Sherlock Holmes,
Consulting Diplomat

by Graeme Ackland
Master Aenigmatist

Laying Out The Great Disarmament Conundrum

Back at Baker Street, Holmes lit a pipe and asked whether I had any pressing business that wanted attending. As it happened, my mother was slightly unwell, and I was pleased to take the chance to visit her.

When I returned, the sounds of Strauss echoed down the stairwell. I passed a tall stranger on the way out, who remarked in a heavily accented voice how welcome Holmes had made him. Holmes was standing by the window playing his violin, admiring the seven fleets on the Diplomacy board.

"I deduce that the disarmament problem is solved, Holmes. Though I cannot see how you did it."

"On the contrary, Watson. You have seen everything that is needed for the solution. You need only to organise the data, and the solution becomes apparent. What do you know about the Foreign Secretary's dilemma?"

"Well, naturally it is a Diplomacy problem," I began.

Holmes smiled.

"We need to find a set of 1901 moves that leaves all countries with the same number of fleets and armies at the start of 1902, and a subsequent set which leaves each holding no armies and exactly one fleet after 1902?"

"Precisely, Watson. And you will notice I have taken a little extra insurance in the cause of European peace."

-- Dr. John H. Watson

via Graeme Ackland
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