(Note: Being a Japanese game, it is spelt and pronounced in English in more than one way – as Suduko, Sudoku, Su doku, etc. Publishers and Newspapers prefer ‘Sudoku’; so, do web sites. And so, does this article.)
As we all know, this game that has captured the imagination of millions worldwide. It is much more than a mere pastime. It provides intellectual challenge and emotional self esteem.
Senior citizens play it to slow their aging process. Parents encourage their children to play it to develop their logical thinking. Math teachers want students play it to remove their phobia for numbers. Even pre-school kids can take to it, substituting symbols, shapes or colors for the numbers 1 to 9. Some employers even use it in selection process.
Contrary to popular belief among newbies, solving these puzzles doesn’t require any mathematical calculations. It just needs us to learn a bit of jugglery with placement of numbers. In fact, this is precisely the reason for its universal appeal. After you’ve learn to solve them, the next challenge is how to solve them fast, the way expert solvers do.
You don’t want to be left behind, do you?
Believe me,… You could learn to solve every one of these puzzles in under 5 minutes flat. Even the very difficult ones. No tall claim this. (I presume you already know the rules of the game. If you don’t, learn them first.)
To begin with, there are 2 broad approaches to solving Sudoku:
(i) The Conventional Method, and
(ii) The Possibility Matrix Method.
Preferably learn both. You could find suitable resources by Googling for these methods.
Solving them faster is a different ball game. More advanced techniques or more practice won’t help much. But with specific strategies and workouts, it is possible for even average players to double (or even triple or multiple) their solving speed. And most of us could progress to solve most puzzles in 5 minutes flat!
There are 22 secret tips we must learn, if we want to solve them fast, the way champs do.
I’ll discuss some of the important tips here.
o Reflexes play an important part in your solving speed. You can improve your reflexes with specific, well-designed exercises.
o There are a few important patterns; once you learn them well and can identify them at first sight, you can solve them easily in no time.
o Frequency of occurrence of numbers in the puzzle provides a key to select the right cells to tackle first. Learning how to do this will help solve them faster.
o Solving the puzzles in certain sequences leads to speedy solving, while other sequences slow you down. Learning the sequences (order of priority) of application of the techniques is another key to improving speed
o We normally tend to move our eyeballs lazily and in wrong ways. Those who have learnt speed reading techniques will know the importance of learning to move our eyeballs rapidly, and in the right ways. Once we master this skill, we’ll be able to zip through any puzzle quickly. Exercises will help us master this skill.
o We should learn to kick the habit of double-checking the cells we’ve already completed. Most of us do this, consciously or unconsciously. We should learn to solve the cells right the first time, and do away with the time-wasting habit of double checking.
Interestingly, even beginners can learn to solve most puzzles as fast as experts. This is because speed of solving has less to do with the more advanced techniques. True, the difference will tell when solving the more difficult puzzles, but these are generally fewer and far between, anyway.
Learn to solve these faster, and prove to the world that you can do it too!