Playing the Chomp Game with Ravi Vakil
Ravi Vakil is a Professor of Mathematics and the Robert K. Packard University Fellow at Stanford University. I love visiting with Ravi because he always has fun puzzles and games to share. He’s also a fellow Canadian, and we both enjoy hockey — another one of my favorite games. On my last visit, we played the Chomp Game together. Here’s how it works:
1. Chomp is a two dimensional game played on a rectangular grid of any size.
2. Cookies fill each square in the grid. The cookie in the bottom left corner is poisoned.
3. Players take turns eating cookies. When you eat a cookie, all cookies up and to the right of that cookie are also eaten.
4. Objective: don’t eat the poisoned cookie.
The question Ravi posed is if one of the players has a winning strategy, can you determine the winner before the game begins? Is it always the first player? The answer is explained in the video.