Thursday, February 12, 2015

Napoleon's Star

Napoleon had an obsession: a star. His star. He would talk about it to everyone, and whoever would listen to him out of respect, would point at the star in the sky. Napoleon even talked about the star during the Russian campaign, while his troops were receding.

It seems like Talleyrand sent him the game - Napoleon's Star - on the evening of 17th June, 1815, the day before the Battle of Waterloo. It has been said that the great general spent the entire night and the following day, until sunset, trying to solve the game, without hearing the noise of the battle and without listening to his officers pleading for help. When he came out of his tent to breath some fresh air, looking tired and unshaven, but with the solution in his grasp, Waterloo had already been won by the English, and his troops were fleeing with no order or hope.

napoleon star

Here's the game: start from any of the ten points, marked with a letter, and follow - in a staight line - to the third point from the starting position (eg from a to g); place a coin on this third point. Then pick another point unoccupied by any coin, and again go to a third unoccupied point in a straight line (a coin on the second point doesn't matter), and place a coin on it. Repeat the procedure until you've placed nine coins.

Napoleon's Star Puzzle Solution

To be able to place nine coins, it is necessary to make the 3rd point of each step equal to the start point of the previous step. For example:

a-g; i-a; c-i; f-c; e-f; h-e; b-h; j-b; d-j.

napoleon star soution

 With such a simple solution, it's hard to believe that Napoleon stayed in charge for so long.