Mentagy Puzzle. Where no mind has gone before.

Game Play

Game Rules / Objective

Insert the letters of the alphabet A through Z into the grid according to the rules below.

For each new puzzle there are seed letters already in place which cannot be moved.

Rule 1: Each new letter that you place must be either next to, directly above, directly below or on a diagonal adjacent to the previous letter of the alphabet; i.e., "D" must be next to "C"; "C" must be next to "B" etc… [ADJACENT RULE]

Rule 2: Once you place a letter in any 2x2 Box, you must finish filling in that Box before placing a letter in a new Box. [BOX RULE]

Rule 3: Any row or column may contain only one vowel (A, E , I , O , U or Y) [VOWEL RULE]

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Top Ten Players

  • Watergoat [Score 1053]
  • Puzzler [Score 1041]
  • annabanana [Score 1027]
  • Watergoat [Score 992]
  • TampaMom [Score 799]
  • Puzzler [Score 791]
  • pattico [Score 786]
  • TampaMom [Score 762]
  • TampaMom [Score 638]
  • TanuvasaMama [Score 560]

T=Time L=Level C=Checks E=Errors

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Chess Corner

A Method for Teaching Chess

While using this puzzle with some of my chess students, the puzzle began to take on a life of its own. It is still a useful tool for improving chess decision making. But it also is just fun and worthwhile to solve these puzzles. Doing these puzzles sharpens your abilities in logical thinking and decision making. Solving these puzzles will help young minds develop and improve their academic skills. For adults and seniors, doing these puzzles helps build new brain cells that keep your mind sharp.

The original goal for the puzzle invention was to find a method for teaching a sophisticated chess concept to young students. When deciding on a move in a game of chess there is a complex method of analyzing a chess position that is described in the well-known book Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov.

The method begins when a player chooses between two to four “Candidate Moves” (Kotov’s term) that the player wants to consider in detail. Using this candidate move method, the player then calculates the consequences of each candidate move separately, and makes an evaluation of the respective chess positions that result from each candidate move.

These respective chess positions can be several moves beyond the original position being analyzed. This method is sometimes referred to as a tree of analysis, since in making the calculations some candidate moves lead to further branches that need detailed analysis as well. Based on this candidate move analysis, the player then chooses the one chess move (among the Candidate Move choices) that results in the most advantageous position, and then makes that move.

In the Mentagy puzzle, a similar method can be used in many situation to find the correct placement of the next letter in the alphabet. Since there are usually

only a few possible cells to choose from, the cell choices are like “candidate moves.” One can calculate up to a certain point the consequences of each cell choice. Since the Mentagy puzzle is much simpler than chess, the student of chess can more easily see how the application of the candidate move method or analysis tree works in solving the puzzle.

The chess student’s knowledge of the candidate move method, once understood using the Mentagy puzzle, can then be more easily transferred to its use in choosing a chess move. In fact, solving Mentagy puzzles can help an improving chess player get into the very useful habit of considering more than one candidate move before just making the first move that comes to mind. This habit is one of the traits that separates amateur chess players from expert chess players.