Finding a Princess in a Palace: a Pursuit-Evasion Problem

  • John R Britnell
  • Mark Wildon
Keywords: Combinatorial search, Trees, Pursuit-evasion


This paper solves a pursuit-evasion problem in which a prince must find a princess who is constrained to move on each day from one vertex of a finite graph to another. Unlike the related and much studied `Cops and Robbers Game', the prince has no knowledge of the position of the princess; he may, however, visit any single room he wishes on each day. We characterize the graphs for which the prince has a winning strategy, and determine, for each such graph, the minimum number of days the prince requires to guarantee to find the princess.

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