Puzzle inventor: George Sicherman

George Sicherman is a retired computer programmer. Originally from Buffalo, he now lives in New Jersey. He loves recreational mathematics and often studies it with the help of his programming skills. George's best-known invention is Sicherman Dice, designed in 1977. His website, Polyform Curiosities, is a veritable goldmine of geometric marvels, abundantly filled with examples and solutions of just about every theme and concept ever dreamed up for tiling with polyform puzzle sets. George sometimes designs puzzles based on his research and on occasion analyzes problems for Kate Jones and for other mathematics enthusiasts.

Those programming skills find limitless applications. Puzzle challenges with unique solutions are his special favorites. His robot assistant cleverly can count the number of solutions for certain puzzles. The booklet for Shardinaires-9 includes many of those statistics.

Shardinaires-9 also won Kadon's Gamepuzzles Annual Pentomino Excellence award for 2019, the only time that this annual prize has led to Kadon's publishing the winner as a product in the gamepuzzles line-up. The award has an S on one side and a G on the other. To solve one side requires emptying out the other—a repeating puzzle.

George reported that, indeed, his program confirmed that the G has a unique solution, and the S has 3. Kate found those solutions without electronic assistance and reported that the G was, as could be expected, rather difficult to derive. The beautiful rotationally symmetrical S was a special joy to find.

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