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Tic Tac Toe (Posted on 2002-09-27) Difficulty: 3 of 5
A computer science teacher poses his students a problem.

"I want you write a computer program that plays tic-tac-toe legally and runs through ALL the possible combinations of the game, and finds out the total."

The students settle down to work..

An hour later, a student gets up and proclaims "I've got it! The number of possible combinations in a game is 344,242."

At which point another student quickly replies, "I haven't finished yet, but I'm sure Fred made a mistake in his program."

Why?

(Tic Tac Toe = Noughts and Crosses)

See The Solution Submitted by Cheradenine    
Rating: 3.5455 (11 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
re(2): One reason | Comment 3 of 12 |
(In reply to re: One reason by Jim Lyon)

The final positions may have invariants, but we're tallying possible games, not final positions. Any game that ends with X's at all four corners must have had one of those corners picked first, and that's where the variation comes in.
  Posted by friedlinguini on 2002-09-27 13:23:55

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