School-Safe Puzzle Games

Good Wooden Match Mind Bender

Here’s a very good classic brain bender that requires a dose of lateral thinking. Having a box of matches on hand will definitely help you work it through.

Step 1: First form three squares with twelve matches.

Step 2: Then take one away, alter the position of two, and leave only one.

Can you do it?

 

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9 Comments to “Good Wooden Match Mind Bender”


  1. bob | Guest

    The second line is pretty confusing, take what away (match or square) and leave behind what (a match or a square).


  2. RLP | Profile

    Hi Bob,


    You’re right, could use some clarification


    for Step 2: Take one (match) away, alter the position of two(matches)



    hope this doesn’t give too much away, but the puzzle is more of a riddle than full blown logic problem


  3. jason | Guest

    wouldnt you just pick them all up and just leave one?


  4. jason | Guest

    unless you mean turning the one n the middle and one on the end to make the word “one”


  5. Sorin | Guest

    This probably isn’t what it means but here’s my idea.


    Make 3 mathematical squares 1, 4 and 9


    _
    | |_| |_|
    | | |


    Take one match away from the 1 (remove one) and move it to the bottom of the 4 horizontally and then take on from the 4 to make the 4 into a 3 (alter 2). Now your left with 3 and 9, and only one of them is a square.


  6. Carl | Guest

    Make three separate, “square shaped” boxes in a row using four matches each. Next, remove the bottom match from the “middle” square. Alter the top match of the middle square to face diagonally down in the shape of an “N”. Alter the right side match of the box on the right to make the letter
    “E”. You started with three squares, and you’re left with “O” “N” “E”.


  7. RLP | Profile

    Carl’s explanation is the ‘official’ one.


    Sorin- not sure your diagram saved and showed up the way you wanted it to, but your answer is right too, with very good lateral thinking. Hadn’t thought of it that way.


  8. Carl | Guest

    Dr. Kaplan, I gotta say that if you hadn’t have said that this was “more of a riddle…”, it would have taken me a little longer to figure it out. Also, Sorin’s answer is pretty cool; got me to thinking more laterally.
    On a side note, I thought of another method that will work using a bit of Sorin’s thinking:
    Make the mathematical squares 9, 1, 4 in that order. Remove the match from the upper right of the 9 to where it is now a 5. Then alter the middle two matches into the shape of a plus sign. This makes 5 + 4 which of course is the number 9 (a mathematical square).


  9. RK | Profile

    Nice, Carl. Kind of reminds me of the SATs back in high school; I remember there was quite a bit of controversy when a couple of student math geniuses wrote in describing how there was more than one ‘correct’ answer for some of the diffiuclt math questions. Turned out they were right!


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