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If you love slide puzzles you certainly have heard about the Grabarchuk family and their amazing creations. Some of the best slide puzzles I've tried and own in my collection are from them and I plan to get my hands on several more in the future. For now, let's concentrate on this original concept by Serhiy & Peter Grabarchuk, the Sliding Stones - Could easily be a name for a Rock band...
First, before talking about the concept, I'd like to mention the great craftsmanship that went into the design. There are five different types of wood, four in the pieces and the remaining one in the tray. The resulting visual effect is rather beautiful and elegant. The metal button in the square piece is the perfect touch on a flawless design, but also practical, since it makes it easier to move. The size is average for a slide puzzle, with dimensions of 14 x 10cm (5.5" x 4").
The puzzle consists of five pieces, four identical l-shaped ones and a square one. The starting position has the four identical pieces in a square form with each one occupying a corner and the square piece is in the middle below the two bottom pieces. The goal is to slide all pieces, without lifting a single one from the board, so that the square fits inside the empty space in between the four pieces. There are 22 possible moves for an optimal solution, but the important thing is to achieve the final state. With practice, you should be able to achieve the minimum step solution.
There's something you need to take into account when attempting to solve the puzzle. The square is comprised of four different colors, each one corresponding to an l-shaped piece. When solved, each corner of the square should be touching an l-shaped piece of the same color. The puzzle would already be difficult enough if not for the colors, but instead it just makes it even more challenging. You'll be able to put the square inside the four identical pieces in a number of times on your way to the correct solution, but finding the right configuration is quite tricky. It took me about 10 or 15 minutes to completely solve the puzzle, and only after I've discovered that the pieces can be rotated inside, depending on the position of the other pieces. This interesting solving process was a first for me, and it gave me a great rewarding feeling and sense of accomplishment. I'm yet to find the optimal 22-step solution, though.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Solved Position|
I'm a big fan of Grabarchuk puzzles, and with puzzles like the Sliding Stones who wouldn't be a fan? The high difficulty level might put some people off, but if you stick with it and insist this might not be the last Grabarchuk puzzle you'll own. Highly recommended.