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I think I understand the strategy stealing argument for hex, but why is it necessary? In a game where there is no disadvantage for having more pieces, how could the second player possibly benefit from starting the game with the opponent's first piece already on the board? This seems like a simpler explanation for why the first player wins with perfect play.

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    $\begingroup$ No, your argument is not rigorous. And the strategy stealing argument is just a formal version of your argument. $\endgroup$
    – Trebor
    Sep 25 '21 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ Sort of related, how can we prove that there's no strategy for the second player where they have the advantage no matter where the first player puts their first piece? $\endgroup$
    – Dima
    Sep 25 '21 at 3:44
  • $\begingroup$ The stealing argument does not work for all games , it depends on the rules whether this is possible. In chess, both extra pieces and the right to move could be disadvantages , moreover the game can end in a draw. I do not know "hex" , so I do not know whether a draw is possible in this game. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Sep 25 '21 at 7:57

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