Albert Frank (founder)
was born in 1943 somewhere on the hidden face of the moon;-)
Unfortunately, it could not become a Ph.D. because it was obligatory to have
other diplomas in the same field, and I was only an autodidact in psychology, as
the mathematician of the faculty of psychology of the national University of Zaïre.
March 2000, I took the initiative to invite in Brussels several "top IQ
people", including Nik Lygeros and Philippe Jacqueroux. It was a fantastic
meeting. After that, there where several meetings in Paris, Seattle, Sao Paulo
all of these meetings, the great thing
was the communication among the
participants. I think I was very lucky to meet so many great human people.
Several became big friends. A direct communication is totally different from an
have written about 50 articles, and NATAN, a book in connection with
favourite authors: Einstein, Kafka, Stapledon, Hofstadter.
favourite films: Citizen Kane, Cabaret, Les enfants du paradis.
Particularity: I have no television;-)
"Everybody does it" is not a reason for doing it.
Peter Bentley (co-founder )
It all began with the classic 12 coin (or 12 ball) puzzle - I am sure you know it : one coin/ ball is a little bit heavier or lighter than all the others, and you have to find that coin/ ball and whether it is lighter or heavier with three weighings on a balance . A Chinese friend gave me this puzzle several years ago and after several hours I decided it was impossible to solve and so I asked for the solution. I was SO ANNOYED when I saw how beautiful the solution was that I decided to start finding other similar “beautiful” puzzles to share with my Chinese friends I should explain that I have lived in HK since 1981 and I work mostly in China The only restriction I set myself was that all the puzzles should be based on PURE LOGIC : that means no special knowledge of English or western history/ culture (nor even Roman numbers like IV = 4 ) should ever be required. The puzzles should be equally easy (difficult) to solve for anyone who can read and write basic English. Also no advanced maths knowledge should be needed. However this was in the days before I started to use the internet so I soon ran out of puzzles. I therefore placed an advert in Mensa Intl. to find others interested in exchanging puzzles, and among the replies I got was one from Albert, attaching a selection of his wonderful puzzles collected and written by him over the years.
This started what will surely be a lifetime friendship with Albert, and led on to us starting (or rather RE- starting) Ludomind. I confess I have taken the back seat and that Albert has done – and still does do - 99% of the work, the reason being that I am not retired like Albert, so I spend most of my time traveling in China where I sell specialist vacuum instruments : mostly leak detectors to refrigerator and air –conditioner companies, but more recently also the world’s first and still the world’s only PORTABLE GC/MS ( and if you know how big, heavy and fragile a GC/MS is it’s worth setting a puzzle just to answer how it can be made portable!) .
A high point in the relationship between Albert and me was doing the Sigma Test which Albert introduced to me. I am not a great fan of IQ tests , most of which seem deadly boring . I only just managed to get into UK Mensa about 30 years ago by scoring the minimum IQ for admission (if I recall correctly it was 148 on the Cattell scale ) in a timed examination test set by Mensa in London , and that was only achieved by buying several Mensa test papers and learning the methodology of their test questions. So my IQ must be pretty low by Mensa standards - or at least Mensa test methods. However the Sigma Test is something completely different First: the questions near the end are so interesting that they almost demand to be attempted . Secondly there is no time limit, and I always achieve better results when I am not under time pressure. The questions in the middle about lines , triangles etc seemed rather difficult and very boring, so I didn’t bother to try them until one day I got a badly infected finger and had to go to hospital for 3 days of continuous intravenous antibiotics. I HATE HOSPITALS AND NEEDLES……… so I distracted myself by working non stop on all the middle questions in the Sigma Test and thinking more about the later questions, especially Joao and the egg. On coming out of hospital I found 2 completely original solutions to the egg question that even Melao didn’t know were possible, and were not precluded by the rules as set at that time. So Melao (via Petri Widsten with whom I was corresponding in English) gave me another chance and in doing so tightened up the rules of the question to prohibit my original 2 solutions. Eventually - I am happy to say - I did find the perfect solution . I never solved Q35 - the one about the aliens (only Petri ever solved that and it seems no-one except he and Melao know the answer !). But all that work on the Sigma Test took me WEEKS, which proves that perseverance goes a long way, even if one’s IQ is not so high . I do have a D. Phil. (= Ph. D) in low temperature vacuum engineering from Oxford University, but when people commend me on it I simply say that there are only two qualifications to get a D. Phil : “to be stupid enough to start and to be determined enough to finish : intelligence has nothing to do with it” - which is true ! Even now on Ludomind, I take on average 5 - 10 x longer to solve puzzles than super solvers like Philippe, Albert, Edward, Luis and others. But the time spent working on the solutions is so enjoyable that my time spent on aircrafts and in taxis in China is pure joy.
To my mind, the two great things about Ludomind are that:
1. The puzzles are indeed truly pure and beautiful!
2. The group is very small and friendly so that we are able to correspond with the puzzle authors to get hints and discuss puzzles privately. This means we never are faced with the dilemma which my Chinese friend’s 12 coin/ball puzzle gave me all those years ago : “ Do you want the solution ? Here it is - take it or leave it !” If you look at the solution you can never have the fun of solving the puzzle yourself again , and if you don’t look at it you will never know the answer.
It is possible for everyone on Ludomind to discuss and get hints from the author until one finally has the satisfaction of finding the solution oneself, hoverer long it takes. I had great fun exchanging emails with Philippe on the “Sultan of Brunei” puzzle and also with Albert on his recent chess puzzle (1/2006) until I finally got the solutions. If I had not been able to discuss with them I could never have found the real solutions, and if the only alternative to giving up was to look up the solution on the website (like so many other puzzle websites) I would be SO ANNOYED at myself for not continuing to try until I did find the solution ………..which takes me back to the beginning and the 12 coin/ball puzzle. Just for the record, I did finally solve this puzzle on my own because Philippe extended it to 13 coins (not balls - that’s a small hint ! ) and in solving this extended puzzle . I found the beautiful “general” solution to the 12 coin/ball puzzle ( It turns out that this puzzle is well-documented on the web. There are 3 solutions : 2 are “consequential” i.e. the each weighing depends on the result of the previous one, and the 3rd is the “general” solution where the 3 weighings can be done in random order. My Chinese friend only showed me one of the 2 “ consequential” solutions . )
Well that’s all about me! There’s not much more to add. I was born in 1948, educated in UK (Bristol and Oxford) and I have lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1981 . I speak German and Chinese. My wife is Chinese (we met at Oxford University ) and judging by how fast she answered a Mensa test paper which I was studying in preparation for the London Mensa exam all those years ago her IQ must be >180 Many of the Mensa questions require good knowledge of English and English is her SECOND language ! We have no children , but we do have 8 persian cats, one of which has an IQ of at least 190 on the Bentley CatTail scale : the most intelligent cat I have ever known Incidentally, and curiously - he is a midget cat : half the size of all the others. So far I have not taught him to play chess but I am working on it. He prefers to knock the pieces off the board one at a time rather than move them around……
LokLok - a cat with IQ200 on the CatTail scale
Guilherme Marques dos Santos Silva (member and webmaster )
Guilherme was born in 1973 in Brazil.
His interests are various: mathematics and physics, aviation, paragliding, civil engineering, education, puzzles.
He graduated in civil engineering and math, and now teaches math and works in projects regarding algorithms.
He developed an algorithm
to calculate optimized routes, which drastically reduces processing time, and
will probably soon be used as part of the controlling system of integrated
transportation (trains, buses, cars and pedestrians) in Holland.
In July, 2004, he was the winner of the Fourth International Contest of Logical Problems, from Ludomind.
Chessmaster, holder of two World Records in Chess.
Teacher and Analyst of Chess.
Author of The Sigma Test,Sigma Test VI.
Author of many articles-papers about Chess, Mathematics, Psychometrics.
Founder of Unicorn High IQ Society.
Founder of Sigma V, Sigma IV, Sigma III, Sigma.
Honorary Member of HIQH, Life Member of IHIQS, PARS Honorary.