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Chaotic Chomp

The mathematics of crystal growth sheds light on a tantalizing game

By
9:19am, July 18, 2006

It's hard to imagine a simpler two-player game than Chomp. Start by laying out a rectangular array of cookies. The players take turns picking a cookie, each time removing the chosen cookie and all cookies above and to the right of it. Each move is like taking a square or rectangular bite out of the array. The loser is the player forced to take the poison cookie—the one in the lower left-hand corner.

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