|Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles tricks|
and Conundrums with Answers
Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles
Publisher: Ishi Press
Product Dimensions: 8.25 x 10.5 inches
Sam Loyd (1841-1911) was the all time greatest inventor and developer of puzzles. He is described by Martin Gardner, the author of the "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American, as "America's greatest puzzlist and an authentic American genius". His fame is world wide and books of his puzzles have been published in Russian and many other languages. This book, Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5,000 Puzzles Tricks & Conundrums with Answers, was compiled by his son and published in 1914 after his death. Although many books have been written about some of Loyd's puzzles, this remains the most complete volume of all of his puzzles. This is considered to be the most fabulous and exciting collection of puzzles ever assembled in one volume. The puzzles come with wonderful illustrations.
Sam Loyd (1841-1911) was the all time greatest inventor and developer of puzzles. He is described by Martin Gardner, the author of the "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American, as "America's greatest puzzlist and an authentic American genius". His fame is world wide and books of his puzzles have been published in Russian and other languages.
Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5,000 Puzzles Tricks & Conundrums with Answers was compiled by the son of Sam Loyd and published in 1914 after his death. Although many books have been written about some of Loyd's puzzles, this remains the most complete volume of all of his puzzles.
This is considered to be the most fabulous and exciting collection of puzzles ever assembled in one volume. The puzzles come with wonderful illustrations.
Sam Loyd is even more famous among chess masters,. His chess problems and compositions contain ideas that are studied by chess masters to this day. According to Grandmaster Pal Benko, the great endgame composer Troitzky used themes created by Sam Loyd for his compositions. In 1987, Sam Loyd was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame, the only chess player ever so honored because of his chess compositions.
Bobby Fischer is a big fan of Sam Loyd Puzzles. I personally timed Fischer with a stop watch at his request where he demonstrated that he could solve the Sam Loyd 15-Puzzle every time in 25 seconds or less. Fischer and I used to hang out together late nights in Midtown Manhattan, where he would practice solving this puzzle. This was years before Fischer won the World Chess Championship. Fischer later demonstrated the ability to solve the 15-Puzzle on the Johnny Carson Show.
The most famous chess composition by Sam Loyd is his demonstration that it is possible to achieve stalemate in chess in only ten moves. The moves are 1.e3 a5 2.Qh5 Ra6 3.Qxa5 h5 4.Qxc7 Rah6 5.h4 f6 6.Qxd7+ Kf7 7.Qxb7 Qd3 8.Qxb8 Qh7 9.Qxc8 Kg6 10.Qe6
Every now and then some wise guys who are conspiring to draw a game by agreement play these moves in a serious tournament game. International Master Bernard Zuckerman played this game against Larry Gilden in the Eastern Open Chess Championship in Washington DC in 1962, then the biggest money tournament in America. Gilden was fortunate that Zuckerman kept his promise to draw the game. The tournament was won by Grandmaster Pal Benko.
Sam Loyd also demonstrated that stalemate in 12 moves can occur with all the pieces still on the board. The moves are 1.d4 d6 2.Qd2 e5 3.a4 e4 4.Qf4 f5 5.h3 Be7 6.Qh2 Be6 7.Ra3 c5 8.Rg3 Qa5+ 9.Nd2 Bh4 10.f3 Bb3 11.d5 e3 12.c4 f4
The Sam Loyd 15-Puzzle has a caused a minor controversy recently. A 2006 book by Jerry Slocum claims that Sam Loyd did not really invent the 15-Puzzle, which is Sam Loyds most famous puzzle. In that book, The 15 Puzzle Book by Jerry Slocum and Dic Sonneveld,, ISBN 1890980153, the authors state: "The great puzzle master Sam Loyd claimed to have invented the Fifteen Puzzle and that claim has stood largely unchallenged for 115 years." They claim that the puzzle was actually invented by Noyes Palmer Chapman, a postmaster in Canastota, New York, possibly as early as 1874. However, the Chapman puzzle was not really the same as the Loyd puzzle. This issue can be debated forever, much like debating whether Newton really invented calculus. In any event, it is clear that Loyd is the one who popularized the puzzle by offering a prize of $1000 in a New York newspaper to any one who could figure out a way to reverse the position of two adjacent blocks in the puzzle. Loyd had already worked out mathematically that the solution is impossible. The 15-puzzle problem caused a world-wide frenzy in 1880; and made it The Greatest Puzzle of All Time.
Samuel Loyd was born in Philadelphia on January 31, 1841 and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His first puzzle was published in a New York newspaper at the age of 14. From shortly thereafter until his death in 1911, he was America's undisputed puzzle king. His father, a real estate operator, moved the family from Philadelphia to New York in 1844, where Loyd attended public school until he was 17. He became obsessed with the game of chess at age 10 and as a youth frequented a chess club where his interest in making puzzles started. His first problem was published by a New York paper when he was 14, and during the next five years his output of chess puzzles was so prolific that he was known throughout the chess world. By 1858, he was hailed as the leading American writer of chess problems. In 1877 and 1878, Loyd wrote a weekly chess page for Scientific American Supplement and these columns comprised most of the book Chess Strategy, printed in 1978, and containing 500 chess problems.
When Loyd was only 17, he invented his Trick Mules or Donkey Puzzle which is deceptively difficult. The object is to cut apart the three pieces and then reassemble them so that the two jockeys are riding the mules. The puzzle was sold by Loyd to the American showman Phineas T. Barnum (of Barnum & Bailey Circus fame). Loyd earned some $10,000 from the puzzle.
On April 10, 1911, Sam Loyd he died in his home on 153 Halsey Street near the corner of Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. His obituary in the New York Times reported that he had been educated as a civil engineer and held a steam and mechanical engineers license in New York City, that he was a one time editor of The Sanitary Engineer, and that he was also a successful stock market operator, but that he never bought stocks on margin.
After his death, his son took over the puzzle business. The original name of his son was Walter but he started calling himself Sam Loyd and named his own son Sam Loyd Junior. His son operated a puzzle shop on Fulton Avenue in Brooklyn until his death in 1934.
This explains a paradox in this book, because it says that a prize can be won by sending solutions to puzzles in this book to Sam Loyd before January 31, 1915. Since Sam Loyd had died in 1911 and this book was published in 1914, one wonders how it was possible to send him the solution. The answer is that the son was now calling himself Sam Loyd.
A further conundrum is that in order to claim the prize one needs to solve a number of puzzles, including the 14-15 puzzle which is found on page 235 of this book. However, as we now know, this puzzle has no solution.
Another problem is that in addition to sending in the solutions prior to January 31, 1915 one must also send them in after December 1, 1915. This one is a real head scratcher. The answer seems to be that this is a typo, but one can never be sure.
According to the New York Times, The Donkey Puzzle sold more than one million copies. Other successful puzzles were the Fifteen-Block, page 235, Pigs in Clover, Parchesi, and Get off the Earth, page 323. Other popular problems were Back from the Klondike, page 106, and How Old is Mary, page 53.
Sam Loyd did not claim to have invented all the puzzles in this book. Some he simply improved. Others he credited to others. An example is the Towers of Hanoi puzzle on page 223. This puzzle is still sold in every childrens store. The inventor originally named it the Tower of Brahma or Bramah, said to be in India. Loyd changed the name and moved it to Hanoi, making it more popular.