My cousins and I have a annual egg breaking tournament. First, each of us gets a hard boiled egg. Then, in a bracket tournament style, a pair of us face off in an egg breaking round: one person holds their egg, and their opponent smashes their own egg into the first's egg. Whoever's egg shell stays unbroken wins that round, and moves on, and the other person is eliminated.

This goes on in the regular tournament style, until one of us is declared the champion, and receives fame, glory, and a year's worth of bragging rights.

So my question is: what is the optimal strategy to win this game? Specifically:

  • Do I want to be the smasher or the smashee?
  • How tightly or loosely should I hold my egg?
  • If I'm smashing, which part of my egg should I use.
  • If I'm getting smashed, which part of the egg should I try to get hit?
  • What angle should I use to smash when I'm the smasher?
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you have a choice, you want the impact on the pointed end of the egg. $\endgroup$
    – LDC3
    Mar 22, 2015 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ My guess is that you need to boil (or hold) your egg such that the air pocket inside is far from the impact point. If you can arrange for it, put the air pocket on a side (orient the egg pointing sidewise whilst boiling), and use the pointy bit for smashing. Then the thin shell is supported by hard-boild egg white, and you use it where its curvature and hence stiffness and impact strength are greatest. $\endgroup$
    – user73762
    Mar 22, 2015 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @pyramids: In my experience the air pocket is fixed to the shell at the blunt end of the egg and cannot be moved by cooking the egg on its side. Otherwise I agree that trying to avoid the air pocket is surely good. Also I've heard that eggs from younger hens generally have a thicker shell. $\endgroup$
    – Emil
    Mar 22, 2015 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Emil Sounds like you would make a good contestant for egg smashing. $\endgroup$
    – user73762
    Mar 22, 2015 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @pyramids: I just like to eat hardboiled eggs and I watch German children's TV where this topic has been discussed (though not the physics of it). ;) $\endgroup$
    – Emil
    Mar 22, 2015 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


If you want to smash another person's egg, you simply need a firm grip around the base of the egg (the wide end) and attack with the narrow end of the egg pointed at the other person's egg. The science behind this is the physics of pressure $$ P=F/A $$ P for pressure, F for force and A for area. When the narrow end of your egg hits the side of another egg 2 things happen:

  1. The narrowness of your end will make sure that even though you're applying the same force as you would otherwise, the egg that you are smashing will be more likely to smash with this added pressure.
  2. The shell behind the narrow end adds more support to it, much like the way that a pyramid's shape helps it not fall down. This should help prevent your own egg from smashing as you hit the other.
  • $\begingroup$ I don't really see how the pressure can be different, as both the force $F$ and the contact area $A$ will be the same for both eggs. Could you elaborate on the concrete physics of your reasoning? $\endgroup$
    – Emil
    Mar 22, 2015 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ I mean compared to the side of the egg. If you take the side of your egg and smash it into the side of your opponents egg, then with the same force you are applying less pressure and therefore doing less damage with your egg. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2015 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, sure. I understand that using the pointed end you apply higher pressure to your opponents egg and do more damage. But at the same time your doing more damage to your own egg. So, based on the pressure arguments, it's not obvious to me why this is beneficial. $\endgroup$
    – Emil
    Mar 22, 2015 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ That's where the second point is useful, the structure of the egg makes the narrow end stronger. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2015 at 23:00

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