Hex: Nash, John Forbes, Jr. Hex: Nash, John Forbes, Jr.


Nash, John Forbes, Jr.

Published by Springfield, MA: Parker Brother, 1952., 1952
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Hex

Publisher: Springfield, MA: Parker Brother, 1952.

Publication Date: 1952


Board game complete with all pieces and inserts, including instructions. Box lid worn with tape repair. A commercial version of a board game invented by the great mathematician during his first year of graduate school at Princeton University in 1949. As his biographer Sylvia Nasar notes, Nash spent most of his free time in graduate school board games, including chess, go, and Kriegspiel, a complex game played with three chessboards. His fertile mind swiftly came up with this variant of a connection game - players take turns laying down colored tiles across a symmetrical board until one has made a chain that extends from one side to the other. (Piet Hein, the Danish mathematician of "Grooks" fame had developed a similar game independently.) Nash proved mathematically that a tie was impossible. In fact the first player should win - unless he or she made a mistake. Naser describes Hex in theoretical terms as "a beautiful example of a zero-sum two-person game with perfect information in which one player always has a winning strategy." A classmate, David Gale, helped Hex take concrete form by designing a simple board based on Nash's description, and the game became popular in the Princeton common room, where it was called "Nash" or "John." The latter name, Martin Gardner notes, was not derived from the inventor's first name but rather from the fact that the board resembled the tiles on the floors of the university's bathrooms. It was Gale who sent a copy of the game to Parker Brothers and suggested the name Hex. Parker Brothers introduced the game to the marketplace in 1952. In May 1950, one year after he invented Hex, Nash would submit the 28-page dissertation on non-cooperative games that set forth the theoretical principle that would eventually earn him a Nobel Prize. As Naser observes, "Nash's game was his first bona fide invention and the first hard evidence of genius.". Bookseller Inventory # 17630

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