UConn Math Club

Solving the Game of Nim

Scott Zimmerman (University of Connecticut)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 5:45 pm
MONT 321

In the game of Nim, two players take turns selecting any number of stones from one of three piles. The player who selects the last remaining stone loses the game. It is believed that the game originated in China in ancient times. Though the rules are simple, one may imagine that there are many strategies available to force your opponent to select the last stone. In this talk, I will present a solution to the game. In particular, we will be able to prove the existence of a winning (or losing) strategy based solely on the number of stones in each pile at the start of the game. We will start by examining a few simple cases and then we will state and prove a theorem based on our observations.

Comments: Free pizza and drinks!