10 matchstick puzzles with answers
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10 matchstick puzzles with answers

10 matchstick puzzles with answers

Puzzles with matches are one of the most ancient types of logic exercises for both children and adults. The original version using bamboo sticks appeared in ancient China about 4 thousand years ago. The sense of these tasks is that you need to move one or more matches until a given condition is true. Let’s figure out the advantages of “matchstick puzzles”, what influence they have, what kinds they can be, and how to solve them.

What are matchstick puzzles good for?

Working with such puzzles develops a number of abilities such as:


The main feature of match puzzles is that the answer is usually not obvious. Moreover, sometimes at first glance, it seems that it is impossible to get the answer at all. You usually need at least a few minutes to think or even try to solve the task with a pencil. Such exercises are surely useful for “pumping” logic and spatial thinking.


Here, everything is obvious: figuring out what will happen if you move some of the matches, one trains the “center of imagination” in the brain.

Short-term memory

This is especially true for people who solve such tasks mentally, memorizing intermediate results.

Attention and patience

You can’t solve matchstick puzzles without focusing on them.

Decision-making ability

Here, everything is clear again as people with good logic and imagination are usually able to solve almost any problem, including non-standard ones.

Fine motor skills

This advantage is mostly important for children. Small precise movements with the use of hands and fingers develop the speech center, improve visual memory and physical coordination.


At first, one would never keep that in mind, though the correlation here is immediate. After solving a difficult problem, people start feeling more confident and don’t give in to difficulties anymore.

What are the advantages of such puzzles?


You don’t need to buy anything or even surf the Web as almost everyone has a matchbox at home. To solve such problems, you don’t need special conditions except for a flat surface.


“Matchbox puzzles” come in different difficulty levels, so they suit both adults and children.


While metal or 3D puzzles bought or purchased at the store eventually get bored and then kept on the shelves, since they are no longer good for anything, matches have a certain practical purpose. Still, they also can be reused for puzzles.

How to solve matchbox puzzles?

It is obvious that the solutions are different in each case, even though there are some common recommendations.

  1. The tip can often be found in the primary statement, so you need to read it very carefully. Analyze if there is some “double bottom” or catch.
  2. Get ready for a non-trivial solution; otherwise, the task would not be called a puzzle. Keep in mind that matches can be superimposed on one another by default (unless otherwise stated in the conditions), moved in any direction, and turned over.
  3. You can often see a task to shift just one match so that some figure or a certain number of figures is obtained. Don’t forget: several small shapes (for example, squares) can make up one big one.
  4. Do not hurry. Don’t try to get through the exercise faster. Go step by step. Hurrying won’t make it good for you.

10 challenging matchstick puzzles

Let’s look at examples of the main types of matchstick problems.


Puzzle #1

The first type of matchstick puzzle is one of the most popular. These are puzzles in which it is required to rearrange the matches to obtain the correct mathematical equality.

In each example, move one match to get the correct equality.

matchstick puzzle # 1


Puzzle #2

These equalities are slightly more complex as there are more terms here. The answer, as always, is not obvious at first sight.

In each example, move one match to get the correct equality.

matchstick puzzle # 2


Puzzle #3

There can be variations with Roman numerals. The example is given below.

In each example, move only one match to get the correct equality.

matchstick puzzle # 3


Puzzle #4

This type of puzzles suggests rearranging the matches to obtain a certain number of squares or triangles.

Move two matches to get five squares.

matchstick puzzle # 4


Puzzle #5

Move three matches to get eleven squares.

matchstick puzzle # 5

Obviously, the more matches you have to move, the more difficult the task is, although the solution often looks simple.

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Puzzle #6

Move six matches to get six equal diamonds.

matchstick puzzle # 6


Puzzle #7

Sometimes the authors of matchstick puzzles let us remove the matches, not to move them from one place to another. Just as at the picture below:

Remove five matches to get five equal triangles.

matchstick puzzle # 7


Puzzle #8

There are also more creative challenges. For example, this one: move two matches to make the animal in the picture look to the other side.

Move two matches to make the cow look to the right.

matchstick puzzle # 8


Puzzle #9

For the following example, it is not as easy as for the previous example.

Move three matches to make the fish look to the right.

matchstick puzzle # 9


Puzzle #10

One more version of the matchstick puzzle, in which you should determine by the figure’s shape from the side, which one corresponds to the top view.

matchstick puzzle # 10

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