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Catching The Hogs

 Answer : A very short examination of this puzzle game should convince the reader that Hendrick can never catch the black hog, and that the white hog can never be caught by Katrün. Each hog merely runs in and out of one of the nearest corners and can never be captured.  The fact is, curious as it must at first sight appear, a Dutchman cannot catch a black hog, and a Dutchwoman can never capture a white one!  But each can, without difficulty, catch one of the other colour. So if the first player just determines that he will send Hendrick after the white porker and Katrün after the black one, he will have no difficulty whatever in securing both in a very few moves. It is, in fact, so easy that there is no necessity whatever to give the line of play.  We thus, by means of the game, solve the puzzle in real life, why the Dutchman and his wife could not catch their pigs: in their simplicity and ignorance of the peculiarities of Dutch hogs, each went after the wrong animal. The little principle involved in this puzzle is that known to chess-players as "getting the opposition."  The rule, in the case of my puzzle (where the moves resemble rook moves in chess, with the added condition that the rook may only move to an adjoining square), is simply this.  Where the number of squares on the same row, between the man or woman and the hog, is odd, the hog can never be captured; where the number of squares is even, a capture is possible.  The number of squares between Hendrick and the black hog, and between Katrün and the white hog, is 1 (an odd number), therefore these individuals cannot catch the animals they are facing.  But the number between Hendrick and the white hog, and between Katrün and the black one, is 6 (an even number), therefore they may easily capture those behind them.

Medieval Brain Teasers