Historie des van-der-Poel-Puzzles

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Willem van der Poel verteilte im August 2004 an die Teilnehmer der 24. Internationalen Puzzle Party in Tokio den Nachbau seines Puzzles.     Das zugehörige “Text Sheet” beschrieb, wie er sein Puzzle erfunden hat:

                   The Grandfather of 6x6x6

                       A 50th anniversary

The  exchange  puzzle  which I  present  this time is  in a way a
historical one. Although it is well known in a certain way by the
book of Van  Delft and Botermans, Creative Puzzles  of the World,
it has never  been  available publicly. The French firm  of Arjeu
has  once traded  another  6x6x6  which had  errors  in it.  They
misread  the  drawing  in   the  book,  and  they  even  had  the
impertinence  to include a drawing  which was an exact copy of my
own drawing with the accompanying text: "Reproduction Interdite".
They  never  mentioned my name or had  my permission to bring out
this puzzle.

Let me shortly tell something about the history of this design. I
always have been fascinated by wooden bars, seemingly penetrating
each other in an  impossible way and the maximum complexity which
would be reasonably  makeable was 6x6x6. This all happened around
1951. For  two years I have turned it around in my  brain until I
found a nice solution. I  always say: you have to be able to draw
it on the inside of your forehead.  At  that  time  a drawing was
never made. Drawings only  can  depict static things; they cannot
be changed live.

So at last I took a long bar of beach wood and started to saw the
pieces. The  final  drawing  only  was made two  years  after the
creation of the puzzle!  That original single copy was  initially
exchanged with another puzzle from Stewart Coffin, when I visited
him  in 1975 during  a  sabbatical at the  IBM  labs  in Yorktown
Heights. The Coffin puzzles  were  very popular at that time  and
for the first time some people  succeeded in  solving my  puzzle.
There were  no computer  programs such as Bill Cutler's  in those
days! Designing and solving  was really brain  work.  This  beach
wood original is now in possession of Jerry Slocum. For myself  I
had another copy being made for me in aluminium  and has been the
only copy for years.

In the course of the years and with the help of computer programs
improvements have been  made. First by Bruce Love  who made an 18
shifter  (18 shifts to  take out the first piece).  Later Brian &
Susan Young brought out a 19  shifter and I helped them analysing
it. It is still not sure whether  other solutions with  the  same
pieces and  fewer shifts  exist. And ultimately  Go Pit  Khiam of
Singapore  made  a  33 shifter.  Again  there  has  been  a  good
cooperation  between Go Pit  Khiam  and  me for analysing. The 33
shifter really  has  a  unique solution, no  skewing movements or
whackly intermediate states. I once asked Go Pit Khiam whether he
also designed this on  the back of his forehead, but he  answered
that it was purely a matter of careful computer analysis.

Another development of the 6x6x6 was made  by Matti Linkola. With
again  the same  outward shape, he made one with no holes inside.
This means that the first pieces (or 2  pieces together) come out
directly. In France Pierlot has also made 3 no hole versions with
long bars.  These  ones are quite  different  and  difficult  and
cannot  make use of the fact that pieces can pass over the end of
other orthogonal pieces.

I am very happy that  so  many other designers have been inspired
by my original 6x6x6 and I  am proud to be able to present it for
the  first time in a  legal  and  correct  version  after so many
years.  Of course  there must  exist several  single copies, made
from the drawing in  the book. Only  Charles Gantt once made very
few  copies with  my permission  (and with  my  name  included!).
Unfortunately he died very shortly afterwards.

Willem van der Poel, 30th of January, 2004

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URL: <http://www.p-roesler.de/vanderPoel_Historie.html> erstellt 2005
zuletzt geändert am 17.01.2005 von P. Rösler  ros@reviewtechnik.de