Tic Tac Toe (2)
Miriam asked Robby to play with her this afternoon, offering “Sorry,” “Raggedy Ann” and “Chinese Checkers.” All were refused. Robby finally agreed to playing TIC TAC TOE. I asked the children to come sit in the reading alcove. They did so while I got out my tape recorder.
Two games were played before I could get a cassette in the recorder. In game 1, Robby went first [let the letters be his moves, the numbers for Miriam], and quickly won with his computer beating gambit:
B | 3 | C ----------- | 1 | D ----------- 2 | A |
Miriam should go first after being defeated, but she asked Robby to go first. He told her she must go first. I asked why she did not want to go first. Miriam: “I’m afraid he will take the place I want to go. I won’t get two ways to win.” This game was played when Miriam went first:
A | 3 | B ---------- | 1 | D ---------- 4 | C | 2
Robby again having the initiative. This game was played and the following dialogue was offered in explanation when I asked an unhappy Miriam how she lost:
B | | 2 ---------- | C | ---------- 1 | | A
Miriam I put my X over there (move 2) Robby She thought she could stop me from getting two ways to win, but I did that (move C in center square) because I already had one way to win. Miriam ‘Cause I even saw that. Bob Oh. You were trying to stop him from getting two ways to win. Robby Yeah. But I did something else. O.K. Your turn to go first. Miriam Are you going to block me? (i.e. put a counter in the diagonally opposite corner) Robby No. Miriam (puts an X in one corner) Robby (puts his the the diagonal corner) Miriam (shifting her piece to the common row corner) Robby You took your hand off it! (outrage) Miriam Liar, liar, your pants are on fire, your nose is as big as a telephone wire. Robby Quiet! (Robby moves to the other diagonal corner) Bob Miriam, please cut that out. What is all this switching and changing? Robby You can’t do that. Miriam He promised he wouldn’t go there. Robby I didn’t promise. Miriam You did! Bob I think if you can’t play nicely together, you shouldn’t play together, you shouldn’t play together. Miriam (moves her piece again) Robby Miriam! (a shriek) Bob Robby, leave the room. Miriam, put the toys away.
I believe this vignette confirms the data of number 5 (while Miriam is with another player) by showing the same concreteness and vulnerability to conflicting objectives. What is most striking is that while Miriam tries to negotiate a victory using an effective but vulnerable gambit, she utterly fails to adopt Robby’s counter-measure for her own defense against the same attack.
The conclusion of this squabble is that when Miriam wants to play TIC TAC TOE she will play with me instead of Robby.