Pelmanism, also known as “Memory” or “Pairs”, is this simple (in terms of its rules) game where the goal is to find all matching pairs in a deck of face-down cards. Details can be found here. A pair of guys are currently playing it in the Churchill College Bar.

Given all their geeky talk, they must be either compscis (“computer scientists” in the local language), mathmos (mathematicians) or at least natscis (natural scientists). But they don’t seem to play Pelmanism rationally.

Personally, I always disliked this game as I have a horribly poor memory. But at least I’m aware that “maximal curiosity ” is not the best strategy. Concretely, on the second move, if you don’t remember a card matching the first card already turned over, you should *not* turn over a new card, as this potentially reveals information to the opponent. This is pretty obvious and even described in the Wikipedia article.

However, to their honor, I must admit that they came up with a new variant (new at least to me), where every card has a different face value. So a pair of 10’s counts ten points, but a pair of 2’s only counts two points.