Asked by: Anonymous
The answer to this one might seem obvious: aim for the highest-scoring part of the board, which is the treble 20. But this strategy works well for professionals only because they’re deadly accurate. In particular, they’re far less likely than the rest of us to miss the 20 altogether, and end up in the 5 or the 1 lying to either side. The question of the optimal place for duffers to aim has now been thoroughly investigated by a team of researchers led by statistician Dr Ryan Tibshirani at Stanford University, California, and they’ve come up with some surprising results. First, many of us would be better off simply trying to hit the dartboard anywhere rather than trying for the treble 20. A dart thrown completely at random at the board typically scores around 12, which is better than a lot of beginners manage by aiming at the 20s. But according to Dr Tibshirani and his colleagues it’s possible to do a bit better than this. Total duffers should aim slightly to the left of the bullseye, near the point where the 8 and 16 meet, while moderate players should aim for triple 19.
Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.