Thursday 15 March 2018

Crazy Knights

I’ve already admitted to a serious weakness for Mr Puzzle Limited Editions, but this one ticks a few extra boxes for me! 

Back in my dim and distant youth I remember playing a couple of PC puzzle games called 7th Guest and 11th Hour – the premise was fairly straight-forward: you found yourself in a house where something awful had happened and more details were revealed to you as you solved puzzles in different rooms… this was well before I’d been bitten by the mechanical puzzle bug and I found myself really enjoying the games – and one particular puzzle stood out for me because of the way that I solved it… the Knights Puzzle in 11th Hour – which was published in 1995.

Edward Hordern presented the puzzle at the Third Gathering for Gardner in 1998, and the following year Brian Young produced a run of 12 limited edition copies of Crazy Knights – complete with pewter and Australian hardwood pieces on a Queensland Spotted Gum board… I was thrilled to recently run across a copy for sale and pounced on it!

The puzzle is simple: you have a section of a chessboard comprised of just 10 squares (1-4-3-2) and demarcated starting positions for the pair of black and white knights. Your goal is to simply transpose the black and white knights, using only standard knight-moves – [the ‘k’ is important there, night moves are something entirely different]. 

At the start of the puzzle there aren’t that many permissible moves – after all you only have 10 squares, four of them are occupied by pieces already – and some of the squares aren’t immediately accessible… so you can start exploring a little, and find some useful patterns, but unless you have a brain the size of a planet (anyone feeling paranoid?) you’re going to find yourself going backwards and forwards and not making a heck of a lot of progress…

…which is exactly what I remember playing this puzzle on 11th Hour all those years ago… until I had a little flash of something-or-other and transformed the way I was thinking about the puzzle altogether – look at it differently, and it instantly transforms into an almost trivial puzzle where the solution is painfully clear…

I love the fact that twenty years after I solved this puzzle in the ether, I now have a Mr Puzzle limited edition real world copy of it… and I can inflict it on others, and encourage them to find a simple way to solve it…


  1. This is great. I did not know of this puzzle until now. I love chess knight puzzles, and I see that the restricted board provides for a reasonably quick analysis of the moves. Now I just have to make a similar board that looks as nice as Mr. Puzzle's...

    1. Excellent - my work here is done! :-) [...and I want a picture of your handiwork!]

  2. Well - looks like a visit to Steam is on the cards tonight - about time I played those 2 again :D