Friday, 29 April 2016

Checkbox

Name
Checkbox

Designer
Designed in 2011 by Goh Pit Khiam




Manufacturer & Availability
Crafted by Brian Menold of Woodwonders. Sold for US$47 each but currently unavailable.

Type & Classification
2D Packing / Interlocking solid

Dimensions
7cm x 7cm x 2.2cm

Materials & Construction
The box is Granadillo while the pieces are East Indian Rosewood and Ash. Beautifully made (although the top surface of my box had a slight blemish, probably just my copy) and the pieces fit very nicely without being too snug.  

Overview
Here is another packing puzzle from prolific designer Goh Pit Khiam. Like most 2D packing puzzles, this one came un-assembled. However unlike a traditional packing puzzle, the pieces of the Checkbox have various protrusions which mesh with each other and the box (which has got a channel running along the insides). Thus, Checkbox is also an interlocking puzzle as well. Goh had mentioned to me that he had originally designed a 9 piece version with numbers 1 to 9, but felt it was too difficult to solve.

The goal is to insert the pieces into the box AND form a checked pattern as shown in the photo. Right from the start, you can tell that orthogonal sliding of the pieces is required and no rotations are allowed. In fact no rotations are physically possible anyway.



Goh is famous for this sort of "look-simple-but-is-not" puzzles. It has just 4 pieces but I can assure you that it is very tricky to get the pieces into the box correctly to produce the final result. Some thinking is required to determine how the pieces interact with each other and vis-a-vis the box. A couple of times, I thought I had nailed it but the final piece going in either didn't form a checked pattern or couldn't fit.

Difficulty
I would rate it as moderately difficult but rather tricky to assemble. It takes approximately 11 moves to get all the pieces in and there is a sequence to that. But once you get it right, a nice a-ha feeling! Taking the pieces out is much easier, hence the puzzle is shipped un-assembled.  

Summary
A very nice (and cute) well made little puzzle with a similar theme to Bill Cutler's Slide Block Sliding Block puzzle. If you like packing puzzles with an added twist, this is a must-have. Great fun and you won't tear your hair out trying to solve it.

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