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Who's Shootin' Who?

The Puzzler


RAY: This puzzler is mathematical in nature. Imagine if you will, three gentlemen, Mr. Black, Mr. Brown and Mr. White, who so detest each other that they decided to resolve their differences with pistols. It's kind of like a duel - only a three-way duel. And unlike the gunfights of the old West, where the participants would simultaneously draw their guns and shoot at each other, these three gentlemen have come up with a rather more civilized approach.

Mr. White is the worst shot of the three and hits his target one time out of three. Mr. Brown is twice as good and hits his target two times out of three. Mr. Black is deadly. He never misses. Whomever he shoots at is a goner.

To even the odds a bit, Mr. White is given first shot. Mr. Brown is next, if he's still alive. He's followed by Mr. Black, if he's still alive.

They will continue shooting like this, in this order, until two of them are dead.

Here's the question: Mr. White is the first shooter. Remember, he's the worst shot. At whom should he aim his first shot to maximize his chances of surviving?

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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