Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Yanked My Chain - Chain Store
Sometimes a puzzle just yanks your chain, which is exactly what happened with Chain Store.
One of the joys of attending the International Puzzle Party is spending time playing with the entries in the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition. This is a puzzling wonderland full of all sorts of new designs for a wide variety of puzzle types. There is something for everyone and I try to spend as much time as possible in the design competition room socializing with other puzzlers doing the same.
One entry in the IPP36 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition was Chain store, designed by Goh Pit Khiam. It was made by master craftsman Tom Lensch and won the Jury Honorable Mention award.
I looked at it and said to myself, how difficult could it be to put a 5-link chain in a box? Apparently, 5 links are plenty sufficient to provide all sorts of awkward positioning to frustrate the packing process. The links are 4x6 allowing the width of the link to just fit inside another link. And then what about the box? Do the links go in orthogonally or do they end up at an angle? I spent a lot of time hypothesizing how the links would sit within the box and then trying to orient the links in the direction that I needed. It turns out that turning links made from square material takes more forethought and planning than links made from cylindrical stock. In the end, it took more of an effort than I could muster in the design competition room.
Now I have a question for you. Would you rather buy a puzzle that you have already solved or that puzzle that you didn’t quit manage to solve? Personally, I tend to buy puzzles that I haven’t solved. Once I’ve solve a puzzle, I’ve basically scratched that itch. Of course, some puzzles are so brilliant you need to acquire a copy even after solving them to occasionally wonder at and show others. Case in point is Stumbling Blocks also by Goh Pit Khiam, and a top 10 vote getter in the IPP36 design competition. I solved Stumbling Blocks very quickly but the movement is so spectacular, I needed to acquire a copy.
When I saw Tom Lensch at the following Rochester Puzzle Picnic, I made sure to acquire a copy of Chain Store as well as Stumbling Blocks. After returning home, I played with Chain Store attempting to get all 5 of those links inside the box without peaking over the lip at the top. I had heard that an earlier version of the box was slightly bigger and that it allowed an alternate solution. While I was working on Chain Store, there were several times that I wished that I had the original box.
At some point, the chain was sufficiently yanked to turn the light bulb on and I managed to stuff those stubborn links into that wee little box. Once I discovered the required orientation for the links, I found that there is an elegant way to crumple up the chain to pack in the box.
I really liked this puzzle and if you are interested in acquiring a copy, Cubicdissection is planning on releasing a run in the near future.