ladybug4789 (ladybug4789) wrote in thequestionclub,

So you've got twelve toothpicks...

My summer school Algebra 2 teacher put this up on the chalkboard. He learned to play this game in a bar. You take twelve toothpicks and arrange them as seen above. You play this game with two people. The basic idea is that the person who takes the last toothpick loses. You can take as many as you want but only from one row; you could take all five from the last row, or only one, or three or whatever, but you can only take from one row per turn. There's a logic to this game that if you know it, you can win every time. He said the crucial point is whether you choose to go first or second, when you're starting the game. Anyways, he's offering extra credit to whoever can beat him. I thought about it and I just can't figure it out. You guys here are a smart bunch, can anyone help me? Thanks!
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