Puzzle of the Matches

A friend of mine emptied a box of matches on the table and divided them into three heaps, while we stood around him wondering what he was going to do next.

He looked up and said ‘well friends, we have here three uneven heaps. Of course you know that a match box contains altogether 48 matches. This I don’t have there are in each heap’.

‘What do you want us to do?’ one of the men shouted.

‘Look well, and think. If take off as many matches from the first heap as there are in the second and add them to the second, and then take as many from the second as there are in the third and add them to the third, and lastly if take I as many from the third as there are in the first and add them to the first – then the heaps will all have equal number of matches.’

As well stood there puzzled he asked, ‘Can you tell me how many were there originally in each heap?’

Can you?

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Vineet Patawari

Hi, I'm Vineet Patawari. I fell in love with numbers after being scared of them for quite some time. Now, I'm here to make you feel comfortable with numbers and help you get rid of Math Phobia!

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