THE BOARD IN COMPARTMENTS.
(The Guarded Chessboard
We cannot divide the ordinary chessboard into four equal square
compartments, and describe a complete tour, or even path, in each
compartment. But we may divide it into four compartments, as in the
illustration, two containing each twenty squares, and the other two each
twelve squares, and so obtain an interesting puzzle. You are asked to
describe a complete re-entrant tour on this board, starting where you
like, but visiting every square in each successive compartment before
passing into another one, and making the final leap back to the square
from which the knight set out. It is not difficult, but will be found
very entertaining and not uninstructive.
Whether a re-entrant "tour" or a complete knight's "path" is possible or
not on a rectangular board of given dimensions depends not only on its
dimensions, but also on its shape. A tour is obviously not possible on a
board containing an odd number of cells, such as 5 by 5 or 7 by 7, for
this reason: Every successive leap of the knight must be from a white
square to a black and a black to a white alternately. But if there be an
odd number of cells or squares there must be one more square of one
colour than of the other, therefore the path must begin from a square of
the colour that is in excess, and end on a similar colour, and as a
knight's move from one colour to a similar colour is impossible the
path cannot be re-entrant. But a perfect tour may be made on a
rectangular board of any dimensions provided the number of squares be
even, and that the number of squares on one side be not less than 6 and
on the other not less than 5. In other words, the smallest rectangular
board on which a re-entrant tour is possible is one that is 6 by 5.
A complete knight's path (not re-entrant) over all the squares of a
board is never possible if there be only two squares on one side; nor is
it possible on a square board of smaller dimensions than 5 by 5. So that
on a board 4 by 4 we can neither describe a knight's tour nor a complete
knight's path; we must leave one square unvisited. Yet on a board 4 by 3
(containing four squares fewer) a complete path may be described in
sixteen different ways. It may interest the reader to discover all
these. Every path that starts from and ends at different squares is here
counted as a different solution, and even reverse routes are called
Next: THE FOUR KNIGHTS' TOURS.
Previous: THE FOUR KANGAROOS.