Vee-21 — the three-color problem


Pieces in the solution above (V-trominoes) are separated so that same colors do not share sides; they do, however, still have some corner contact.

We had posted here an unsolved challenge:  Can the pieces of the same color be separated so that they don't meet even at corners? Doing this with one color is easy. Total separation of two colors is very hard. All three colors? On January 10, 2004, Professor Andris Cibulis, from the University of Latvia, and his gifted student, Marina Klimova, sent us the full answer:  The third color cannot be fully separated. A single corner contact will remain.

Here are the distinct solutions found to date. The first two are by Kate Jones, the last four by Robert Vermillion. Some vary by only the inversion of 2 pieces.

We challenge our solvers to equal these results. Send us a drawing of your solution. If yours is different from those shown, you will win a prize. Send it by email, or fax to 410-437-2163, or snailmail to: Kadon Enterprises, Inc., 1227 Lorene Drive, Suite 16, Pasadena, MD 21122.

This question was also the subject of a presentation at the 5th Latvian Mathematical Conference, April 6-7, 2004, in Daugavpils, Latvia, by Professor Ilvars Mizniks of the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia. His topic was "Computer Analysis of the 3-Color Problem for V-Shapes." We are delighted that our little puzzle has given great minds an extensive workout.

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