Can you solve one of the world’s most deceptively simple, yet most time-consuming puzzles?

Traditional puzzles from China are called ‘intelligence games’ and were often used to train the brain in problem solving. One of the most interesting, yet little known disentanglement puzzles of Chinese origin is the Chinese Nine Linked Rings Puzzle, or simply, Chinese Rings.

Considering it takes 341 moves to solve the puzzle, it appears to be more of a test of patience than anything else.

The puzzle consists of a long loop entangled with nine rings, which are all attached to one another along the loop’s length. The objective is to remove all nine rings from it. The process is simple, yet long and repetitive: For a ring to be removed it needs to meet certain requirements, which involve constantly taking the rings off and on. For instance, to take the 9th ring off, the 8th ring has to be on, which in turn needs to have the 7th ring on and so on and so forth.

If you’re feeling particularly competitive, here’s a video of somebody who solved the puzzle in 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Another variation of the Chinese Rings is called Baguenaudier, which is French for “time-waster”, also known as Impossible Staircase, The Devil’s Staircase, Devil’s Halo, Devil’s Needle and the less frightening name Five Pillars Puzzle.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia