Catch the Chicken

It was pure joy to go through some of the things that I did over the last week. Starting from reading on VS 2005 and .net 2.0, to the biometrics verification and allied stuff, to distance function and some math, it was simply beautiful.

It was pure delight and ecstasy in re discovering the linear approximations for the distance function, understanding the Hausdorff distance and solving puzzles with simple math.

This piece is finds itself here not to tell you about all this, but about a simple puzzle. This puzzle is credited to Sam Lyod. One of the greats in his own respect.

The puzzle I am referring to here is Chickens in the Corn >>

On a New Jersey farm, where some city folks were wont to summer, chicken-chasing became an everyday sport, and there were two pet chickens which could always be found in the garden ready to challenge any one to catch them. It reminded one of a game of tag, and suggested a curious puzzle which I am satisfied will worry some of our experts.

The object is to prove in just how many moves the good farmer and his wife can catch the two chickens.

The field is divided into sixty-four square patches, marked off by the corn hills. Let us suppose that they are playing a game, moving between the corn rows from one square to another, directly up and down or right and left.

Play turn about. First let the man and woman each move one square, then let each of the chickens make a move. The play continues by turns until you find out in how many moves it is possible to drive the chickens into such positions that both of them are cornered and captured. A capture occurs when the farmer or his wife can pounce on a square occupied by a chicken.

The game can be played on any checkerboard by using two checkers of one color to represent the farmer and his wife, and two checkers of another color to represent the hen and rooster.

The puzzle as it is not something great, but it finds its way here, as it is the one that triggered the puzzle drive in me after a long time. The above statement for the problem is taken from cut-the-knot, a beautiful site for interactive mathematics. You can find the above problem with a java applet here on this site.

Enjoy cutting the knot. (Pun Intended.)