An old classic this week.  Three triangles have been made of out three matches apiece…

Can you move just three matches and create exactly five triangles?

As ever, please do NOT post your solutions, but feel free to say if you think you have solved it and how long it took.  Answer on Monday.  Have a good weekend.  i shall spend most if it sleeping trying to get back into UK time!


  1. Yep job done, though I’m unable to tell you how long it took, as there was was rift in the space time continuum that was playing havoc with my watch while I was busy moving matchsticks around………

  2. about 30 seconds. although 20 of which were playing around with Win7’s MS Paint which I haven’t used before, trying to figure out how to make the selection transparent so I could test my solution properly.

  3. Yep, done almost instantanteously. Not sure if I’ve seen this exact puzzle before, but all these matchstick ones seem to use the same old tricks.

  4. Misread the puzzle and thought I was supposed to move only two matches; that took forever. As soon as I realized I was allowed to move three matches, i got it instantly. But then I’d probably processed the problem quite a bit.

    1. shame on you, had to rely on your daughter… 🙂
      (Just kidding… I saw your earlier entry)

  5. Very quick, probably because I have some brain training software on my phone including a matchstick exercise.

  6. I have A solution after about a minute, but it doesn’t feel like the answer that is probably expected.

  7. Got it in a couple of minutes. Was thinking too hard about it at first but then I let my brain drift out of focus (kind of like with your eyes looking at a magic eye picture) and then got it quickly.

  8. Saw this one immediately, and i guess that says something about what i spent many late nights on in front of the screen in my youth.

  9. Now, moving until 6 matches, how to get exactly 7 equal some-area triangles and no any other planar figure like lozenge et cetera. Should be easy too…

    1. easily done too 🙂 akin to ask them, are you going to tell the truth? 🙂 There is only one answer they’ll tell 🙂



  11. Well, I solved it in about 6 seconds, but then I spent the next minute trying to convince myself that there was no more complicated way of doing it. =P

  12. Hmmmm. About 2 minutes. I got 5 triangles moving two matchsticks, then 6 triangles using 3 matchsticks.

  13. Is 35-40 years BEFORE posting the puzzle a record time? (as it is a negative time) That’s when I learned this – from my Granny!

  14. Restricting myself to equilateral triangles, I’ve found a whole class of solutions that has so many variations, and some of which only need 2 matches to move, that it is becoming difficult deciding what is an essentially different solution. So far I’ve written down about 9, and can’t be bothered searching for more minor variations. I have several more solutions with at least 5 triangles, with up to 8 triangles.

  15. It took me over an hour. First, I had to go to the store because I was out of matches. Second….oh, never mind, I’m not supposed to tell how I did it anyway.

  16. i found out how to work from your laptop at home or anywhere! i was getting scammed like a mutha f-errrr and this Dude name Gospel Jackson helped me out . if you don’t want to spend lot’s of money and get lot’s of money just sitting home in you sleep wear then go here

    i’m serious he will help you make money .. you can call him yourself everyday if you have too!

  17. For some reason I thought we were only supposed to move 2. Weird.

    Moving 3 matches it’s easy to make 9 triangles, and easy to make 5, and then from a slight modification to the latter it’s possible to get it with 2 as well (but then there is a leftover match just lying around). Heh.

  18. I showed this puzzle to my 4th grader just last week! These kinds of puzzles are fun for kids, and I’d love to see more like this—makes me look so cool in my kids’ eyes.

  19. AW CRAP. I was mentally puzzling this out for hours, and then I re-read it and saw I could move three toothpicks—I thought it was only two.

    After re-reading, I immediately got a solution.

  20. It’s so easy I tried to elaborate a little more: I can get six equilateral triangles. If you do not restrict yourself to equilaterals, then I got seven.

  21. Man, I hate the snap preview! Anybody else? Wiseman, could you consider removing it? Other than that, I like your blog.

  22. I solved this one in less than 10 seconds. Does it count if I’ve seen it before (albeit not any time recently)? I couldn’t figure it out the first time I saw it, but I was a little kid back then. 🙂

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