Across the Board: The Mathematics of Chessboard Problems by John J. Watkins

By John J. Watkins

Around the Board is the definitive paintings on chessboard difficulties. it's not easily approximately chess however the chessboard itself--that basic grid of squares so universal to video games around the globe. And, extra importantly, the interesting arithmetic at the back of it. From the Knight's journey challenge and Queens Domination to their many adaptations, John Watkins surveys all of the recognized difficulties during this unusually fertile sector of leisure arithmetic. Can a knight keep on with a direction that covers each sq. as soon as, finishing at the beginning sq.? what percentage queens are wanted in order that each sq. is concentrated or occupied by means of one of many queens?

Each major subject is handled intensive from its historic notion via to its prestige at the present time. Many attractive ideas have emerged for easy chessboard difficulties due to the fact that mathematicians first begun engaged on them in earnest over 3 centuries in the past, yet such difficulties, together with these related to polyominoes, have now been prolonged to 3-dimensional chessboards or even chessboards on strange surfaces corresponding to toruses (the identical of taking part in chess on a doughnut) and cylinders. utilizing the hugely visible language of graph concept, Watkins lightly publications the reader to the leading edge of present study in arithmetic. through fixing a few of the many routines sprinkled all through, the reader can percentage absolutely within the pleasure of discovery.

Showing that chess puzzles are the place to begin for vital mathematical rules that experience resonated for hundreds of years, around the Board will captivate scholars and teachers, mathematicians, chess lovers, and puzzle devotees.

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Extra resources for Across the Board: The Mathematics of Chessboard Problems

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We can return to the outer ring at 9 and everything is fine, dipping inside again at 17, and then once more at square 26. At this stage it is best to take stock of the situation. Rather astonishingly, however, of the four available moves from square 26, three of these choices lead easily to a complete tour. 15 A 6 × 6 tour. 16. 16 An 8 × 8 tour. 3 Note that you must follow M with D, otherwise if you follow instead with L you will never be able to return to D. By being careful to never inadvertently isolate a vertex in this way, it is relatively easy to conclude that there are only two ways to complete this cycle, namely, BCPNMDFKLTSRQZXWVJHGB and BCPNMDFGHXWVJKLTSRQZB.

Nonetheless, the excitement in the theater was palpable as Ricky, being blindfolded, called out the next move to his assistant, a young volunteer Ricky had selected from the audience. This volunteer then turned on a very bright light in the center of the square that was to be the next square visited along the knight’s path 25 CHAPTER 2 and this was all taking place on a huge vertical chessboard that was easily visible from the very back of the theater. The tension mounted even higher as the tour neared the end: would the blindfolded Ricky be able to find the empty squares that we could see so easily?

For example, if a board has only one or two rows, there is not enough room for a tour; with one row, a knight can’t even move, and with two rows, a knight can only move in one direction but is then stuck at that far end of the board. By the way, I should mention that, in general, we will usually orient our chessboards horizontally, so that for an m × n chessboard with m rows and n columns, we have m n. What about boards with three rows? 2 in Chapter 1 I mentioned that a 3 × 10 board was the smallest such board for which a knight’s tour is possible.

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