My husband likes sudoku. He’s into numbers while I’m more into words. I prefer crossword and jigsaw puzzles to sudoku. We may have different tastes in games but my husband and I both love a challenge.
Well, it has been years since I last played sudoku. To be perfectly honest, I think I didn’t even finish solving the last one I played. But like I said, I’m gonna give it a shot.
Sudoku: A Magical Number Puzzle
Sudoku is a number puzzle that typically consists of a 9 x 9 grid. The aim of a player is to fill all of the subgrids so that each row and column has numbers from 1 to 9. It is important to note that no number may be repeated in any row or column.Pretty simple? Not really. You need to have the perfect number combination and apply some logic to get the solution.
Many people (myself included) find solving sudoku difficult but stimulating. The great thing is research has found that engaging in cognitively stimulating leisure activities such as sudoku can improve spatial working memory and episodic memory scores. Working memory is related to immediate perception and language while episodic memory covers autobiographical events (who, what, where, how). Amazing, right? Playing sudoku can actually boost your mental abilities.
Interestingly, sudoku comes in many forms these days. In fact, some use colors and images instead of numbers. You can also solve sudoku puzzles online in various levels of difficulty. Here’s my (futile) attempt at solving a beginner sudoku today:
|Here’s a screenshot of my progress after about 10 minutes of staring at it.1 box down, 8 to go!|
Anyway, rather than fuss over my slow progress, I searched online for easy ways to solve a sudoku puzzle in a heartbeat and a half. Some tips were shared by avid players and sudoku sites while others are from pros.
Always play by the rules
In classic sudoku, you need to remember that you can’t use a number from 1-9 twice in any row or column but it is allowed diagonally. However, other variants may have additional rules you need to know.
Fill the subgrids
To make eliminating numbers easier, write all numbers in every single sudoku subgrid. Use a pencil and start erasing numbers that are already there.
Use imaginary lines
According to Alvin Ian Chan, a sudoku grandmaster, using imaginary lines that run horizontally and vertically allows him to correctly place numbers into the boxes. This way he can easily visualize which number hasn’t been used in the boxes and solve the puzzle quicker.
Target the middle box
One of the strategies shared by sudoku enthusiasts on Quora is to start with the middle box as it is often the one with the most numbers filled. This would make it easier for you to choose which ones to use.
This technique involves scanning the sudoku puzzle for easy placement of numbers. You can also divide the puzzle into smaller 3×3 boxes to make things simple.
Hmm, I don’t really know if I’d ever get around to solving my sudoku but at least, I have some handy tips to probably cut my playing time in half. I hope my little daughter naps a bit longer too.
How about you? Do you like playing sudoku and other brain games? What strategies have you used?