Tuesday 19 August 2014

IPP34 - Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange

This year's IPP (International Puzzle Party) was held in London, United Kingdom from 7-10 August. Like last year's IPP33 in Japan, to make it more convenient for attendees and minimise travel, the event was again held at an Airport hotel, in this case the Park Inn at Heathrow. 

For IPP34 itself and other related, pre and non-official IPP34 "fringe" activities such as the excellent MPP that took place the prior weekend, check out Kevin'sAllard's and Roxanne's posts on their respective blogs.

The Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange is one of the two "main" events (the other being the Puzzle Party) of any IPP. Basically its a gathering of IPP attendees who will get to exchange their own puzzle with another participant. Although the purpose of this event is pretty straight forward, ie to exchange puzzles, there are however some rules governing the exchange. Most notably:-

1. An exchanger must typically produce a minimum of around a 100 puzzles; 99 for the exchange and one for public display during IPP which is then donated to the Slocum Puzzle Collection at the University of Indiana Lilly Library. Many exchange participants tend to produce more than the 100 for post-exchange sale at the Puzzle Party or gifting. Not an inexpensive affair in terms of cost of production, shipping etc.

2. The participant's exchange puzzle must be an original design. However it need not be the exchanger's own design. He/she can commission or use someone else's design (with permission of course). Out of the 99 puzzles that were exchanged at IPP34, almost 40 exchangers adopted somebody else's design. Around 8 of the exchange puzzles were also entries in the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.

3. The exchanged puzzle must not have been previously in someone's collection nor commercially available prior to the exchange.

For this IPP, I was able to participate in the exchange, having been an exchange assistant to puzzle collector Diniar Namdarian during IPP33. My exchange puzzle, called "Triple Play" was designed by Goh Pit Khiam and produced in laser cut acrylic. Dimensionally 80mm x 80mm x 10mm. 

For close up photos and details of all the 99 exchange puzzles, please see Goetz Schwandtner's IPP34 Exchange Puzzles page.

Every exchange participant is allocated a table (yes, the table is really needed when all the different puzzles start to pile up). Once things get under way, participants would walk around the event room looking for someone to exchange with. Those who prefer a more relaxed approach would sit at their table and wait for others to show up (but this I think is boring). Everyone is given a list of all the exchange participants to check off against, to avoid possible double exchanges or mistakes. Trust me, after a while, it can become a bit confusing and chaotic.

My 99 Exchange Puzzles ready to rock and roll!
Most exchangers would have assistants to click photos, carry puzzles and help with translations where necessary. I went ahead without one, to my regret...I found myself scrambling a bit trying to explain my puzzle to the other party, get photos taken, running back to my table to replenish my inventory etc. After the exchange, one IPP attendee had come up to me to express his interest in being my assistant for next year and I took his offer without hesitation.

The whole session goes on for a good half a day from 9am till around 2pm. Really, some stamina is required for this I might add!

I managed to get some photos with a number of well known collectors, designers and puzzle craftsmen.
Ad van der Schagt

Vladimir Krasnoukhov

Lee Yee Dian

MINE Uyematsu

Allard Walker

John Moores

Simon Nightingale

Wil Strijbos

Robert Sandfield

Marcel Gillen

Neil Hutchinson

Serhiy Grabarchuk

Bill Cutler
Well, after nearly 5 hours, here is my exchange haul from IPP34, which thankfully was all able to fit into my jumbo suitcase which I had specially brought with me!


  1. Nice post about your Exchange experiences! Glad my web page with the puzzle picture can be of some use. :)


    1. Hi Goetz, great meeting you in person! Yes, your webpage was very useful in helping me identify the exchange puzzles, designers etc. Thanks!

  2. Minor edit: The title should read "Hordern".

    1. Hi George, thanks for spotting the typo. Corrected!

  3. Great post! I like your Triple Play puzzle and had a question about how you made it. Did you glue the top and bottom acrylic pieces together by hand or did you find a manufacturer / fabricator who would do that for you? I ask because I made some square dissection puzzles from acrylic (http://pyrigan.com/2014/05/21/more-square-dissection-puzzles/) and found that the toughest part in making them was gluing the two pieces of acrylic. Thanks!

    1. The manufacturer glued the pieces together for me, most likely by hand.