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Games of No Chance Paperback – Nov 13 1998
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"This book must be read by every serious student of two-person full-information games, and it provides an excellent presentation for anyone seeking a proper introduction to the subject." Solomon W. Golomb, American Scientist
"Some books make mathematics look like so much fun! This collection of 35 articles and a comprehensive bibliography is a marvelous and alluring account of a 1994 MSRI two week workshop on combinatorial game theory. This could be a menace to the rest of mathematics; those folks seem to be having such a good time playing games that the rest of us might abandon 'serious' mathematics and join the party...Even the technical terms are laced with humor." Ed Sandifer, MAA Online
This volume presents papers from the workshop on "Combinatorial Games" held at MSRI in July 1994. Combinatorial games are two-person perfect-information games such as chess, checkers, go, domineering, dots-and-boxes, hackenbush, nim, etc. The positions of the latter games in this list tend to decompose into sums of simpler positions. This book will be the newest addition to the literature on combinatorial games, covering many aspects of the current research and will be sought after as a state-of-the-art report in the field.
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Example for GO players: "When neither black or white can make eyes, there are no kos, and all liberties are simple dame, with two competing groups where shared liberties are less than two, the black or white group MUST die." (p. 249). I've reviewed and read dozens of go books, and very few give this level of detail and subtlety, let alone the combinatorial details!
Will help gamers understand math better, and mathematicians understand gaming better. The "bible" of game theory today, Maschler's (Game Theory), though wonderful, doesn't even mention combinatorial games except briefly in the zero sum chapter, and doesn't cover GO at all! So, if you're into combinatorial math and gaming (non chance, two person, zero sum, full information to be exact), this book rocks!
You might already know this, but this is the first in a series of three volumes containing scholarly articles on the topics. Just in case you missed them, the other two are: More Games of No Chance (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Publications) and Games of No Chance 3 (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Publications).
Highly recommended, requires undergrad level math or self study. A little linear algebra and group theory will help, but analysis and calculus are optional. Boolean logic and computer science are plusses.
Speaking of, a GREAT audience for this book would be big O, complexity, computer science, programmers and other IT folks. Some of the fun anecdotes would be great for job interviews in these fields, and not seen very often by the interviewer-- distinguish yourself!
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