About Sam Loyd

For almost half a century, until his death in 1911, Sam Loyd was the undisputed puzzle king of the United States. He created thousands of puzzles including math, word play and cut-out shape puzzles that entertained people of all ages.

Boyhood Days

Sam Loyd was born on the 30th of January 1841 in Philadelphia. His early talents included mimicry, magic and ventriloquism. He could imitate anything, from the sound of a musical instrument, to the cry of an animal, and he managed to keep the neighbourhood in a continuous uproar wherever he might be. At the age of four, his family moved to New York City.

Chess Days

Sam Loyd began civil engineering studies, but these were soon abandoned for the great game of chess, in which he excelled, and at one time, was ranked 15th in the world. His first chess problem was published by the New York Saturday Courier when he was only fourteen years old. By 1857, at the age of sixteen, he was hailed as the leading American writer of chess problems.

The Puzzle King

Sam Loyd’s puzzle career began in 1868, when he published his first puzzle card, The Pony Puzzle. This was followed by a succession of cards including the Famous Trick Donkeys, and the Get Off The Earth puzzle mystery. In 1896, he published his first puzzle column in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He then went on to publish further columns in many leading newspapers and magazines during his lifetime. 


Sam Loyd passed away at his home in Brooklyn, on the 10th of April 1911. His funeral service was largely attended. Among those present were many well-known newspaper publishers from all over the greater city of New York. Large delegates were also present, from the New York Press Club to the Brooklyn Whist Club, and the Brooklyn Chess Club. Today, Sam Loyd is still regarded as one of the greatest puzzle creators of all time.

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