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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!

TODAY’S Q: 

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.

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All answers will be published on TheJournal.ie on Sunday. 

Try some of the previous puzzles > 

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