Matchstick Puzzles – Move the Sticks

The typical matchstick puzzles or stick puzzles usually come in two variants.

Task types: Correcting mathematical equations

Numbers and arithmetic operations are presented in an equation, but it is not mathematically correct. Both sides of the equation don’t fit. Your task is to correct the equation by moving, removing or adding a specified number of sticks.

The difficulty of the puzzles varies with the number of matchsticks used in the puzzle and the amount of numbers and operators. The more elements there are, the harder the task is usually. But problems with few elements could also be very tricky if the structure of the calculation has to be changed for the solution. For example: Digits or operators disappear completely or have to be newly introduced.

Solving the exercises

To solve the task, it is not always entirely clear what options there are for moving the chopsticks. For example, it is possible to create the digits 9 and 6 with 5 or 6 elements, respectively.

For this reason, the team of always give a hint how all digits and operators should look in the font made of sticks.

The match stick font

In order to make our tasks solvable in one unique way, we use a uniform stick font. This applies to all problems with matches or chopsticks, unless otherwise required in the problem.

The matchstick font used in our math exercises with matchstick puzzles
The matchstick font used in our math exercises with matchstick puzzles.

Type of tasks: Transforming geometric figures

A figure is shown with sticks and a goal (another figure or arrangement) can be reached by moving it. The number of sticks is usually given. You usually have to think outside the box when doing these tasks.

Example of a task with geometric figures

Five squares (four small and one large) can be seen in the shown image.
Move four sticks to make a shape with two squares and four triangles.

Sample Matchstick Puzzle
Sample Matchstick Puzzle
Solution for the Matchstick Puzzle

A good start is to move the inner sticks. There are two solutions to see here:

solutions for the Matchstick puzzle
First two solutions for the Matchstick puzzle. Try to find more solutions…

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