The number of possible ways to attach shapes to each other to compose a picture grows very quickly with the number of shapes and the number of different sides they have. Therefore, to simplify a tangram puzzle it is useful to find the placement of at least one or two shapes. Here are two ideas how to start solving a tangram puzzle and how to train before:

- The two big triangles take space and have often only few places where they fit into the black puzzle. Once the two big triangles are placed, the remaining black space is fragmented, thinner and has a structured border so that the placement of some of the smaller shapes becomes clear.
- It is useful to be able to think in terms of larger figures to use them as building blocks. For example, the parallelogram and a small triangle can be attached to built a trapezoid with two right angles next to each other. This trapezoid comes up often within puzzles. Knowing that it can simply be built from a parallelogram and a small triangle saves time. More generally, as a preparation for solving tangram puzzles quickly one can try out all attachments of any two of the seven shapes and remember the resulting figures. Knowing such composed figures by heart will save time in solving the puzzle. The saved time can be used on other contest questions.

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