On-line Ramsey Numbers of Paths and Cycles

  • Joanna Cyman
  • Tomasz Dzido
  • John Lapinskas
  • Allan Lo
Keywords: On-line Ramsey theory, Combinatorial games, Paths, Cycles


Consider a game played on the edge set of the infinite clique by two players, Builder and Painter. In each round, Builder chooses an edge and Painter colours it red or blue. Builder wins by creating either a red copy of $G$ or a blue copy of $H$ for some fixed graphs $G$ and $H$. The minimum number of rounds within which Builder can win, assuming both players play perfectly, is the on-line Ramsey number $\tilde{r}(G,H)$. In this paper, we consider the case where $G$ is a path $P_k$. We prove that $\tilde{r}(P_3,P_{\ell+1}) = \lceil 5\ell/4\rceil = \tilde{r}(P_3,C_{\ell})$ for all $\ell \ge 5$, and determine $\tilde{r}(P_4,P_{\ell+1})$ up to an additive constant for all $\ell \ge 3$. We also prove some general lower bounds for on-line Ramsey numbers of the form $\tilde{r}(P_{k+1},H)$.
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