These are the best and most fun math riddles we can find. All of these tricky riddles are based on real math concepts and can be solved with purely math and logic.
Question: Queens can move horizontally, vertically and diagonally any number of spaces as illustrated. One piece 'attacks' another if it moves to the same tile that the other piece is on. How can you arrange eight queens on the board so they cannot attack each other?
Hint: Four must go on black and four on white.
Answer: Here are the two solutions. This is usually solved with guess and check although using logic may be faster. We know that each queen must be in it's own row vertically and horizontally. We also know that 4 of the queens must be on white and 4 on black. This is true because with 4 queens on the same color all of the rest of that color is venerable to attack. (It could be done with math).
Question: The London Racetrack needs to submit its 3 fastest horses to the Kentucky Derby out of 25 horses. However, all of their information was lost and they don't know any of the horse's times. Similarly, they all look identical so they can't remember who's fastest.
They can only race 5 horses at once, so what is the fewest number of races they can conduct to find the 3 fastest horses?
Answer: 7 races are required.
First you divide the 25 horses into 5 groups of 5. You conduct the 5 races and take all of the fastest horses in those races and have a race with them, giving you the fastest horse. Then you take the remaining 24 horses (excluding the fastest) and remove the 4th and 5th horses in the first set of 5 races (since they definitely have 3 horses faster than them), leaving you with 14 horses. Next you can remove all of the horses that were beat in the preliminary race by the horses that got 4th and 5th in the championship race, leaving you with 8 horses. Finally, you can remove the horses that remain that lost to the 3rd place horse in the final race in the preliminary race and the horse that got 3rd in the preliminary to the horse that got 2nd in the championship race, leaving you with 5 horses.
You can then run a final race where the 1st and 2nd place horses are the 2nd and 3rd fastest. Then you know the 3 fastest horses.
Question: There is a chain nailed to the wall. The chain is 10 feet long and the center of the chain dips down 5 feet from where each side of the chain is nailed to the wall. How far are the 2 ends of chain from each other?
Answer: Both ends are nailed with the same nail. In order for the 10 foot chain to dip down 5 feet it must dip 5 feet down and 5 feet up, totaling the length of the chain.
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