Matchstick puzzles are a set of visual puzzles that require you to re-arrange an arrangement of matchsticks into some new formation. The re-arrangement is bound by certain rules or limits and (usually) requires some lateral thinking to arrive at the solution.
When I was a teenager, my uncle, who was visiting us from France at the time, introduced me to my first matchstick puzzle. Having heard of my love of puzzles, he was keen to keep me (and himself!) entertained. At a family barbecue he pulled out a pack of toothpicks (not enough matches around!) and arranged 15 of them like so:
(click the picture for a larger view)
He then asked me to remove three matches & what should remain is three squares. Remove three matches. No more, no less.
It took me roughly 15 minutes of off and on experimentation before I arrived at the solution. Try it yourself!
If you get stuck, click here for the solution.
If you liked that one, try the following three matchstick puzzles. They are among my personal favorites and can all be found in Martin Gardner’s “The Colossal Book of Short Puzzles and Problems”
Move one match to form a square
Move three matches and make the fish face the opposite direction
Move one match and make the giraffe face right instead of left