Once upon a time
there was a Grand Lama who had a
chessboard made of pure gold, magnificently engraved, and, of course,
of great value.
Every year a tournament was held at Lhassa among the
priests, and whenever any one beat the Grand Lama it was considered a
great honour, and his name was inscribed on the back of the board, and
a costly jewel set in the particular square on which the checkmate had
After this sovereign pontiff had been defeated on four
occasions he died possibly of chagrin.
The new Grand Lama
was an inferior
chess-player, and preferred other forms of innocent amusement, such as
cutting off people's heads.
So he discouraged chess as a degrading
game, that did not improve either the mind or the morals, and abolished
the tournament summarily.
Then he sent for the four priests who had had
the effrontery to play better than a Grand Lama, and addressed them as
heathenish men, calling yourselves priests!
Know ye not that to lay
claim to a capacity to do anything better than my predecessor is a
Take that chessboard and, before day dawns upon the
torture chamber, cut it into four equal parts of the same shape, each
containing sixteen perfect squares, with one of the gems in each part!
If in this you fail, then shall other sports be devised for your
special delectation. Go!"
The four priests succeeded in their
apparently hopeless task.
Can you show how the board may be divided
into four equal parts, each of exactly the same shape, by cuts along
the lines dividing the squares, each part to contain one of the gems?