Black and White

The English occultist Aleister Crowley, “the wickedest man in the world,” was a skilled chess player. In 1894 he published several problems in the Eastbourne Gazette under the pseudonym Ta Dhuibh. This one appeared on Feb. 21. How can White mate in two moves?

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A Royal Tour

king's tour

A problem by Kagen Schaefer:

Suppose a king tours a chessboard, visiting each square once, never crossing his own path, and finishing where he starts. Inevitably he’ll have to make some horizontal and vertical moves; for example, in the tour above he makes 14 horizontal and 16 vertical moves.

Show that in any such tour of an 8 × 8 chessboard the sum of the horizontal and vertical moves must be at least 28.

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The Three-Hat Problem

In the October 2003 issue of MIT Technology Review, Donald Aucamp offered this conundrum:

Three logicians, A, B, and C, are wearing hats. Each hat displays a positive integer, and each logician can see his companions’ numbers but not his own. All of them know that the numbers are positive integers and that one of the numbers is the sum of the other two. The three then take turns in a contest to see who can determine his number first. In the first round, all three pass, but in the second round A correctly states his number is 50. What are the other two numbers, and how did A know that his was 50?

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Image: Flickr

An old “puzzler” from NPR’s Car Talk:

Thirty buyers attended an auction of dozens of cars. Ten of the buyers bought fewer than 6 cars; eight bought more than 7 cars; five bought more than 8 cars; and one bought more than 9 cars.

Of the 30 buyers, how many bought 6, 7, 8, or 9 cars?

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Running Cargo

This passage is from Rudyard Kipling’s 1910 story “Brother Square-Toes.” What’s notable about the bolded section?

‘I’ll have to bide ashore and grow cabbages for a while, after I’ve run this cargo; but I do wish’ — Dad says, going over the lugger’s side with our New Year presents under his arm and young L’Estrange holding up the lantern — ‘I just do wish that those folk which made war so easy had to run one cargo a month all this winter. It ‘ud show ’em what honest work means.’

‘Well, I’ve warned ye,’ says Uncle Aurette. ‘I’ll be slipping off now before your Revenue cutter comes. Give my love to sister and take care o’ the kegs. It’s thicking to southward.’

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