[FOM] Conway's Angel and Devil problem
joeshipman at aol.com
Tue Jun 19 01:18:02 EDT 2007
The best of these solutions show that the angel of power 2 (and
therefore all higher powers) wins in dimension 2 (and therefore all
The devil always wins in dimension 1 agains any power of angel, and
wins in dimension 2 against an angel of power 1 (chess king).
So the only unsolved question is "what is the lowest dimension in which
an angel of power 1 wins, or is there none?"
It may have been observed by someone other than me that you can
transform the winning strategy for a 2-d angel of power 2 into a
winning strategy for a 12-d angel of power 1, by crumpling the 2-d
board in 12 dimensions so that each cell in the radius 2 2-d
neighborhood goes to a cell in the radius 1 12-d neighborhood and
2-adjacencies become 1-adjacencies; I'm not sure how much lower one can
make the dimension and still make this work.
The first case of this is, and the one that seems to correspond to an
interesting game, is "does the devil win in dimension 3 against an
angel of power 1?" There we can start by asking for a lower bound on
the size of the board on which the devil can force a win.
From: Timothy Y. Chow <tchow at alum.mit.edu>
Subject: [FOM] Conway's Angel and Devil problem
Conway's angel/devil problem was first published, I believe, in Winning
Ways some 25 years ago. A nice description of the problem may be found
The problem remained unsolved until recently, when four (!) independent
and almost simultaneous solutions appeared, showing that the angel wins.
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