The checker board puzzle
This is a testimony to my perseverance. This is a model of a puzzle i bought when i was 16 years old. the object is to make a checker board from the 12 pieces. It doesn't look tough but i kept trying it from time to time for the next 17 years, before i finally made it. There is a story that goes with my finally solving the puzzle. Although i did not work on it every day and indeed some years not at all, i did keep at it until i finally put it together before i hit 35 years old. I think i read in the puzzle packaging that there actually is more than one solution. There were several but in order to get them, you had to send in a dollar to the mfr. They were not going to give it free.
The Great Checker Board Hoax
After 17 years of fiddling with this puzzle i
finally solved it. Needless to say this was a happy day for me.
I carefully wrote down the solution for future reference and put it
away in a safe place. I was working in the Jig & Fixture dept.
for a large aircraft subcontractor's tooling manufacturing division
at the time, (the shop) and had access to all sorts of things with which
to make puzzles when work got slow. I chose some 3 inch
thick Styrofoam packing material and made a large scale version of the
puzzle with 3 inch squares. Using a broad tip felt marker,
i colored each alternating square black, according to my model puzzle
i had for so long. When
assembled the big puzzle measured two feet by two feet square and looked
like a big black and white checker board. At
lunch time i was telling one of my shop buddies about the puzzle and
i showed it to him, telling George about how long it took me to do it.
George told me he could do it in no time at all and i gave the pieces
to him to work on. For two days, every break and lunch period,
George worked on the puzzle and finally got it. He was of course
joyous that he had beat my time by such a margin and i was slightly
miffed about it, because he was being so abusive with his crowing and
posturing that it was getting on my nerves. Every time we met
he would say something like, "Solved any good puzzles lately, Sherlock?"
Rather than being happy to have solved it, he seemed to be concentrating
on letting me know how stupid i was not to do it sooner. He
would not pass up an opportunity to tell anybody who would listen to
him how he showed up JP with his own puzzle. After a week or so,
he was still at it with the digs and remarks. George would not drop
the topic but kept bringing it up so he could squeeze a little more
'one-upmanship' out of the scenario.
(back to the checker board)
(back to Sea Stories)