Puzzles

Black and White

carpenter chess problem

By George Edward Carpenter. White to mate in two moves.

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Separate Quarters

separate quarters puzzle

Nine wolves share a square enclosure at the zoo. Build two more square enclosures to give each wolf a pen of its own.

Nob’s Number Puzzle

nob's number puzzle

A conundrum by the late brilliant Japanese puzzle maven Nob Yoshigahara.

Lee Sallows writes, “You have to solve this yourself, otherwise you won’t see how beautiful it is.”

Black and White

petkovic chess problem

A cylindrical problem by Miodrag Petkovic: Imagine that the board is rolled into a cylinder, with the a-file adjoining the h-file. How can White mate in two moves?

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Black and White

griswold chess problem

By John Griswold White. White to mate in two moves.

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No Attraction

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kepler%27s_law_2_ru.svg

Kepler’s second law holds that a line segment connecting an orbiting planet to its sun sweeps out equal areas in equal periods of time: In the diagram above, if the time intervals t are equal, then so are the areas A.

If gravity were turned off, would this still be true?

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Black and White

loyd chess problem

By Sam Loyd. White to mate in two moves.

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Math Notes

Prove that log10 5 is irrational.

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Black and White

carpenter chess problem

By George Edward Carpenter. White to mate in two moves.

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The Suicidal King

Imagine a 1000 x 1000 chessboard on which a white king and 499 black rooks are placed at random such that no rook threatens the king. And suppose the king goes bonkers and wants to kill himself. Can he reach a threatened square in a finite number of moves if Black is trying actively to avoid this?

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Black and White

agnel chess problem

By Hyacinth R. Agnel. White to mate in two moves.

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Black and White

shinkman chess problem

By William Anthony Shinkman. White to mate in two moves.

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Trivium

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ed_state_map.gif

The names of two U.S. state capitals end with the same eight letters. What are they?

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Black and White

gold chess problem

By Sámuel Gold. White to mate in two moves.

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“Anglo-Foreign Words”

Walter Penney of Greenbelt, Md., offered this poser in the August 1969 issue of Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics. Below are five groups of English words. Each group appears also in a foreign language. What are the languages?

  1. aloud, angel, hark, inner, lover, room, taken, wig
  2. alas, atlas, into, manner, pore, tie, vain, valve
  3. ail, ballot, enter, four, lent, lit, mire, taller
  4. banjo, chosen, hippo, pure, same, share, tempo, tendon
  5. ago, cur, dare, fur, limes, mane, probe, undo
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Projective Chess

In projective geometry, every family of parallel straight lines intersects at an infinitely distant point. Chess problem composers in the former Yugoslavia have adapted this idea for the chessboard, adding four special squares “at infinity.”

projective chess 1

Now a queen on a bare board, for example, can zoom off to the west (or east) and reach a square “at infinity” from which she attacks every rank on the board simultaneously from both directions. She might also zoom to the north (or south) to reach a different square at infinity; from this one she attacks every file simultaneously, again from both directions. Finally she can zoom to the northwest or southeast and attack all the diagonals parallel to a8-h1, or zoom to the northeast or southwest and attack all the diagonals parallel to a1-h8. These four “infinity squares,” plus the regular board, make up the field of play.

N. Petrovic created the problem below, published in Matematika Na Shahmatnoi Doske. White is to play and mate in at least two moves. Can you find the solution?

projective chess 2

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Reunion

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MUTCD_W8-15P.svg

A Russian problem from the 1999 Mathematical Olympiad:

A father wants to take his two sons to visit their grandmother, who lives 33 kilometers away. His motorcycle will cover 25 kilometers per hour if he rides alone, but the speed drops to 20 kph if he carries one passenger, and he cannot carry two. Each brother walks at 5 kph. Can the three of them reach grandmother’s house in 3 hours?

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Black and White

http://www.yacpdb.org/?id=323530

By Ottmar Weiß. White to mate in two moves.

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Calendar Trouble

From Sam Loyd:

Two children, who were all tangled up in their reckoning of the days of the week, paused on their way to school to straighten matters out.

“When the day after tomorrow is yesterday,” said Priscilla, “then ‘today’ will be as far from Sunday as that day was which was ‘today’ when the day before yesterday was tomorrow!”

On which day of the week did this puzzling prattle occur?

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Crime Story

Six boys are accused of stealing apples. Exactly two are guilty. Which two? When the boys are questioned, Harry names Charlie and George, James names Donald and Tom, Donald names Tom and Charlie, George names Harry and Charlie, and Charlie names Donald and James. Tom can’t be found. Four of the boys who were questioned named one guilty boy correctly and one incorrectly, and the fifth lied outright. Who stole the apples?

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Playing With Food

A group of four missionaries are on one side of a river, and four cannibals are on the other side. The two groups would like to exchange places, but there’s only one rowboat, and it holds only three people, and only one missionary and one cannibal know how to row, and the cannibals will overpower the missionaries as soon as they outnumber them, either on land or in the boat. Can the crossing be accomplished?

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Black and White

loyd chess problem

By Sam Loyd. White to mate in two moves.

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Sweet Reason

A brainteaser by Chris Maslanka:

A packet of sugar retails for 90 cents. Each packet includes a voucher, and nine vouchers can be redeemed for a free packet. What is the value of the contents of one packet? (Ignore the cost of the packaging.)

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The Pill Scale (Part 2)

A variation on yesterday’s puzzle:

Suppose there are six bottles of pills, and more than one of them may contain defective pills that weigh 6 grams instead of 5. How can we identify the bad bottles with a single weighing?

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