# Forty thieves

Here is an easier version of the Five pirates puzzle.

## Puzzle

Forty thieves, all of different ages, steal a huge pile of identical gold coins. For whatever reason, they decide to divide the treasure according to the following procedure: The youngest divides the coins among the thieves however he wishes, then all 40 thieves vote on whether or not they are satisfied with the division. If at least half vote “Yes,” then the division is accepted. If a majority vote “No,” then the youngest is killed and the next youngest is allowed to divide the loot among the remaining 39. Again they all vote, with the same penalty if the majority votes “No,” and so on. Each of the thieves is logical and always acts in his (or her) own self-interest, ignoring the interest of the group, fairness, etc. How should the youngest of the forty thieves divide the treasure in order to keep as much as possible and stay alive?