How to Play Sudoku Puzzles
"I will learn Sudoku." That is what I said to my 7-year old son. You see, he is playing Sudoku in his PSP. He told me that his classmate taught him how to. And he's asking me to play a 2-player game with him. So, I was challenged to learn Sudoku. Allow me to share here in this hub my experience in learning Sudoku.
First Attempt - FAILED!
When I decided to learn Sudoku, I thought it would be easy. In fact, I under estimated the game, so I plunged right in. I borrowed my son's PSP and asked him to open it to one Sudoku puzzle. I looked and looked. I was hoping I could see a logical pattern, but I cannot. The numbers and squares just did not make any sense. Attempt number 1, FAILED!
My mistake. I did not bother to read the instructions or the rules on how to play Sudoku. I assumed that it was going to be easy. If a 7-year old kid can, so can I. I thought I'm pretty good in Math so maybe I can solve it without any help. (Later, I learned that Sudoku is not really about Math.) Kind of proud of me. A BIG NO NO!
Teach Me Sudoku - Tutorial
Rules of Sudoku: Fill the grid so that every row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1-9 with no repeats or clashes.
Choosing the Final Number: Selecting the correct cell involves serious thought. No numbers can clash, so check the cell's active zone (row, column and box) before you place a final number.
Candidate Number: If you are not sure what number to place, make a note with candidate numbers.
Take these basic rules and learn more as you play. You will start to develop your own methods as you become familiar with the rules.
The next time I opened the Sudoku for PSP game, I looked up the main menu and clicked on the "Teach Me Sudoku" option. After going through the tutorial, I still have not completely grasped the idea.
Anyway, I opened next a Training Sudoku puzzle. It is a puzzle with hints called candidate numbers (numbers which are possible answers in each cell or square). I tried to understand how those candidate numbers came about. However, I closed it without finishing to try again sometime later.
The best help I got was when I was watching my son complete a Sudoku puzzle. I kept asking him questions. "How do you know what number to place? You're just guessing!" (I enjoy teasing him.) "No, mommy. I'm thinking. There should no the same number across, down and in the (3x3) box."
You know what? It took me that conversation to really understand how Sudoku goes. It's like a light bulb turned on inside my head. Lesson point: Ask if you don't know. You can learn something even from your child. And "Patience is a virtue."
Go! Mommy - Go! Sudoku
The first Sudoku puzzle I finished took me 53 minutes, then 23 minutes, now 11 minutes. Go! Mommy... More practice...Have fun! (Oh, how I wish to do that except that I have to compete with my 2 sons in using their PSP and I have to juggle my time taking care of 5 kids - Whew!)
I really appreciate using the Go! Sudoku for PSP in this Learn Sudoku Challenge. Technology does make the learning process faster and very child-friendly. This interactive Sudoku even makes my 5-year old daughter enjoy playing the Sudoku training puzzle.
Aside from being able to practice using a Sudoku puzzle with candidate numbers, it also has a built-in coaching. It tells you if the number you put in is wrong and gives you up to 5 chances (depending on level of difficulty) to correct your mistakes. This feature is just not available if you're solving Sudoku on paper.
Go! Sudoku offers lots of puzzles to work on from 5 levels of difficulty, so you can challenge yourself to beat your best time. Not only can you play against yourself but you can also challenge family and friends to play against each other.
One note of caution though especially to kids: Be sure to rest your eyes and hands. Sudoku (same goes for other games) can be very addicting and may cause eye strain and wrist / fingers injury (carpal tunnel syndrome) if played continuously on the PSP.
Friendly Tips on Learning Sudoku
Hooray! I did learn Sudoku and here is my way of doing it:
1. I scan the puzzle and see which portion has the most given and I'll work on that first.
2. I count in my head from 1-9 as I look for the number across, down and in the 3x3 box. If a number is missing, I take a note of it as a candidate number (very easy to add or delete using the PSP).
3. To decide what is the missing number, I look at the candidate numbers. If a number is not a candidate number in other cells, that number surely belongs to that cell. If there are 2 or more the same candidate numbers in 2 cells, which makes it impossible to decide which number goes where, I leave it blank and solve other cells first. Then when almost all the necessary cells are filled up, I go back to the former cell and decide the correct number.
4. Be patient. Be focused. It takes discipline to be able to learn and solve Sudoku puzzles. But at the same time don't forget to have fun. For me, playing Sudoku is for exercising my brain and for helping me relax and relieve stress.
Well, that is actually all there is in my method - very amateur? I'm open to more suggestions. Do fill up my comments section if you have anything noteworthy to contribute. Thank you for reading this article.