Associative Magic Squares


Every pair of cells symmetrically opposite from the center is a complementary pair,
for example, (a,a), (b,b) in these order 4 and order 5 patterns:


AssociativeSquares makes these squares. It uses the methods outlined below. Associative squares can also be made with MagicSquares, the CompleteSquare utility, and MagicSquaresSODLS.

Order5Special makes all the order 5 associative squares.

Odd Order

These squares can be made with the Siamese method. See "Demanding the square is associative" in math behind the Siamese method.

There are 48,544 order 5 associative magic squares.

Singly-Even Order

There are no associative magic squares of singly-even order.


This was shown by C. Planck (1919). See reference.

A proof similar to that of Planck can be given directly for associative squares, (without involving pandiagonals). Let n be the order of the square, m = n/2, and Σ the magic sum. Consider a 4k+2, k≥1, square where (a A), (b B), ... are complement pairs and W, X, Y are the sums of square quarters:

  Summing rows:             W + X = mΣ
  Summing columns:          W + Y = mΣ
  Summing complement pairs: X + Y = mΣ

Thus, W = X = Y = mΣ/2 = 2m⁴ + m²/2 which cannot be, because if m is odd, m²/2 is fractional.


There are singly-even magic squares in which only four complement pairs are not center symmetric. AssociativeSquares makes these squares based on Conway's LUX method.

To get near-associative squares of order n = 4k+2:

where, for example, L' is the symmetric complement of L.

Using L, U, X, and their complements makes a square that is associative, except for the center 2x2, but not magic. A little adjustment in the middle row and column of the pattern makes the square magic with only four complement pairs not symmetric. The changed blocks are indicated in blue. Possible patterns for n = 6, 10, 14, 18 are:

Orders 6, 14, 22, 30, ... and 10, 18, 26, 34, ... have similar patterns, (note the different middle letter).

Doubly-Even Order

See "Method of constructing a magic square of doubly-even order" in Magic square.

There are 48 order 4 associative magic squares. These are TYPE III in the classification by Dudeney. See references.


Associative squares remain associative, not only under Transform 1 and Transform 2, but by swapping only the described rows or columns. So, from each even order associative square, the total number of resulting squares is:


For odd order, the number is that for order n - 1.


         Order     Transforms1_2All    Swap Rows or Columns Only
       --------   ------------------  ---------------------------
         4,  5                  4                        16
             7                 24                       576
         8,  9                192                    36,864
            11              1,920                 3,686,400         
        12, 13             23,040               530,841,600


"Associative magic square"

Conway, John H. "Conway's LUX method for magic squares"'s_LUX_method_for_magic_squares

Dudeney, Henry E. "Magic Square Problems"

Dudeney, Henry E. "Magic Square Problems"
, page 287.

Heinz, Harvey "Order 4 Magic Squares" 12 Groups

Hospel, Ton "The math behind the Siamese method of generating magic squares"


Weisstein, Eric W. "Associative Magic Square." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.