Enigma 386: Triangle of stones
27 February 2017
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From New Scientist #1535, 20th November 1986 [link]
I emerged from the impenetrable jungle into a clearing, at the centre of which were 21 stones laid on the ground to form a triangle.
Just then, three native girls approached the stones; each wore a coloured sarong, one red, one blue, one white. They painted the six stones in the bottom row, white, white, blue, blue, red, red, in that order from left to right, and placed a coconut on the single stone in the top row. My guide explained that this was a traditional game. The girls would go and turn in the order red, white, blue, red, white. At each turn the girl would move the coconut to a stone which touched the coconut’s present stone and which was on a lower row. The game ended when the coconut reached the bottom row, and the colour of its final stone indicate the winner.
My guide knew the girls and said that if red could not win she would try to help white to win, similarly white would help blue and blue would help red: all the girls knew this.
After the game they exchanged the colours on two of the stones and played again. Blue won the second game.
Who won the first game and what was the row of colours for the second game?