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Two-Player Tower of Hanoi

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Abstract:

The Tower of Hanoi game is a classical puzzle in recreational mathematics, which also has a strong record in pure mathematics. In a borderland between these two areas we find the characterization of the minimal number of moves, which is $2^n-1$, to transfer a tower of $n$ disks. But there are also other variations to the game, involving for example move edges weighted by real numbers. This gives rise to a similar type of problem, but where the final score seeks to be optimized. We study extensions of the one-player setting to two players, invoking classical winning conditions in combinatorial game theory such as the player who moves last wins, or the highest score wins. Here we solve both these winning conditions on three heaps.

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