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You should look at the basics of AI and various search algorithms.

The first priority would be to quickly pick up the vocabulary: what is a state, what is a utility function and so on.

I recently took a class on AI and we used the (rather popular) Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Russell and Norvig [1]. I didn't actually read the book, but I've heard good things about it so it's definitely worth a look.

[1]: http://aima.cs.berkeley.edu/

All the lectures for the course are available online as well[2]. The professor my semester (Dan Klein) was a brilliant lecturer, so the lectures are worth watching if you have the time. The lecture notes[3] are also online.

[2]: http://webcast.berkeley.edu/playlist#c,d,Computer_Science,9C...

[3]: http://inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs188/fa11/lectures.html

Of course, if you want to participate in this game, you are doubtless in a hurry. So you might want to skim through lectures 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11 in roughly that order--they seem to be the most pertinent.

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