1 Second Theory
Not really a theory, more of a bug in minesweeper. Other "bugs" pleople complain about are really flukes, like the timer jump. That's just bad design. But the 1 second theory/bug is a real bug in the game.
In August '01, I got my first 1 second time: a very fast board that just cleared itself*. I was thrilled and later I learned how rare and special the coveted 1 sec. beginner time is. Well, a few weeks later, I was happily sweeping along in beginner, when a magnificent board popped up. It looked pretty much cleared, but the timer wasn't stopped so I frantically searched for the uncleared square. I couldn't find that square and ended up clicking on a mine. Well, like most dead games, that mine appeared red and all the other mines were revealed, but there was something fishy. There were no uncleared squares. It was a 1 sec. board, by the fact that it should have cleared itself, but it didn't, leaving me with a dilemma. Here's a picture of my first 1 sec. board, and the buggy one together.
The first board took three clicks to complete. In my initial theory, I proposed that the bug occurs when you have already received a one-second board, like that had something to do with it. Now, after another person or two has experienced the bug and I have gathered some second and third opinions, I have to reformulate my hypothesis.
Jon Simonsen suggested that the bug might have something to do with the fact that your first click can never be a mine. Looking through his beginner screenshots, I noticed more than a few boards that were identical except one mine. The explanation for that is that one mine out of place happened to be the first square the player clicked on, so the mine was moved to another position.
*Now, my first one-second board was not a "true" one-second board; I had to make three clicks to clear it. As I mentioned before, this debunks my theory that a previous one-second board influences this bug. In my second one-second board, the mines are arranged indentically to my first game except one mine: presumably the one that was located on my first click of the game. Amazingly, this mine was moved to just the right position to make the board a perfect one-click beauty.
Jon suggested that the bug might arise from the fact that the mine was moved as I made the first click. A flaw in the basic programming might prevent the timer from stopping and the game from ending if the first-click mine is moved to make the board a one-click beauty.
The bug is not only prevalent in beginner, but I also experienced it on an intermediate-sized board with ten mines. The screenshot is below.
This bug does not affect many people, but there is currently a debate about whether these games affected by the one-second bug should be counted as 1's or as dead games. Most people would agree they should be counted as a 1. Others want to see evidence. For now, I have counted my buggy game as a 1 because it essentially was. I know Damien has had two of these buggy games and counts them both as 1's.
Seeing as minesweeper is a relatively unpopular game, it might be a while before this bug is figured out.