Lee Morgenstern, Biographical sketch.
by Christian Boyer, June 1st, 2020

 Lee Morgenstern (1949-) at the wheel, winning this Mercedes in 1989
(photo Los Angeles Times, 1989)

Lee was born March 10, 1949. He lives in Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA. Previously he lived in Sylmar, Northridge, Newhall, San Fernando: always Los Angeles!

He has a very active interest in magic squares, as confirmed by his NUMEROUS researches and nice results regularly added to this website since 2006, you can click on each cell:

Some miscellanea on Lee Morgenstern:

    Scale ready PMS formulas


    In this Catalog of Copyright Entries, 1971: Clifford Morgenstern and Lee Morgenstern, Sylmar, CA.

    PMS = Pantone Matching System

(images https://archive.org/)

    Papers in 80micro, the magazine for TRS-80 users

    Lee Morgenstern published papers in this magazine, including codes in assembly langage:

    • 1983 Special Anniversary Issue, "Dual-Voice Music Synthesizer, those of you who are bored with your computer playing only one note at a time can learn how to get multiple notes through software", PDF file (2.64Mb) including his full paper
    • August 1983, "Maxwell's Demon, hot and cold molecules don't mix in this game based on a hypothesis in physics", PDF file (2.58Mb) including his full paper

March 12, 1989

March 12, 1989

    Top winner, Tangle Towns USA puzzle game, Los Angeles Times, 1988-89

    Lee solves puzzles as a hobby. He is a winner of some of Frank Rubin's contests at www.contestcen.com, and has solved some of Rubin's harder puzzles. And he is the top winner of a puzzle game organized by the Los Angeles Times in 1988-89.

    < Los Angeles Times, March 12, 1989:

    "Lee Morgenstern, a puzzle-solving whiz from Sylmar, is the top winner in the Tangle Towns USA puzzle game. His puzzle victory earned him the first cash prize of $25,000 plus the first Bonus Prize, a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 260E Sedan. Morgenstern finished first in a playoff of top contestants to achieve his first place win. He also compiled the top score of 5,275 points on the Tie-Breaking Puzzle published Dec. 9, 1988."

Nov. 18, 1988

Nov. 19, 1988

Dec. 9, 1988

Dec. 9, 1988

Dec. 13, 1988

    < The beginning of the Tangle Towns USA puzzle game, in Los Angeles Times, November 18 and 19, 1988.

    < The tie-breaking puzzle published December 9, 1988, with a notice published four days later.



(images Los Angeles Times, 1988-1989)

(images https://archive.org/)


    Lee is the author of this jigsaw puzzle (game described in Wikipedia), released in 1993: https://www.mobygames.com/game/flixmix

    Electronic Games magazine, December 1993:

    "FlixMix is extremely innovative approach to the electronic puzzle genre that will be sure to keep you guessing"

Virtual Pool 1 (image by Abandonware DOS)

    Knight Domination

    Lee Morgenstern studied "Knight Domination", the knight covering problem, as proved by this image of his old website http://home.earthlink.net/~morgenstern no longer available, but partially saved by the Wayback machine.

    Frank Rubin at www.contestcen.com/knight.htm:

    "The problem is to place the smallest number of knights so that every square on the board is covered. That is, every square on the board is either occupied by a knight or attacked by a knight. (...)
    As of August 2005, the solutions for boards up through 20x20 have been verified as optimal by
    Lee Morgenstern using exact methods. He has also developed optimality proofs for square boards up to 13x13, and for several rectangular boards."

Lee Morgenstern, by Lee Morgenstern

I'm really a backgammon hustler from the 1970's.
Today, I'm a computational number theory hustler.
If I become too well-known, it ruins the odds.
In the future, I plan to be a Yahoo! Group Internet Troll.

Lee Morgenstern
February 25, 2017

Lee Morgenstern, by Frank Rubin

Lee has told me many things about himself. He was a mathematician, as you said, but also a stage magician, a professional card dealer, and a game developer. He made his fortune by developing a pool/billiards computer game that was a bestseller for about 10 years. Unlike earlier games, which merely followed the angles of caroms, his math let the ball have topspin and backspin, which made a more realistic and skilled game.

I first encountered Lee when he began entering my puzzle contests. He was supremely skilled, and won or tied every time he entered. He and I held some private contests for much higher stakes, sometimes with one or two other ultra-skilled and very self-confident players.

I think I introduced him to the knight covering problem. He soon began matching or beating my results for every size of chessboard except 40x40, which is why his website showed coverings for every board up to 50x50 except for 40x40. Lee could not acknowledge any defeat, hence 40x40 simply did not exist for him. He would send me his results, and I would write them up to publish in Journal of Recreational Math. He refused to accept joint authorship, or even acknowledgments, so I had to use the ruse of saying "Private communications" in the references. The bad news was that the publisher lost the paper, but would not admit to it, so Lee's brilliant insight never made it to print.

We also competed on magic squares for a while, until I started to pursue ABC Triples, and we diverged.

We also shared an interest in cryptography. He is the only person who ever solved my Box Corner cipher. (I gave him one hint:  I told him that he would be able to solve it because he had been a stage magician. That was all he needed.)


The reason Lee was so upset about the 40x40 knight covering problem was not that I had beaten him. He was always ready to acknowledge the accomplishments of others. The issue was that he had made a mistake that caused him to overlook some possible positions. He had no tolerance for his own mistakes.

Perhaps the most outrageous thing Lee ever told me was that he was a "brain-enhanced space-dweller from the year 5706." When I pressed him for an explanation of this, he said that evolution has enhanced the brains of our species, that he lives on Earth, which is located in space, and that he was born in the Hebrew year 5706. [I'm not sure if that was the exact year, but close.]

The most outrageous solution Lee ever proposed to one of my puzzles was a puzzle where you were supposed to draw a straight line through an arrangement of dots. The intended solution was to wrap the paper around a cylinder. Lee's solution was to hold the pencil motionless and move the universe.

Frank Rubin, http://contestcen.com/
February 24, 2017 + May 27, 2020.

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