Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Thank you for using the timer!
We noticed you are actually not timing your practice. Click the START button first next time you use the timer.
There are many benefits to timing your practice, including:

Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
03 Apr 2012, 12:02

5

This post was BOOKMARKED

00:00

A

B

C

D

E

Difficulty:

95% (hard)

Question Stats:

37% (02:58) correct
63% (01:32) wrong based on 273 sessions

Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a table. Each must remove 1,2,3,4, or 5 sticks at a time on alternate turns, and no stick that is removed is put back on the table. Tha one who removes the last stick (or sticks) from the table wins. If Rita goes first, which of the following is a value of n such that Sam can always win no matter how Rita plays?

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
03 Apr 2012, 12:21

5

This post received KUDOS

Expert's post

eybrj2 wrote:

Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a table. Each must remove 1,2,3,4, or 5 sticks at a time on alternate turns, and no stick that is removed is put back on the table. Tha one who removes the last stick (or sticks) from the table wins. If Rita goes first, which of the following is a value of n such that Sam can always win no matter how Rita plays?

A. 7 B. 10 C. 11 D. 12 E. 16

If the number of sticks on a table is a multiple of 6, then the second player will win in any case (well if the player is smart enough).

Consider n=6, no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player (1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5), the rest (5, 4, 3, 2, or 1) can be removed by the second one.

The same for n=12: no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player 1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5, the second one can remove 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 so that to leave 6 sticks on the table and we are back to the case we discussed above.

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
03 Jun 2013, 20:57

Bunuel wrote:

eybrj2 wrote:

Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a table. Each must remove 1,2,3,4, or 5 sticks at a time on alternate turns, and no stick that is removed is put back on the table. Tha one who removes the last stick (or sticks) from the table wins. If Rita goes first, which of the following is a value of n such that Sam can always win no matter how Rita plays?

A. 7 B. 10 C. 11 D. 12 E. 16

If the number of sticks on a table is a multiple of 6, then the second player will win in any case (well if the player is smart enough).

Consider n=6, no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player (1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5), the rest (5, 4, 3, 2, or 1) can be removed by the second one.

The same for n=12: no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player 1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5, the second one can remove 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 so that to leave 6 sticks on the table and we are back to the case we discussed above.

Answer: D.

Hi Bunnel, Please explain this:

N = 12, here 1 and 2 shows steps in a game: rita picks 5 first, out of remaining 7 sam can pick a maximum of 5, which leaves 2 sticks after round one. On her next chance rita can pick 2 and win.

R S 1 5 5 2 2 > Rita wins

similarly: R S 1 4 5 2 3 > Rita wins R S 1 2 5 2 5 > Rita wins R S 1 2 2 2 5 3 > Sam wins R S 1 2 3 2 5 2 > Sam wins

So both can win when n=12. I agree for n=6, but not for n=12.

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
04 Jun 2013, 02:46

1

This post received KUDOS

Expert's post

cumulonimbus wrote:

Bunuel wrote:

eybrj2 wrote:

Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a table. Each must remove 1,2,3,4, or 5 sticks at a time on alternate turns, and no stick that is removed is put back on the table. Tha one who removes the last stick (or sticks) from the table wins. If Rita goes first, which of the following is a value of n such that Sam can always win no matter how Rita plays?

A. 7 B. 10 C. 11 D. 12 E. 16

If the number of sticks on a table is a multiple of 6, then the second player will win in any case (well if the player is smart enough).

Consider n=6, no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player (1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5), the rest (5, 4, 3, 2, or 1) can be removed by the second one.

The same for n=12: no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player 1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5, the second one can remove 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 so that to leave 6 sticks on the table and we are back to the case we discussed above.

Answer: D.

Hi Bunnel, Please explain this:

N = 12, here 1 and 2 shows steps in a game: rita picks 5 first, out of remaining 7 sam can pick a maximum of 5, which leaves 2 sticks after round one. On her next chance rita can pick 2 and win.

R S 1 5 5 2 2 > Rita wins

similarly: R S 1 4 5 2 3 > Rita wins R S 1 2 5 2 5 > Rita wins R S 1 2 2 2 5 3 > Sam wins R S 1 2 3 2 5 2 > Sam wins

So both can win when n=12. I agree for n=6, but not for n=12.

That;s not correct.

Both players can win BUT if the number of sticks on a table is a multiple of 6, then the second player will win in any case IF the player is smart enough.

n=12: no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player 1, 2, 3 , 4 or 5, the second one can remove 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1, RESPECTIVELY so that to leave 6 sticks on the table. _________________

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
04 Jun 2013, 18:12

If the number of sticks on a table is a multiple of 6, then the second player will win in any case (well if the player is smart enough).

Consider n=6, no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player (1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5), the rest (5, 4, 3, 2, or 1) can be removed by the second one.

The same for n=12: no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player 1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5, the second one can remove 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 so that to leave 6 sticks on the table and we are back to the case we discussed above.

Answer: D.[/quote]

Hi Bunnel, Please explain this:

N = 12, here 1 and 2 shows steps in a game: rita picks 5 first, out of remaining 7 sam can pick a maximum of 5, which leaves 2 sticks after round one. On her next chance rita can pick 2 and win.

R S 1 5 5 2 2 > Rita wins

similarly: R S 1 4 5 2 3 > Rita wins R S 1 2 5 2 5 > Rita wins R S 1 2 2 2 5 3 > Sam wins R S 1 2 3 2 5 2 > Sam wins

So both can win when n=12. I agree for n=6, but not for n=12.[/quote]

That;s not correct.

Both players can win BUT if the number of sticks on a table is a multiple of 6, then the second player will win in any case IF the player is smart enough.

n=12: no matter how many sticks will be removed by the first player 1, 2, 3 , 4 or 5, the second one can remove 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1, RESPECTIVELY so that to leave 6 sticks on the table.[/quote]

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
04 Jun 2013, 20:26

8

This post received KUDOS

Expert's post

1

This post was BOOKMARKED

eybrj2 wrote:

Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a table. Each must remove 1,2,3,4, or 5 sticks at a time on alternate turns, and no stick that is removed is put back on the table. Tha one who removes the last stick (or sticks) from the table wins. If Rita goes first, which of the following is a value of n such that Sam can always win no matter how Rita plays?

A. 7 B. 10 C. 11 D. 12 E. 16

I would like to point out one thing about these questions based on games. These games are made to have a sure shot winner (if both players play intelligently and to win) under certain conditions. If A and B are playing, B's move will be decided by A's move if B has to win i.e. there are complementary moves. For example, in this question, if A picks 2 sticks, B must pick 4 sticks. If A picks 3 sticks, B must pick 3 too. So to solve these questions you need to find this particular complementary relation.

This question tell us that one can pick 1/2/3/4/5 sticks. This means n must be greater than 5 to have a game else the one who picks first will pick all and win. If n = 6, the first one to pick must pick at least 1 and at most 5 sticks leaving anywhere between 5 to 1 sticks for the other player. The other player will definitely win. If n= 7, the first player will pick 1 and leave the other player with 6 sticks. The first player will win. So the object of the game is to leave 6 sticks for your opponent. If the number of sticks is a multiple of 6, you can always make a complementary move to your opponent's move and ensure that you leave your opponent with 6 sticks. For example, if your opponent picks 1 stick, you pick 5, if he picks 2 sticks, you pick 4 and so on.

So when Rita starts, Sam can complement her move each time and leave her with 6 sticks at the end if the total number of sticks is a multiple of 6. There is only one multiple of 6 in the options. Hence, answer must be (D) _________________

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
02 Sep 2013, 20:28

Expert's post

ygdrasil24 wrote:

so what is the generalisation in such questions or we just have to analyze everytime?

To have a sure shot winner, you need complimentary moves. You have to analyze to figure out the complimentary move every time, of course. _________________

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
02 Sep 2013, 20:39

ygdrasil24 wrote:

so what is the generalisation in such questions or we just have to analyze everytime?

The trick is to rephrase the question in more general terms. In this case it would be: What is the number that can always be divided into even number of times when each division can be up to 5. The answer is one greater than 5 which is 6 because whatever be the first value chosen, the second value can be chosen such that 6 can always be divided into two. The same idea can be extended to the multiples of 6 such that they can always be divided even number of times given that each division can be from 1 to 5. _________________

Re: Rita and Sam play the following game with n sticks on a [#permalink]
03 Sep 2014, 14:09

Hello from the GMAT Club BumpBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email. _________________