Subj:     Sam Loyd's Fifteen - Slider Puzzle (S463)
          From: Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles
          on 11/30/2005



Sam Loyd was born in 1841. he invented (according to his own account) his first puzzle at the age of 9. When he was 16 he became problem editor of the Chess Monthly and made a good living of puzzle invention till his death in 1911. One of his problems (Fifteen) caused a national craze on both sides of the Atlantic. Some other puzzles also sold by the millions. Loyd's ingenuity might only be compared to that of his contemporary, H.E. Dudeney - England's greatest puzzlist.
Sam Loyd's picture from
Sam Loyd Biography

At: http://www.cut-the-

"About half a century ago, in the late 1870's, the Fifteen Puzzle bobbed up
in the United States; it
spread quickly and owing
to the uncountable number 
of devoted players it had
conquered, it became a

"The same was observed on this side of the ocean, in Europe. Here you could even see the passengers in horse trams with the game in their hands. In offices the shops bosses were horrified by their employees being completely absorbed by the game during office and class hours. Owners of entertainment establishments were quick to latch onto the rage and organized large contests. The game had even made its way into solemn halls of the German Reichstag. 'I can still visualize quite clearly the greyhaired people in the Reichstag intent on a square small box in their hands,' recalls the geographer and mathematician Sigmund Gunter who was a deputy during puzzle epidemic.

"In Paris the puzzle flourished in the open air, in the boulevards, and proliferated speedily from the capital all over the provinces. A French author of the day wrote, 'There was hardly one country cottage where this spider hadn't made its nest lying in wait for a victim to flounder in its web.

"In 1880 the puzzle fever seems to have reached its climax. But soon the tyrant was overthrown and defeated by the weapon of Mathematics. The mathematical theory of the puzzle showed that of the many problems that might be offered only a half were solvable, the other half were impossible, however ingenious the technique were applied to solve them."
Click on the left puzzle to play the SWF movie
      version of the puzzle
Click on the right puzzle to play the .EXE
      version which needs the DLL file
     VBRUN300.DLL in c://WINDOWS/system32
             Slider drawings from