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Mathematics  2012 

Game matching number of graphs

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We study a competitive optimization version of $\alpha'(G)$, the maximum size of a matching in a graph $G$. Players alternate adding edges of $G$ to a matching until it becomes a maximal matching. One player (Max) wants that matching to be large; the other (Min) wants it to be small. The resulting sizes under optimal play when Max or Min starts are denoted $\Max(G)$ and $\Min(G)$, respectively. We show that always $|\Max(G)-\Min(G)|\le 1$. We obtain a sufficient condition for $\Max(G)=\alpha'(G)$ that is preserved under cartesian product. In general, $\Max(G)\ge \frac23\alpha'(G)$, with equality for many split graphs, while $\Max(G)\ge\frac34\alpha'(G)$ when $G$ is a forest. Whenever $G$ is a 3-regular $n$-vertex connected graph, $\Max(G) \ge n/3$, and there are such examples with $\Max(G)\le 7n/18$. For an $n$-vertex path or cycle, the answer is roughly $n/7$.


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