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Games, Puzzles and Math Excursions
Category : MathematicsISBN No :9781545753316
The games presented here are mainly 2-person strategic board games and Solitaire Puzzles, when alone. There is a welcome difference between strategic board games and puzzles. A puzzle has a solution and once you've solved it, it is not that interesting any more. A strategy game can be played again and again.Chess, the "King of all Board Games", is not included here as it forms a subject by itself, but there are a few pre-chess puzzles. Bridge, the "Queen of all Card Games", is also not included as Card games and Dice games involve a certain element of luck; the games here are not based on chance or probability.Apart from Games and Puzzles, there is a small chapter on Mathematical Excursions. These are explorations of non mathematicians like me into the ways of thinking and understanding patterns that mathematicians visualise and analyse for sheer pleasure without any monetary or practical benefit. How can a chess knight's move over a chess board be beneficial to anybody? But this exploration has been going on for 2000 years. Also, whereas Pythagoras' Theorem was of great benefit to society, what will proving Fermat's Theorem accomplish? For a mathematician, the overriding influence of numbers becomes his aim in life.
The author is a non mathematician. He received his Masters in Organic Chemistry in 1952. However, from the age of 14 his hobby was mathematical recreations. The first book on mathematics he read was "Mathematics for the Million" by Hogben. This led him to read Dudeney, Rouse Ball, Kraitchik and Martin Gardner in a frenzy.He always wanted to write a book on this subject but with the arrival of the computer he went into making computer mind games and created 2 websites for games. He also ventured to make wooden models of games and puzzles to teach children mathematics through them and he is still building them. Now, at 93, he has brought out this book all by himself as time is running out.