The Sliding Pennies


SIX PENNIES are arranged on a flat surface as shown in the top picture. The
problem is to move them into the formation depicted at bottom in the smallest
number of moves. Each move consists in sliding a penny, without disturbing any
of the other pennies, to a new position in which it touches two others. The coins
must remain flat on the surface at all times.

The answer:

Number the top coin in the pyramid 1, the coins in the next row 2 and 3, and
those in the bottom row 4, 5 and 6. The following four moves are typical of
many possible solutions: Move 1 to touch 2 and 4, move 4 to touch 5 and 6,
move 5 to touch 1 and 2 below, move 1 to touch 4 and 5.

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