Puzzle #1:

There is a matchstick:


Add 2 more matchsticks to make the number, 11.

Puzzle #2:

There is a palace made out of 11 matchsticks:

enter image description here

Move 2 matchsticks to make 11 squares.

Puzzle #3:

There are 2 squares made out of matchsticks:

enter image description here

Move 4 matchsticks to make 2 large squares and 1 smaller square.

  • I'll only accept answers that have answer ALL of the questions, but contribution of ideas are allowed. – ThyrsoidMouse73 Sep 18 at 8:29
up vote 19 down vote accepted


Just add 2 matchstick to create an X before the I (XI -> 11 in roman numeration)


Your image is wrong, there are many more matchstick in your picture (or the proportion are kinda bad), so i made a new one by myself and i moved the roof horizontally in the center. In the image, there are 8 small squares and 3 big one, made by 4 small squares (sorry for my bad art, i'm a programmer, not an artist C:) enter image description here


In the image below, there are 2 big squares and one small square in the middle by moving the 2 on the top right and the 2 on the bottom left: enter image description here

  • ahh you were faster, these drawings took so long :D – Ian Fako Sep 18 at 9:25
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    @IanFako yeh, but my drawing are freehand garbage lol – Dr. Roggia Sep 18 at 9:31
  • But what if the proportions were not wrong? – Forward Ed Sep 19 at 2:52
  • as for your solution for second puzzle, bear in mind you moved 6 matches not 2. If you look at the palace. walls does not form square. Each column is shifted from central one by N*(1/3). So fixing columns to form 4 rectangles like in your solution requires to moving 4 matches + 2 more taken from roof to form squares. – user902383 Sep 19 at 5:08

For 1:

Turn the viewpoint $90^\circ$, place the second match horizontally above it, and place the third match standing on its end above this one.
This gives the Mayan symbol for 11.

  • That is very creative! Too bad DVL13 :\ – user477343 Sep 18 at 10:54
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    @user477343; tnx, I went through all en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_numeral_systems to find it! – JonMark Perry Sep 18 at 10:59
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    @user477343 What does "DVL13" mean? – maxathousand Sep 18 at 14:42
  • @maxathousand DVL13 means "I have reached my Daily Voting Limit and have to wait at least $13$ hours before I can upvote again". Now, DVL2 instead. It is mentioned in my bio :) – user477343 Sep 18 at 21:22
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    @maxathousand oh, hahah. Nah, it isn't some common abbreviation or "text talk" thing; I use it because I honestly couldn't be bothered writing long comment explaining why I can't upvote. And, since it is Puzzling, I tend to not define the abbrieviation in some comments to let others work out what it means :P – user477343 Sep 18 at 21:30

I'll go with


"add two matchstick to make XI , roman numeral for 11" (answer from Shahriar Mahmud Sajid)


Move the two roof sticks between the two horizontal sticks. This will create 8 small squares and 3 bigger squares (I think the picture in the question is drawn a bit wrong, the horizontal sticks should have a bigger distance)

enter image description here


This should look like this

enter image description here

For Puzzle #1, I'll go with this math style approach


For Puzzle #2 and Puzzle #3, my answers would be exactly the same with Dr. Roggia's and Ian Fako's answers.

My own solution for #2

Move roof to form 3x3 grid which gives us 9 (small blue) squares.
Remaining 2 already exist on the picture (green and red)
Solution for second riddle


@JonMarkPerry made a good point about redundant 2x2 squares so I would like to update my solution to match exactly 11

Updated solution for 2nd riddle
- 6 little squares (blue)
- 3 medium 2x2 squares (red, orange, yellow)
- 2 remaining 3x3 squares (green, dark blue)

  • 1
    four blue spots at a time make squares too – JonMark Perry Sep 18 at 14:00
  • 1
    @JonMarkPerry Then surely the requirement for a mere 11 was met! ;) – maxathousand Sep 18 at 14:43
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    @JonMarkPerry Indeed, but the instructions did not say "make exactly 11 squares" – CDspace Sep 18 at 15:17
  • @CDspace, it does not say exactly in the original question, it just says "make 11 squares" – Forward Ed Sep 19 at 2:57
  • it's difficult to see what the OP is asking - all the matches are different lengths for example. anyway, I found this which might be useful: brainden.com/matchstick-puzzles.htm (see House about 1/2 way down) – JonMark Perry Sep 19 at 5:45


Puzzle #1

add two matchstick to make XI , roman numeral for 11.

Puzzle #1

Take one match stick and place vertical beside the other | | Take second match stick and break it in half and lay it at 45 degree down and to the right of the top of the other two match sticks to get 1 1 Alternatively take the second match stick and break it into quaters using two quarters to for the slant at the top of the 1 and the other two quarters to form the horizontal piece at the bottom.

Puzzle #2

see artwork by mpasko

Puzzle #3

invert the the two match stick on diagonal corner of the big square to connect with little square. Resulting shape is two overlapping squares with a small square in common...see art work by Ian Fako

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