Mindbender: Can You Move 2 Matchsticks to Place the Coin Outside, but Keep Matches in the Same Shape?

June 11, 2019 Updated: June 11, 2019

No matter how good you are at solving puzzles like these, you’re bound to get stumped at some point. There will always be a new solution that forces you to think outside your logic lexicon—isn’t that the beauty of learning? It never ends.

Matchstick puzzles have been around for a while, as matches were once something readily on hand in practically all households, and supplied endless possibilities for intellectual stimulation—even if your family didn’t have much money for toys. And like any time-honored pastime (cards for example), there is no end to the creative progeny that grew out of it, with myriad puzzles and endless variations popping up over the years.


But enough musing. Let’s get down to business and try solving some of these enticing matchstick mindbenders.

Puzzle 1

Along with a handful of matchsticks, this first puzzle employs a “prop.” Grab a coin (any coin will do), and set up your matchsticks according to the illustration below:

Now the instructions are fairly simple (although the solution might not be): Move 2 matchsticks, and not more than 2, and place them anywhere you like, but you must to create the same shape that you started with such that the coin is now outside of the parallel matchsticks.

Don’t scroll down right away. Take a few moments to figure out the answer. When you have it or if you’re totally stumped by this brainteaser, scroll down to see the solution.

As usual, it’s harder than it looks. Like many matchstick puzzles, finding the solution requires exploring possibilities that are outside your expectations. It never fails to surprise what viable solutions lie just beyond our domain of thought. Hence the term: thinking outside the box!


You see, it’s not impossible. Perhaps shifting one matchstick laterally and flipping the image hadn’t occurred to you—there is a certain elusive logic to it, and it takes some ingenuity. If you figured it out, then congratulations. Certainly, not everyone will.

Shall we play one more? Maybe you’re on a roll and want to try making it 2 for 2. Or if you didn’t catch the last one, here is a chance to redeem yourself. Let’s give it a try.

Puzzle 2

Below are two connected rhombus shapes made out of 9 matchsticks. The rules are similar to the previous puzzle: move any 2 matchsticks and place them anywhere you like, but this time, the goal is to place them so that they create 3 triangles.

Again, take a few moments to work out a solution before scrolling down. When you think you have the correct answer, or if you’re stumped once again, check down below for the solution.

Behold, the solution!

How did you fare this time? You could say that this one was a bit tricky, as the were two triangles hiding inside of each other, while a third triangle was flipped over and tucked beside them. Whoever came up with these puzzles probably wracked their brains for a way to sneak that by you.

Congratulations if you got that! If not, don’t worry; you’ll catch on with a little more practice.

How about one more for the road? You have one last shot at redemption if you didn’t get the previous ones. Or if you did, why not test your mental sharpness and try making it 3 for 3?

Puzzle 3

Similar to the previous 2 challenges, move 2 matchsticks and place them anywhere you like, but this time the goal is to place them and make 2 equilateral triangles—triangles whose 3 sides are equal in length to one another.

Again, don’t scroll down until you are ready. Take your time to come up with a solution. When you have your answer, or if you give up, check the answer down below:


Congratulations if you got this one! We’ve gone out of our way to trick you this time. As you can see, you don’t need to necessarily make use of those 2 matchsticks in order to create your equilateral triangles. Perhaps you were fretting over what to do with them when all you had to do was think outside the box!

Sometimes the rules themselves do not define all the parameters, and unorthodox-seeming solutions are perfectly reasonable if you take the rules at face value.

Whether you got all 3 puzzles or were stumped by some or all of them, we hope you enjoyed playing all the same. And, as the old adage goes: It’s not whether you win or lose, but rather, it’s how you play the game!

Photo Credit: Illustration – The Epoch Times