An Easier Match Puzzle

equation match puzzle.png

The above illustration depicts an invalid Roman numerals equation (the left side is 6 and the right side is 2) using seven matches. Find a way to correct this equation by only moving one match. You cannot shift the position of the other matches.

Solution (Click to Show)

equation match puzzle solution.png

As \sqrt{1} is equal to 1, the equation is now valid.

If you have read my previous post about Henry Ernest Dudeney’s ingenious match puzzle, you won’t have much problem answering this. After all, the methodologies for solving these two puzzles are almost the same.

Dudeney’s puzzle was my inspiration when I came up with the puzzle for this post. I believe that my puzzle is easier than Dudeney’s, though a friend did not agree. He said that my puzzle would only be easy for someone who’s already familiar with Dudeney’s version.

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

19 thoughts on “An Easier Match Puzzle

  1. monkey have other answer what little bit dodgy because it produce valid math sentence but not produce equality. move vertical match on left side so it lay across equal sign. new math sentence say “five not equal one.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Actually Mr Sock Monkey, your solution uses exactly the same mathematical language as the original puzzle, because, while it shows 6 equals 2, in order to read it correctly, you have to say, “6 does not equal 2”. I came up with the same answer you did, though technically it’s “five not equal to two” or alternatively “six not equal to one”. Much better than getting involved with square roots !

      Liked by 3 people

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