Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Heart In Puzzle

Here's another Minoru Abe sliding puzzle I played with the last two evenings. It's the Heart In Puzzle with three challenges. The object of each of them is to move the "Heart" block to within the confines of the four identical L-shaped blocks.

Like all current Minoru Abe sliding puzzles available on the market today, the Heart In Puzzle puzzle is well made and packaging is in the form of a nice dark blue box. The instructions are in Japanese but the diagrams are self-explanatory. 

The tray is (likely) made of  pine, while the pieces are a different species of wood. Despite its high quality, Minoru Abe sliding puzzles are not expensive and prices range from about 2,100Y (US$17) to 3,700Y (US$31). They are available from online seller Torito (which unfortunately does not ship outside of Japan), CU-Japan and Amazon. The Heart In Puzzle cost about US$17/-, one of the cheapest.

Start Position No 1

Start Position No 2

Start Position No 3

Each of the three challenges is represented by three starting positions and the first requires a minimum of 28 moves. Not a lot moves compared to Minoru's other sliding puzzles (some of them in the hundreds) but I found this one rather difficult. It took me a rather good portion of an evening to solve the first challenge and the same for the second challenge. I didn't attempt the third. All the moves are linear. Initially I was wondering if the Japanese instructions (which I can't read) allowed for rotations, because if it did, it took me well less than 28 moves to solve. A quick check with sliding puzzle supremo Nick Baxter confirmed no rotations allowed so I had to take the more difficult route.

Solved Position For All 3 Challenges

For those into sliding block puzzles, the Heart In Puzzle is a must have and great value for money. Oh, and incidentally, the Heart In Puzzle does bear some similarities to Serhiy Grabarchuk's 22-move Sliding Stones.


  1. the mentioned sliding Stone puzzle 4 was my Exchange for the last IPP in London, and I have some examples left over if somebody is interested