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Subject: Whistette, a 2-player perfect information variant rss

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Michele Spino
Italy
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recently I read an interesting card game with perfect information, Whistette, apparently a Whist variant, invented in 1929 by the chess player Lasker: here is some paper about it:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/p8j202484g679322/
http://www.springerlink.com/content/p1p0q4671u716754/

In 1929 Emanuel Lasker, the mathematician and world chess champion,
described a two person constant sum perfect information game, which he
called whistette. The game uses a deck of cards that consists of a
single totally ordered suit of 2n cards. To begin play the deck is
divided into two hands A and B of n cards each, held by players Left
and Right, and one player is designated as having the lead. The player
on lead chooses one of his cards, and the other player after seeing
this card selects one of his own to play. The player with the higher
card wins a "trick" and obtains the lead. The cards in the trick are
removed from each hand, and play then continues until all cards are
exhausted. Each player strives to maximize (or minimize, in the misère
version) his trick total, and the value of the game to each player is
the number of tricks he takes under optimal play. While we have found
an optimal strategy for the misère version, the regular game remains
unsolved in general. In previous papers we derived basic properties of
the regular game, found criteria under which one hand is guaranteed to
be better than another, and determined the value functions in several
special cases. In this paper we compute the value function for the "1
blocks vs 3" case.

The game can be adapted to a deck of two suits of ordinary French
cards, with the suit of hearts with values from 1 to 13 and the suite
of diamonds with values from 14 to 26 (but the number of cards can be
higher or lower). According me, for a balanced play the best thing is
to make a second game with the player B has the cards that A had at the
beginning of the first game and vice versa (the B player begins the
second game while A began the first game).

I'm curious of to know if someone have ever played this game and their
impression. I also would to know if there are similar games with
this mechanism. It would be interesting also a software implementation
with AI for the computer ability in this game.

Bye
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Eddy
Germany
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Go Lizards, Go Hogs, Go Illini; and the Army keeps rolling along!
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Interesting. To me, it almost sounds as much like a variant of Briscola as of Whist. I think I remember a Briscola variant (or maybe just a similar game) where you deal all of the cards at the beginning rather than having a constantly-replenished hand of three. Significant differences would be the presence of four suits, a trump suit, and the scorekeeping -- all of which would change the nature of play, of course. But it would seem to have a similar mechanic, with both players knowing exactly what counting cards are left in each hand and able to devise tactics for catching them.
 
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