The name Sudoku comes from Japan. The name consists of the Japanese characters Su and Doku. The literal meaning is number and single.
However, the game’s origin is Switzerland. Suduko is an ancient number puzzle and one we all enjoy. Today there are many different versions of sudoku.
How to Play Sudoku
This is the more technical part. If you have ever seen a sudoku grid or attempted to play the game, it is self-explanatory. But here it is for those of us who are not quite in the “intuitive” mode.
The classic game has a grid of 81 numbers, 9 spots on the horizontal line and 9 on the vertical. The 81 spot grid is divided into smaller grids of 9 numbers each. Each vertical and horizontal line must contain one of each number from 1 to 9. Each smaller grid of 9 spots can also only contain one of each number from 1 to 9. By deduction, using the numbers that are given in the puzzle, one must figure out where the remaining numbers belong. One mistake and the puzzle will not solve!
There are easy, medium, or advanced games. The difference is the number of clues one is given. A more difficult game may include the diagonal lines as part of the sudoku grid. As in each grid, each diagonal should contain only one number from 1 to 9 per diagonal.
Another variation is using overlapping spots such that the square from one game will be part of a new game. More difficult games use 10 squares instead of 9. The variations are endless. The game often appears to be a picture puzzle rather than a numbers game when the numbers are transformed into pictures.
Let’s add even more difficulty and play killer sudoku. Just as the name says, it is a killer. The same 81 nine blocks, divided into 9 smaller blocks, are used. Some of the blocks are contained in a “cage”. The shape of the cage and the blocks included in the cage are not necessarily in the same 9-number grid. To top it off, each grid gives a number that all of the numbers in the grid must add up to.
This is when a killer sudoku cheat sheet comes in handy. It really is not a cheat sheet as it will not solve the puzzle for you. It simply lists the combination of numbers that can be used within a numbered cage. Talk about going crazy.
For a cage with 4 blocks requiring the numbers to add to 27, one can use the numbers 3789, 4689, or 5679. So instead of having to add up the numbers every time you put a spot in the square, the cheat sheet will list the numbers available. Still, a difficult puzzle to solve.
Where You Can Get Sudoku
A daily game can be found at the New York Times Sudoku. They offer 3 games, easy, medium, and hard.
Los Angeles Times Sudoku has games for easy, medium, hard, expert, and mini. The mini-game contains the number 1 through 6 so it is easier to solve.
Washington Times Sudoku is another place to find a daily game. All the games in the newspapers work the same way. Solve the puzzle and you win.
Competition for Sudoku
Benefits of Playing Sudoku
1. Concentration Improvement
We all need to improve our concentration. When we went to school it was imperative to focus on the subject at hand. It was hard but if it was easy then there would have been no need to practice.
You must use your brainpower to play the game. To solve the puzzle, logic, and concentration are a must. Focus on 9 numbers only. Anything and everything else is a distraction.
Eventually blocking out everything except the numbers becomes paramount. Concentration on everyday concerns will improve. This increase in concentration affects everything in our lives. You will be better capable of performing tasks that require your complete focus. Playing the game will help you in your quest to improve concentration.
3. Sharper Thinking Skills
As your concentration improves, so do your thinking skills. One leads to a better performance in the other skill. Since you must concentrate on solving the puzzle, you must also use logic to find the right answer.
The solution to the puzzles you attempt at the beginning of your sudoku experience will be difficult, even if you are working on an “easy” puzzle. As you solve more and more puzzles, you learn to do so logically and find patterns in the solutions.
The final solution is not random. There is a pattern, although it may appear to be haphazard at first. Over time the pattern emerges as your thinking skills become more refined.
3. Analysis Improvement
As you play sudoku you must see the relationship between the number as well as the row or column it belongs in. Eventually, it will be second nature to just “know” the answer. This method of thinking will just emerge as you employ your concentration and thinking skills.
You probably will not be aware of your improvement in analyzing problems. But the process your brain uses to analyze problems will be enhanced. It will be a great feeling to see the answer as soon as the question is asked. The more you use your brain, the easier it becomes to solve real-world problems.
4. Sense of Accomplishment
Solving a problem, whether hard or easy, leads to a sense of accomplishment. You will feel like you can conquer anything as your sense of well-being also improves. If you can master the puzzle, you can handle issues. You will soon realize that many issues are rather insignificant and do not affect your daily life.
An old saying says success leads to success. You know you can do it and that is all that matters.
5. Anxiety and Stress Relief
This is a paradox. When your brain is stimulated (and not by coffee), it is calm. You can not concentrate on solving the puzzle and at the same time think about your anxiety. Thus anxiety and stress are pushed to the back of your mind instead of being constantly on your mind.
As you are working on the puzzle, all other matters fade into the background of your mind. All anxiety and stress disappear as you concentrate on 9 numbers.
Daily issues will reappear. But when you think more clearly, you realize that perhaps they are not as important as you thought they were. You should be able to face your problems with a clear mind and understanding of what to do.
6. Wholesome Competition
You are only competing against yourself. It is a healthy activity. Every time you are successful at solving a puzzle, your skills increase. The challenge becomes easier with every puzzle. Only you know if you solve the puzzle. The sense of fulfillment is tremendous.
How many times have you heard someone say they beat their personal best? The announcer says that this or that individual beat their personal best in swimming, racing, chess, or anything that one tries to accomplish. You will feel that same sense of accomplishment when you beat your personal best, whether it be the time to solve or the difficulty of the puzzle.
The game can be played on your mobile device. It can be downloaded or played directly on some sites. There are books of sudoku puzzles to purchase. You can play for a few minutes or for hours on end. A puzzle does not have to be completed in one sitting. You can go back to it when you have the time. Not only are you entertained but you are helping to improve every aspect of your life.
Everyone and anyone can play sudoku. It is a self-rewarding activity. You do not need anything special to work the puzzle. It will take your mind off your problems and lead to a sense of accomplishment. It is amazing that there are so many benefits to playing a game.
Try all the levels of sudoku and do not give up if you can not finish a game successfully. There is always time to play again. The rewards will not always be apparent but they are there. No wonder sudoku is so popular. Play sudoku!
The following are a few of the many sites that furnish sudoku games. If one does not suit your fancy, try another one.