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games in l’année dernière à marienbad

several times in the film, the characters play a game called nim (the first three stills), a game by two players. it consists of 16 matches in 4 rows. two players alternately pick a certain number of matches and the one who takes the last match loses—it would seem that the player who takes the first card/cards is bound to lose (hereyou can play it online and see for yourself). the game is said to have originated in china for it closely resembles the chinese game of “捡石子(picking stones)”, but the origin is uncertain; the earliest european references to nim are from the beginning of the 16th century. its current name was coined by charles bouton of harvard university. the name is probably derived from german verb nimm, meaning “take!”, or the obsolete english verb nim of the same meaning. 

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