?

(While the world chess championship is in progress in Sochi...) Is there mathematical evidence that standard chess is somehow ...
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### Nimber multiplication

Is there a game-theoretic interpretation of nimber multiplication? There is such for addition (a single move in a+b is either a move in a or a move in b).
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### Principal maximal ideals in Z[x]/(F)

Is there some irreducible $F \in \mathbb{Z}[x]$ such that $\mathbb{Z}[x]/(F)$ has no principal maximal ideal? Equivalently, is it possible that the $1$-dimensional integral domain $\mathbb{Z}[x]/(F)$ ...
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### Is the game Hanabi NEXPTIME-complete?

The game Hanabi is a cooperative, hidden-information game. You can read the rules elsewhere, but broadly speaking the players are attempting to cooperatively build a fireworks display by playing cards ...
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### Mathematical solution for a two-player single-suit trick taking game?

The question on games and mathematics that appeared recently on mathoverflow (Which popular games are the most mathematical?) reminded me of a problem I encountered some time ago : starting with the ...
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### Winning strategy at chomp (a chocolate bar game)?

The game of chomp is an example of a game with very simple rules, but no known winning strategy in general. I copy the rules from Ivars Peterson's page: Chomp starts with a rectangular array of ...
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### A Combinatorial Game: the Snake and the Hunter

The Snake and the Hunter is a game for two players who play in two rounds interchanging the roles of snake and hunter. The game is played in a rectangular grid of points, say $6 \times 6$. In both ...
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### Bipartite Nim-Geography

Two players are playing a game on a bipartite graph where all of the edges are nim-heaps of various sizes. A token starts on one of the vertices, and on your turn you must move the token over an edge ...
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### Characterizing the surcomplex numbers

Conway showed that the Field of surreal numbers ("${\bf No}$") is the maximal totally ordered Field. Later Jacob Lurie showed that the Group of all partizan games ${\bf Pg}$ is the universally ...
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### Are there any interesting connections between Game Theory and Algebraic Topology?

I've been learning game theory on my own and was just curious how it connected with previous things I've learned. So are there any interesting connections between Game Theory and Algebraic Topology? ...
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### Sliding blocks puzzle

Consider a 'game' played on a subset $S$ of an $n^2$ square grid as follows. There are 3 types of pieces, each occupying a square of $S$, 1 green, some red and the rest are blue, a move consists of ...
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### The infinite X in Conway's game of life

In Conway's game of life, take the initial position to be two infinite diagonal lines of live cells, with a single cell in common. Does this thing converge to a stable configuration? I.e., is the ...
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### A game: building a bounded degree graph

Given positive integers $n$ and $d\leqslant n-1$. Two players build a graph, starting with $n$ vertices and no edges. On each turn, a player joins two yet not joined vertices by an edge. It is ...
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### What does “game theory” cover and how should it be called?

There seems to be a huge discrepancy in what people refer to when they speak of "game theory". I tend to think of it as including, among other things: Combinatorial game theory dealing with certain ...
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### For which number of pairs is it an advantage to start in memory

Players A and B play memory starting with $n$ pairs of cards. We assume that they can remember all cards which have been turned. At his turn a player will first recall if two cards already turned ...