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How to Play Numbrix


The Genius Creator of Numbrix
Numbrix is the creation of Marilyn vos Savant who, aside from being the weekly author of Parade's "Ask Marilyn" column, happens to have the world's highest recorded IQ.
Numbrix is the creation of Marilyn vos Savant who, aside from being the weekly author of Parade's "Ask Marilyn" column, happens to have the world's highest recorded IQ.
Image courtesy of Jim Bastardo

Numbrix creator Marilyn vos Savant just so happens to have recorded the highest IQ in the world -- an achievement that helped lead to her gig at the magazine. In the 1950s, at the tender age of 10, the St. Louis-born vos Savant correctly answered every question on the adult Stanford-Binet IQ test, which translated into an astoundingly high IQ of 228. It wasn't until much later -- 1985, in fact -- that she was recognized by Guinness World Records for having the highest recorded IQ, a category Guinness eventually removed because of worries that intelligence tests were too disparate to allow for just one record holder [source: Knight].

For more than two decades now, in her "Ask Marilyn" column, vos Savant has answered questions of almost every type imaginable from readers, including whether people who live at high elevations sunburn easily because they're closer to the sun and the far more loaded question of whether men are smarter than women [source: Parade].

In the early 1990s, vos Savant and her column received a flood of attention because of her answer to the so-called "Monty Hall Dilemma," in which a reader painted the scenario about being on a game show where contestants would have the choice to open one of three doors, with only one door hiding a prize behind it. The reply vos Savant gave created uproar amongst many Ph.D. mathematicians: Rather than saying each door had a one in three chance of concealing a prize, she instead said the host's prompting about which door to open influenced the outcome. As many humbled mathematicians who had written her angry letters would later realize, vos Savant was right [source: Knight].

According to vos Savant, she created Numbrix partly for her readers and partly for herself. "I developed the puzzle to offer readers an enjoyable diversion that would exercise their fluid intelligence (meaning: logic plus memory) at the same time," she says. "But the real fun for me was constructing every puzzle by hand -- no real Numbrix puzzles are generated by a computer -- and proofing it the same way to create puzzles that had unique solutions."

Read on to learn some tips on solving Numbrix and how it's more than just a game.