3BV - What does that mean and what can I use it for?

3BV is a shortcut for "Bechtel's Board Benchmark Value". The name was invented by Benny Benjamin.
It is just the method that I (Stephan Bechtel) use to check out fast boards.
3BV shows the optimal number of clicks for non-flagging style. But it should be even an acceptable indicator for other playing styles.

I'm counting like that:
- 1 click for each possible opening
- 1 click for each number square that is not border of any opening

On the right, you can see an example with a 3BV of 13 (for beginner, but the method is valid for all levels, of course):
3BV example

It should be noted that a low 3BV only indicates a possible fast board. My own empirical analysis shows that obviously, there is a possible correlation between low 3BV boards and fast boards. Indeed, there are both boards with low 3BVs, but complexe mine arrangements that make fast times impossible, and boards with high 3BVs but an arrangement of mines that is easy to clear.
As an example, I'll show two boards I finished in 20 seconds, one (on the left) with a 3BV of 38, the other one (on the right) with a 3BV of 72.

Benny Benjamin and Yoni Roll wrote a "Minesweeper Board Reader" program that analyzes screenshot files and, besides additional information, gives 3BV for the board as a result. It can be downloaded at our yahoo group. Sorin Manea developed a recorder that record games, and, on a special GUI, provides information on the number of clicks made and as well as on the 3BV.

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