This article presents a simple yet elegant pattern recognizer based on a dynamic node-splitting scheme for the self-organizing map that can adapt its structure as well as its weights. The scheme makes use of a structure adaptation capability to place the nodes of prototype vectors into the pattern space accurately so as to make the decision boundaries as close to the class boundaries as possible. In order to show the performance of the proposed scheme, experiments with the unconstrained handwritten digit database of Concordia University in Canada were conducted. The proposed method for an incremental formation of feature maps is 96.05 percent of the recognition rate. In view of the elegant simplicity of the approach, the reported performance is remarkable and can stand up to one of the best results reported in the literature with the same database.