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Sliding Pentominos

Them being a happy marriage of

Sliding Blocks


In this puzzle the object is to slide the main board pentominos to form one of the side boards. The fewer steps, the better. The pentominos cannot be rotated, flipped or taken off the board, they can only slide. Whole blocks of them can slide, in fact.

Here is a preview picture of a puzzle board. In the Java applet or webstart versions, of course, the pieces can slide.
A few words on how to get started.
You may want to read a bit more about the Search feature.

Please READ THIS: The puzzle can run as an Applet or a WebStart program. The applet version is good for playing by hand. The webstart version can use more memory and allows the Search to tackle tougher problems; it also requires free software from Sun installed on your computer. Currently the webstart versions are configured to use up to a maximum of 200m bytes RAM (   ). Make sure you have at least 75m more than this amount, or do not run the webstart versions!

This page only looks at the 6x10 board. There are *only* 5 sets of 4 boards that can slide into each other. (There are more sets of 3 boards and 2 boards -- for some other time). The pieces must stay on the tray so the shape of the tray is very critical. If the tray is too small, there is no solution.

6x10 Board

on 8x10 tray

1 Fallen Sumo I [applet] [webstart]
2 Fallen Sumo II [applet] [webstart]
3 Three Stooges [applet] [webstart]
4 Two Guards I [applet] [webstart]
5 Two Guards II [applet] [webstart]

on 9x10 tray

6 Three Stooges [applet] [webstart]
7 Two Guards I [applet] [webstart]
8 Two Guards II [applet] [webstart]

Where does this lead? As the tray gets larger, all problems can be done in fewer moves (while the fewest moves get harder to find!). So there is one particular puzzle board out there that holds the distinction of being the one that admits the lengthiest fewest move solution. Ere's our quarry!

The source for this puzzle is available free for non commercial purposes. Just look here for a zip archive.