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Traditional game theory has been successful at developing strategy in games of incomplete information: when one player knows something that the other does not. But it has little to say about games of complete information, for example, tic-tac-toe, solitaire and hex. The main challenge of combinatorial game theory is to handle combinatorial chaos, where brute force study is impractical. In this comprehensive volume, József Beck shows readers how to escape from the combinatorial chaos via the fake probabilistic method, a game-theoretic adaptation of the probabilistic method in combinatorics. Using this, the author is able to determine the exact results about infinite classes of many games, leading to the discovery of some striking new duality principles. Available for the first time in paperback, it includes a new appendix to address the results that have appeared since the book's original publication.Read more
- Learn how to escape the combinatorial chaos using the fake probabilistic method to analyze games such as tic-tac-toe, hex and solitaire
- Unique and comprehensive text by the master of combinatorial game theory: describes striking results and new duality principles
- With nearly 200 figures, plus many exercises and worked examples, the concepts are made fully accessible
- Now updated to reflect new results in the field since its original publication in 2008
Reviews & endorsements
"This is an excellent, extensive, and readable review of combinatorial game theory... The book, which is very hard to put down, ends with an extremely helpful dictionary and list of open problems."
M. Bona, University of Florida for CHOICESee more reviews
"A most thorough and useful treatment of the subject (so far insufficiently presented in the literature), with an enormous store of results, links with other theories, and interesting open problems."
A. Pultr, Mathematical Reviews
"József Beck has done a tremendous amount of work in this area. Many results appear in this book for the first time. This is a great book that brings many (all?) of the results in this field under one roof."
William Gasarch for SIGACT News
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- Date Published: June 2011
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521184755
- length: 750 pages
- dimensions: 234 x 156 x 37 mm
- weight: 1.11kg
- contains: 170 b/w illus. 40 exercises
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
A summary of the book in a nutshell
Part I. Weak Win and Strong Draw:
1. Win vs. weak win
2. The main result: exact solutions for infinite classes of games
Part II. Basic Potential Technique – Game-Theoretic First and Second Moments:
3. Simple applications
4. Games and randomness
Part III. Advanced Weak Win – Game-Theoretic Higher Moment:
5. Self-improving potentials
6. What is the Biased Meta-Conjecture, and why is it so difficult?
Part IV. Advanced Strong Draw – Game-Theoretic Independence:
7. BigGame-SmallGame decomposition
8. Advanced decomposition
9. Game-theoretic lattice-numbers
Appendix A. Ramsey numbers
Appendix B. Hales–Jewett theorem: Shelah's proof
Appendix C. A formal treatment of positional games
Appendix D. An informal introduction to game theory
Appendix E. New results
Complete list of the open problems
What kinds of games? A dictionary
Dictionary of the phrases and concepts
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