Mathematical puzzle

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Mathematical puzzles make up an integral part of recreational mathematics. They have specific rules as do multiplayer video games, but they do not usually involve competition between two or more players. Instead, to solve such a puzzle, the solver must find a solution that satisfies the given conditions. Mathematical puzzles require mathematics to solve them. Logic puzzles are a common type of mathematical puzzle.

Conway's Game of Life and fractals, as two examples, may also be considered mathematical puzzles even though the solver interacts with them only at the beginning by providing a set of initial conditions. After these conditions are set, the rules of the puzzle determine all subsequent changes and moves. Many of the puzzles are well known because they were discussed by Martin Gardner in his "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American. Mathematical puzzles are sometimes used to motivate students in teaching elementary school math problem solving techniques.[1]

This list is not complete.

List of mathematical puzzles[edit]

The following categories are not disjoint;

Numbers, arithmetic, and algebra[edit]


Analytical or differential[edit]

See also: Zeno's paradoxes


Tiling, packing, and dissection[edit]

Involves a board[edit]

Chessboard tasks[edit]

Topology, knots, graph theory[edit]

The fields of knot theory and topology, especially their non-intuitive conclusions, are often seen as a part of recreational mathematics.


Main article: Mechanical puzzle

0-player puzzles[edit]


  1. ^ Kulkarni, D. Enjoying Math: Learning Problem Solving With KenKen Puzzles, A textbook for teaching with KenKen Puzzles.

External links[edit]