Mabel's Table

In almost every game Mabel would lose to her mum Neneh Cherry and it left her confidence raw like sushi. Not only did she lose, but she was also desperately unlucky, so when she spotted a ten-pound note on the floor, she yelled 'finders keepers' and made a grab for it. Neneh had mad money love though and managed to grasp the note at the same time. To decide who would keep it Neneh suggested a game.


Neneh cleared the kitchen table and brought over a tub of 10p's she had for tightening screws. The game is to take turns placing 10p coins flatly on the top of the square kitchen table. Whoever is the first one to not find a space loses.


Neneh asks Mabel whether she'd like to go first or second. She knows this is her one shot, What should she decide and why?

Mabels Table.png




Mabel should go first. By doing this, she can guarantee a win by placing a coin right on the center of the table. Because the table is symmetric, whenever Neneh places a coin on the table, Mabel simply "mirrors" its placement around the center coin. For example, if Neneh places a coin near a corner of the table, Mabel can place one on the opposite corner. This strategy ensures that even when Neneh finds an open space, so can Mabel, so she'll win since Neneh will run out of free space first!