Meet the Puzzle Maker: Allyn Kahn, Creator of Mentagy

AllynAllyn Kahn is a long time Chess coach turned award winning game maker, best known for the Mentagy Puzzle.  Allyn has exhibited  at some of our past events and we’re happy he’s joining us again this year.  We asked him to tell us more about what he does and what he’s bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.


GCMC: Tell us about yourself and your work.

AK: I am a Chess Expert with more than 30 years of college teaching experience. Over the mentagy puzzleyears I have taught Math, Logic and Philosophy. I presently teach Critical Thinking online at Champlain College in Vermont, and teach Chess in after school enrichment programs in Tampa Bay.

A few years ago I invented the Mentagy Puzzle ™ to help my chess students. It turns out that the puzzle is popular with all ages from 8 to 88.

allyn game awardThe Mentagy Puzzle™ is easy to learn and entertaining. It has already won several awards, including the Creative Child Award, Academic Choice Award, and The Tillywig Brain Child Award.

GCMC: Why did you make it?

AK: My original motivation for developing Mentagy was because I was looking for a game that was simpler than chess. I wanted something that still had enough complexity so that I could use it to teach basic strategic concepts common to many games. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I ended up making up my own puzzle game.mentagy

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important?

AK: All my adult life I have been an educator. So Mentagy, like chess, is just another means to teach an important set of life skills that I am passionate about, like logical reasoning, creative problem solving and critical thinking.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

AK: I will be bringing the Mentagy book and the Mentagy Puzzle Box. People will be able to try out Mentagy, which will be on sale at our table. A second Mentagy book is in the works.

GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth?

family with puzzleAK: Absolutely! You can try out the Mentagy Puzzle ™ on one of our hardwood box sets, or in one of the newsprint versions in Suncoast News. The Tampa Bay paper has been carrying the Mentagy Puzzle ™ each week for more than two years.

I will also have some chess sets set up for people to play a game against a friend, or you can challenge me.

GCMC: Why do you think Gulf Coast MakerCon is important?

AK: Gulf Coast MakerCon is a great place to witness creativity in action! Seeing what other people are doing will inspire you to tap into your own inventive spirit, whether it is in the field of music, art, photography, games, robots, or technology.


Visit  to learn more and try out the online version of Mentagy. You can meet Allyn in person, and try out Mentagy for yourself, at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.

Tickets button

Advanced tickets are $2 off gate admission through April 17th



This entry was posted in Education, Gaming, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, inventors, MakerCon, Makers, STEM and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.