# How to create 3 squares from this arrangement of matches?

There's a matches riddle that I can't quite solve. Given the following layout (a 4 matches plus sign connected to a 8 matches square):

 __|__
__|__
|     |
|__ __|


I need to transform this into exactly 3 squares by moving 5 matches only. It's driving me crazy, so if you know how to solve this, please share.

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Do you mean the final result has to be exactly 3 squares, or does the final result only have to contain 3 squares? – Zev Chonoles Oct 14 '11 at 0:41
@Zeb I meant exactly. I fixed the question to show this. – Maayan Oct 14 '11 at 0:46

__|__
|__ __
|     |
|__ __|

__|__
|__ __
|   __|
__ __|

__|__
|__ __
|   __|
|__|

__|__
|__|__
__|
|__|

__
__|__
|__|
__|
|__|

 __
|__|__
|__|
__
|__|


Or do you mean?

   __|__
__|__
|     |
|__ __|

   __|__
__|__
|__   |
|   __|

   __|__
__|__
|__|  |
__|

   __|__
__|__|
|__|
__|

   __
__|__
__|__|
|__|
|

   __
|__|__
__|__|
|__|


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it seems like there are 2 missing matches in your answer... And yes it should be exactly 5 moves. – Maayan Oct 14 '11 at 0:51
I miss interpreted your post. I think this fixes it. – Bill Cook Oct 14 '11 at 1:04
the second one is the correct one. Thanks! I was trying to solve this for a long time but kept missing this solution. Was this the result of trail and error, or did you come up with a way to systematically solve this? – Maayan Oct 14 '11 at 1:44
Realizing you can only move 5 sticks really limits which ones you can move. Like creating a new square from nothing would use up 4 moves! Also, you can't get exactly 3 squares if two of them share a side. Keeping these things in mind really limited what could be done. I'll leave both answers up. The other one is a nice puzzle too :) – Bill Cook Oct 14 '11 at 1:55