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Triple Duel

Smith, Brown and Jones agree to fight a pistol duel under the following unusual conditions. After drawing lots to determine who fires first, second and third, they take their places at the corners of an equilateral triangle. It is agreed that they will fire single shots in turn and continue in the same cyclic order until two of them are dead. At each turn the man who is firing may aim wherever he pleases. All three duelists know that Smith always hits his target, Brown is 80 percent accurate and Jones is 50 percent accurate. Assuming that all three adopt the best strategy, and that no one is killed by a wild shot not intended for him, who has the best chance to survive? What are the exact survival probabilities of the three men?

Carl Lee
Wed Apr 21 08:26:07 EDT 1999