We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Imagine much bigger versions of these guys DPA/PA Images
Moving Pieces

Maths Week: Your Thursday puzzle

Figure it out.

IT’S MATHS WEEK, and as is our annual tradition here, we’re setting you a puzzle a day with all answers published on the site on Sunday. 

Get puzzling!


There are a lot of ancient puzzles related to chessboards and chess pieces. Here is a variation on an old puzzle which involved two white and two black knights.

The lion tamer arrives back from hospital to the circus to find that his two lions are in the two tiger cages and the two tigers are in the lion cages. He must swap the animals around, but sobered by his recent mauling he doesn’t want to take any chances.

He has 8 cages in all (arranged according to the diagram) and he has a strong rigid steel mesh tunnel available. The problem is that the cages are arranged so that the tunnel will only connect middle cages to corner cages.

What is the shortest number of steps that it can take to get the animals into the correct cages? Of course, no two animals may meet. It may be enjoyable to tackle this one by drawing out the scheme of the cages and using pairs of coins to represent the animals. Or indeed, if you have a chess set you could do it with knights.


All answers will be published on on Sunday. 

Try some of the previous puzzles > 

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel