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Extended essay in tic tac toe

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I have decided to do my extended essay on math, specifically tic tac toe and variants of the game (for example using larger 4x4 or 5x5 boards, playing in 3D with a 3x3x3 board, etc.) I want my essay to include a proof that the basic game of tic tac toe cannot be won if both players play with optimal strategy. However, as this has obviously already been proved before by others, will this weaken my essay? In addition, if my proof happens to use the same method as someone else’s, but I never saw their proof and wrote mine on my own, will I risk being accused of plagiarism?

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The problem I have with proof of tic tac toe is that it has to, at some level, be enlightening. Because if you just list all the possible moves (proof by exhaustion) then the proof does not use any math topics at all. You can search up a sample IA on minesweeper and you'll see what I mean. At the minimum, you should demonstrate why your proof is mathematically interesting, at least at an HL core level.

For example, and I am not saying I know how, but if you transfer this to a topology or group theory problem and definitely it would then be beyond HL.

I dont think accidental plagiarism should be concern by anyone.

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Agreed. The minesweeper IA is kind of a meme where I come from, you have to use actual concepts that IB wants you to learn (most of the time). A good jumping-off point (at least for me) was looking at the outline of the topics that are on the IB syllabus. They are:

and the options (HL) are:


Also your concern about plagiarism is unwarranted. Lots of "math olympiad" EEs exist that solve a famous puzzle or problem. Two of the best are the Alhazen's Billiard Problem and the Weed Field.


Minesweeper Rubric.pdf

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