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 easy grid of squares so universal to video games worldwide. And, extra importantly, the attention-grabbing arithmetic in the back of it. From the Knight's travel challenge and Queens Domination to their many diversifications, John Watkins surveys the entire famous difficulties during this strangely fertile region of leisure arithmetic. Can a knight stick with a course 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 through one of many queens?

Each major subject is handled extensive from its historic perception via to its prestige this day. Many appealing recommendations have emerged for easy chessboard difficulties when you consider that mathematicians first started engaged on them in earnest over 3 centuries in the past, yet such difficulties, together with these regarding polyominoes, have now been prolonged to three-d chessboards or even chessboards on strange surfaces equivalent to toruses (the similar of taking part in chess on a doughnut) and cylinders. utilizing the hugely visible language of graph conception, Watkins lightly courses the reader to the vanguard of present learn in arithmetic. via fixing a few of the many routines sprinkled all through, the reader can proportion 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 fans, and puzzle devotees.

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

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In this way, therefore, show that any (4n + 1) × (4n + 1) chessboard has an open knight’s tour. 4 Does the 4 × 4 chessboard have an open knight’s tour? 5 Here is a slightly unusual problem from Martin Gardner that at first may not seem to have much to do with knight’s tours [14]. Suppose each square of a 5 × 5 chessboard is occupied by a knight. Is it possible for all 25 knights to move simultaneously? The fact that a 5×5 chessboard doesn’t have a knight’s tour is what makes this problem interesting, because if you ask the same question about a board that does have a knight’s tour then the answer is far too easy because all of the knight’s can simply take one step forward along the knight’s tour all at the same time.

We then, of course, unfold the graph. 14 Switch the knights in sixteen moves. We can immediately see that it takes seven moves just to move the three black knights into the correct position; and, by symmetry, there is really only one way to do this: bring the knight at 5 straight down to 8 and move the other two knights two squares each, that is from 3 to 1 and from 12 to 10. And so, we might hope to do the complete switch of all the knights in just fourteen moves, seven for each color, but unfortunately we can’t move both the black and the white knights in these seven moves without the knights getting in each other’s way.

A far more rigorously algorithmic heuristic from 1823 was used by Warnsdorff in which the knight always moves to a square from which it would control the fewest squares not already visited. You might want to try this ‘algorithm’ out on, say, the 3 × 10 chessboard or the 6 × 6 chessboard. Nevertheless, I think it is fairly clear that we are not likely to be able to find an algorithm like this that would work for all boards; in part, this is because any such algorithm would have to have built into it an ability to reject the excluded boards.

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