The First Bimagic Queen's Tour |

## How the Search Began

On the 6th July 2020, enclosing notes written by Joachim Brügge, Awani Kumar sent an e-mail to our circle of magic square enthusiasts, asking whether a bimagic queen's tour might exist on an 8 x 8 or larger board, and invited us to "settle the question." I was intrigued by this interesting challenge, and after a first analysis of Joachim Brügge's approach, and exchanging e-mails with him, I decided to search for a solution.

## Some Important Definitions

A standard chess board is an 8 x 8 square grid upon which the queen can move any number of squares, either orthogonally, or along ± 1 / ± 1 diagonals. A queen's tour is a sequence of queen's moves in which she visits each of the 64 squares once. If the queen ends her tour on a square which is at a single queen's move from the starting square, the tour is closed; otherwise the queen's tour is open. Here it is useful to clarify the definition of a

*bimagic queen's tour*, which is*different to that of a bimagic square*: In chess literature, as confirmed by George Jellis, the term*magic*is commonly used for all tours in which the successively numbered positions of the chess piece in each rank and file add up to the same orthogonal total (the magic constant S1), and should the entries on the two long diagonals also add up to the same magic constant, the tour is deemed to be diagonally magic. (In fact, it is now known, thanks to the work of G. Stertenbrink, J-C. Meyrignac and H. Mackay, who have completed the list of all of the 140*magic knight tours*on an 8 x 8 board, that none of these have two long magic diagonals). Extending the above definition of a magic tour to that of a*bimagic*queen's tour, not only the successively numbered positions of the queen in each rank and file should add up to a same orthogonal total*(the magic constant S1)*, but also the*squared entries*of each rank and file should add up to an additional total which is*the bimagic constant S2*.
For a N x N board, when N = 8, the magic constant S1 = 260.

For a N x N board, when N = 8,

*the bimagic constant S2 = 11180*.
More information about how the magic and bimagic constants are calculated can be found in the website of Christian Boyer.

## The First Hypotheses

Before beginning the search for a solution to the bimagic queen's tour question, the following hypotheses were considered:

Firstly, it seemed logical to privilege diagonal queen moves that would be less likely to perturb the orthogonal bimagic series of the ranks and files.

Secondly, it seemed pertinent to make selections from the 240 immutable bimagic series of order-8; series named this way by Dwane Campbell, who identified and listed these some years ago. 192 of these series have the advantage of having a regular distribution, with each of their eight numbers coming from different eighths of the sequence 1 to 64.

Thirdly, it seemed probable that by using symmetric arrays of bimagic series, this would be beneficial for overall balance, and increase the chances of success.

## The First Trials and Observations

Although I was at first unable to find a complete bimagic queen's tour, testing the above hypotheses gradually produced encouraging results. On the 18th July I was able to write an e-mail to Joachim Brügge announcing that I had found several broken bimagic queen's tours, with 4, 3, and even 2 separate sequences.

In all of these broken tours, because of the characteristics of the bimagic series that were tested, the sequence breaks occurred precisely at certain junctions between the different quarters of N², and it was of utmost importance to find a regular sequence that could negotiate these obstacles with valid diagonal queen's moves.

Also during these early trials I noticed that when certain diagonal moves "exited" the board they "re-entered" it in cells that were no longer directly accessible to the queen. The following diagram shows how this occurs:

How certain diagonal moves break the queen's tour |

In order to improve the chances of success of a queen's tour, which was necessarily limited to the board, I realised it would be best to use ± N/2, ± N/2, i.e. ± 4, ± 4 diagonal queen's moves as illustrated below. The advantage of such moves was that when they "left" the board

*they always "re-entered" it in cells that the queen could once again access*, even if along an alternative diagonal.± N/2, ± N/2 diagonal moves never break the queen's tour |

In order to optimise the ``convergence" effect of these ± N/2, ± N/2 i.e. ± 4, ± 4 diagonals, they should be used once every two moves.

Despite the inconvenience of their spreading beyond the edges of the board, a large use of ± 2, ± 2 diagonal moves often produced complete, though irregular bimagic queen's tours, such as the one below, observed on the limitless surface of a semi-bimagic torus:

An open queen's tour on a torus board |

## The First Bimagic Queen's Tour

Finally, on the 23rd July 2020, after revising the selection of immutable bimagic series, the following method proved to be successful:

The tables below are

*doubly-symmetric*arrays of immutable bimagic series, specially created for the x and y coordinates of a suitable semi-bimagic torus. Arranged in groups of four, the eight colours that represent the x (file) and y (rank) coordinates can be freely attributed the values of 0 to 7:Tables of coordinates for the Bimagic Queen's Tour Torus |

However, to construct a bimagic tour we need a regular sequence that satisfies the ±1 / ±1 diagonal constraints of regular queen's moves, and in order to make the queen's tour "converge" on the board we need to use as many ± 4, ± 4 diagonals as we can; the optimum being once every two moves. Additionally, we need to check that the x and y coordinates selected for the first eight positions of the queen will also allow for regular diagonal transitions between each quarter of N² at the moves 16-17, 32-33 and 48-49... Once these verifications are complete we can then use the approved coordinates to plot the successive positions of the queen on the semi-bimagic torus shown below, starting with the first position 1 at coordinates (0x, 0y) in the lower left-hand corner:

The Semi-Bimagic Torus Before Translation |

When constructed, the semi-bimagic torus appears to only contain a broken tour; but after a translation of the 8 x 8 board viewpoint, as shown below, a complete open bimagic queen's tour is revealed:

The First Bimagic Queen's Tour |

Displaying beautiful symmetries, this is apparently not only the first bimagic queen's tour, but also the first-known bimagic tour of any chess piece!

In each rank and file, the orthogonal total of the successively numbered positions of the queen is the magic constant S1 = 260, and (as can be verified in the squared version below), the orthogonal total of the

*squares*of the successively numbered positions of the queen is the*bimagic constant*S2 = 11180.The Squared Bimagic Queen's Tour |

Observing the bimagic queen's tour path we can see the symmetries of the four orthogonal moves (8 - 9, 24 - 25, 40 - 41, and 56 - 57).

*Thirty-two out of the sixty-three queen's moves are**±4,**±4 diagonal*.The Bimagic Queen's Tour Path |

## Conclusion

It is probable that many other examples exist, and that these will include closed bimagic queen's tours. However, it is an open question as to whether or not a

For those who are interested, a PDF file of "A Bimagic Queen's Tour" can be downloaded here.

*diagonally*bimagic queen's tour can be found on an 8 x 8 board! *For those who are interested, a PDF file of "A Bimagic Queen's Tour" can be downloaded here.

** The answer to the open question has been given by Walter Trump on the 3rd August 2020. Please refer to the "Latest Development" below!*

##
Latest Development!

On the 3rd August 2020, Walter Trump was already able to answer the "open question" that I had formulated in my conclusion! He ran a computer check on the complete set of bimagic 8x8 squares that he had previously found with Francis Gaspalou. Walter found that

*on an 8x8 board there are no diagonally bimagic queen's tours*(or diagonally bimagic knight's tours for that matter, although it was already known that none of the 140 magic knight's tours were diagonally magic)*.*The longest possible queen's tour on a bimagic square of order-8 consists of 21 moves, as illustrated in his PDF file below:## Acknowledgements

I am indebted, not only to Awani Kumar, for initially bringing the subject to our attention and for his appeal for a solution, but also to Joachim Brügge, for having had the idea of a bimagic queen's tour in the first place, and for his kind encouragements during my research.

My thanks also go to Dwane Campbell, for publishing his findings on immutable bimagic series; series which proved so useful in the search for the bimagic queen's tour.

I am also most grateful to Francis Gaspalou, for editing and sending our circle of magic square enthusiasts an

*"Analysis of the 240 Immutable Series of order 8"*in 2018, and for sending me the full list of all 38 069 bimagic series of order-8 when I asked him for information about these in July this year.