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Move 6 matches to make 5 squares

Move 6 matches to make 5 squares matchstick puzzle

Move 6 matches to make 5 squares from the puzzle figure with each matchstick a side of a square.

move 6 matches to make 5 squares puzzle figure

Time to solve: 10 minutes.

Solution to the matchstick puzzle Move 6 matches to make 5 squares

You have 12 matches.

First and main questions is,

How can 5 squares be formed with 12 matches?

Let’s see the possibilities.

To form 5 independent squares you need 5 times 4, that is, 20 matchsticks. So to form 5 squares with 12 matches,

You must have 8 matchsticks common between at least two squares.

But that’s too large a number. It seems impossible to have 8 matchsticks as common sides out of 12 matches forming squares. But then how many maximum number of squares can be formed with 12 matches?

In other words, how many maximum number of common matchsticks can we have in 12 matches forming squares?

It simply is the most compact figure of 4 squares each adjacent to two squares. The following is the figure.

most compact 12 matches figure of squares

So that’s it. You can make only four squares with 12 matchsticks.

Have we missed any point? These puzzles finally always turn out to be right. So we must have missed something.

So you look at the above figure of 4 squares again.

Well, well, well. Nothing has been told about the size of the squares. There is actually a larger square formed by all the four squares. That makes 5 squares. So this is our target figure.

Half the battle won!

You now know for certain that from the puzzle figure on the left you have to make the target 5 square figure on the right in the schematic below. And you need to do that by moving 6 matches.

move 6 matches to make 5 squares initial to final figures

Solution to the matchstick puzzle move 6 matches to make 5 squares : How to identify the 6 matches to move

Realize that identifying 6 matches to move by trial and error will be a tedious and time-consuming process. This is not the best option. Instead, you must devise a systematic method to identify the 6 matches to move quickly and without any guess.

So you concentrate on the METHOD of doing the task rather that actually doing the task. This always is a good habit.

What do you have to do, actually? And what does it imply?

You think not only of what you have to do, but what else that means.

You have to move 6 matches, that means you have to keep 6 matches fixed and untouched. This is the IMPLICATION that is the key to the solution.

You just have to compare the initial puzzle figure and the final 5 square figure and IDENTIFY 6 MATCHES COMMON BETWEEN THE TWO FIGURES.

Two figures are shown below again, but with six matches colored red that are common between the two figures. These matches you cannot move.

move 6 matches to make 5 squares 6 matches to keep fixed

Simply move the rest 6 that are not colored.

In fact, moving 4 matches you could have formed the final figure. Just to make the puzzle a bit more difficult two more moves are added.

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