Say that the only point-scoring events in a football game are field goals (3 points) and touchdowns with one-point conversions (7 points). Some point totals cannot be scored in such a game — for instance, 1, 2, and 4. What is the highest integer point total that cannot be scored using just 3-pointers and 7-pointers?
Now say that we exclude field goals, but allow touchdowns with missed-conversions, so the only point-scoring events are 6 points and 7 points. What is the highest point total that cannot be scored using just 6-pointers and 7-pointers?
And now let’s generalize. Say that there are two point-scoring events, one which yields a points and one which yields b points. If a and b have a common divisor, then of course there are an infinite number of positive integer point totals that can’t be scored; for instance, if all you have is 4-pointers and 6-pointers, then all the scores will be even, and any odd score will be unachievable. So let’s assume a and b are relatively prime, which is to say that they don’t have any common divisors. What is the highest point total that cannot be scored using just a-pointers and b-pointers?
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Nick, I now know this is the Frobenius coin problem.