Friday, June 22, 2012

A Matches Puzzle

This puzzle arrived via email from one of the fans. Can you move just one match to make this statement correct? There is more than one solution.

How can you answer? You can describe in words which match should be moved where to create what digit or sign. You can draw and email it directly to me. Unfortunately the blogger interface will not allow you to post images in the comments.
Good luck!

Your answers are accepted any time until midnight Eastern Time on Sunday, on our Family Puzzle Marathon.   


Jerome said...

Take the lower left vertical match from the eight on the left hand side.

Place the same match in the middle of the zero so that there are 3 horizontal matches making up the the new digit on the right. The digit on the right becomes and 8.

Result: 9 + 3 - 4 = 8

Anonymous said...

Frances St John Rouse commented on The Math Mom's post on Facebook.
Frances wrote: "Move the horizontal match from the four and place it vertically under the leftmost vertical match of the four to make an eleven. 8+3-11=0."

Wang said...

you can remove a match from the 8 forming a 9 (the bottom, left vertical match) and then place that match in the middle of the zero making an 8.

9 + 3 - 4 = 8

Annie said...

Remove the top right match from the "8" making it now a "6" and put it on the top of the "4" making it a "9". It should now read " 6 + 3 - 9 = 0.

Anonymous said...

Move the horizontal center line from the eight and place it at a 45 deg. and through the equal sign.

Now the equation reads:

0 + 3 -4 does not equal 0

-Albert via email

Anonymous said...

The top match of the initial 8 should be moved to the top position of the 4 to create a 6.   Then 6 + 3 -9 = 0


Unknown said...

Take the bottom left match from the first number to make it a 9. Put this match in the resultant number to make it an 8. 9+3-4=8

Anonymous said...

Here are the solutions I and my family came up with, using actual toothpicks to help visualize the problem. Some are a bit on the creative side.

Starting with 8 + 3 - 4 = 0

Change the 8 to another number:
(1) 9 + 3 - 4 = 8
(extra stick from original 8 added to orig. 0)

(2) 6 + 3 - 9 = 0
(extra stick from orig. 8 added to orig. 4; 9 is a different font than the orig. matchbook digital numbers)

Changed the 4 into an 11, by moving the cross match for the 4 to a vertical position
(3) 8 + 3 - 11 = 0

Created some inequalities by changing the equal sign to a > sign (making just the upper part of the greater than sign diagonal and keeping the lower part where it was).
(4) 8 + 3 - 4 > 0
(5) 8 + 3 > 4 - 0

Changed the equal sign to a not equal sign (a = with a diagonal line through it)
(6) 9 + 3 - 4 (is not equal) 0
(7) 6 + 3 - 4 (is not equal) 0

What fun!

SteveGoodman18 said...

One solution is to take the match from the lower left of the 8. This will turn the 8 into a 9. Take that match and put it in the middle of the zero to make it an 8. Now we have 9 + 3 - 4 = 8, which is true.

Several other moves could be made to turn the = sign into a "not equals" sign, also yielding a true statement.

Ilya said...

One unique answer is to take the left bottom vertical match from the "8" (thus making it a "9") and put it horizontally in the middle of the "0" making it an "8": 9+3-4=8.

The other answer is a "class" and is not as elegant and it just involves taking a single match from various places and placing it across the equal sign making it an inequality rather than equality. This is a valid solution since the problem does not require this to remain "equation", only that it becomes a correct "statement". Here are the places where we can move the match from to produce the inequality sign:
* make 9 from 8
* make 6 from 8
* make 0 from 8
* make - from +
* remove the - altogether (resulting in 8+34)

One more answer is to take one of the matches from the equal sign and putting it at an angle to the minus sign making it a version of ">": 8+3>4-0. It's a bit of a stretch since the ">" sign is not entirely correct :-).

Anonymous said...

Remove a stick form 8 to make it nine and append it to 0 to make it 8

Anonymous said...

You can take one match from 8, making it a 6, and turn the 4 into a 9...

Maria said...

Xo-xo, now I can reveal that this puzzle arrived with a note that people who can solve it have an IQ over 120.

TracyZ did a wonderful summary of all the solution. I will repeat only the equality ones that I think were asked for in this puzzle:

The non-equal and <,> signs are very creative ideas that I think may require even higher IQ. But they may also enrage the puzzle inventor.

A puzzle point for everyone who posted. Two last note are anonymous. I can give you a puzzle point if you offer any name name you would like to be called.

F. Humphrey said...

Greetings, is that your only website or you personally have others?

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone looking at making it equal? the puzzle is to just make the statement true by moving one match

Move the horizontal match in 8 to read a final statement like so
0+3-4 ≠ 0

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