The solving of mathematical games and puzzles is seldom just a harmless pasttime for its devotees - it is often addictive and totally absorbing occupation. Why? Because the initiated knows well that although no technical knowledge is needed to play most of them, a certain mathematical skill is needed to play well and to win. This long-awaited treatise from the highly-respected authors of several books and articles on mathematical games and numbers is not just another compilation of new tricks. It is in part a rigorous demonstration of exactly how games can be analysed to discover the winning strategy; in part a fine reconstruction of how a seemingly complex game may be a compound of several simpler ones (although on a few occasions, considerable mathematical maturity is needed to follow the proofs fully); and in part a fascinating and varied account of the extraordinary range of games available to the addict's amusement.
Winning Ways includes several theories for a wide range of several compounds which are described in detail in the first volume, Games in General. In this volume, Games in Particular, there is a dazzling presentation of the examples: any game which presents an opportunity for witty and original comment has been included. The analyses start with basic theory using simple examples, but progress to detailed case-studies of well-known games ranging from the elementary to the elaborate and including Tic-Tac-Toe, Dots-and=Boxes, Hackenbush, Peg Solitaire and the maddening Hungarian cube puzzle.
Written in a relaxed, humorous and light-hearted style, with tables, drawings and cartoons in color to complement the text, this book will be a pleasure to read and re-read. All those who find mathematical puzzles even mildly interesting will find them compulsive after short exposure to
Winning Ways, while those who at present grit their teeth if faced with a brain teaser in New Scientist or Scientific American may find themselves instead basking in the satisfaction of success once they have digested this, the definitive work on the subject.
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