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Hex: The Inventors

The way to grow grand  
is not: to demand.  
In life's every field  
you are what you yield.  

About Hex

Basic Strategy

3 Problems

Piet Hein 

Piet Hein
Born: December 16, 1905, in Copenhagen, Denmark 

Scientist, mathematician, inventor, and author. Studied at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen (later named the Niels Bohr Institute), and Technical University of Denmark. Awarded an honarary doctorate by Yale University in 1972. Lived in England, the U.S., and South America before returning to his native Denmark, where he died on April 18, 1996. 

He is known primarily for his numerous original creations, including the super-ellipse and super-egg, the Soma cube, many intricate mathematical games, and the short, aphoristic poetical form he called the "grook" (gruk in Danish). He wrote thousands of grooks, sometimes under the psuedonym "Kumbel." (A few of the English language grooks appear scattered through these pages.) 

Piet Hein said that the game of Hex occurred to him while contemplating the well-known four-color problem in topology. He presented his idea to students at the Institute in 1942. The game soon became very popular in Denmark under the name Polygon
John Nash 

John Nash
Born: June 13, 1928, in Bluefield, West Virginia, USA 

Mathematician and economist. Studied at Carnegie Mellon University and Princeton University (PhD, 1950). Instructor at M.I.T. from 1951 to 1959. Returned to Princeton in 1959. Awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economic Science (along with John C. Harsanyi and Reinhard Selten) for his pioneering work on the application of game theory to the study of economics. 

John Milnor, a Princeton undergraduate in the late 1940's, recalled in 1995 what Nash was like at that time: 

    He was always full of mathematical ideas, not only on game theory, but in geometry and topology as well. However, my most vivid memory of this time is of the many games which were played in the common room. I was introduced to Go and Kriegspiel, and also to an ingenious topological game which we called Nash in honor of the inventor.
The game Nash was in fact Hex, which Nash had invented in 1948 independently of Piet Hein. (According to Martin Gardner, some of the students also referred to the game as John, because it was often played on the hexagonal tiles of bathroom floors.) The game soon became popular with mathematics students at Princeton, the Institute for Advanced Study, and other university mathematics centers.
Hex-7 Basic Strategy