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How to Play Sudoku Puzzles

Updated on May 16, 2014

"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.

Sudoku for PSP
Sudoku for PSP

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!

Sudoku with Candidate Numbers
Sudoku with Candidate Numbers

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.

Getting Help

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! Sudoku
Go! Sudoku

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.

Do you know how to solve sudoku puzzles?

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    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Sounded like you had fun with your son ! :) It's fun reading your experience to play this Sudoku game.

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 7 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks, devin for the sudoku guide. It's quite helpful.

    • profile image

      devin 7 years ago

      No erasing is good, but there is not as much freedom as a pencil. Making any style marks you want anywhere around the board can be very useful. And if you're looking for ways to increase your sudoku skill, check out a guide like

    • profile image

      Scott 7 years ago

      Good on you for taking on the challenge. My kids crush me every time I take the controller:) I'm learning to be a very good sport.

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      I agree with you lovelypaper. That is why I also liked playing sudoku on PSP - no erasing, just click and you can change your moves or answers. Thanks for reading this hub.

    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 8 years ago from Virginia

      The only way I like to play this frustrating game is on my son's DSI. I hate all the erasing!

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for reading this hub mike.

    • mike j adams profile image

      mike j adams 8 years ago from Chicago

      Great hub, and a very smart and pleasant game to play.


    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Alta. Thanks for sharing that tip for those who have numbers phobia and for being my fan.

    • Alta5656 profile image

      Alta5656 8 years ago from Davao City, Philippines

      Hey Chin, a friend of mine who's living in Malaysia first introduced Sodoku to me. I found it difficult at first. I learned to love the game though I'm a scrabble addict. The easiest way to teach the game to a newbie (it is always difficult to teach those who hate numbers, just seeing them would suddenly give them headache)is to replace the numbers 1-9 with signs, like a star,triangle,circle,asterisk,etc. until they'll understand that numbers are only kind'a representative. It is easier this way. More power and God bless. By the way fan mo na ako.

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for the feedback Money Glitch. I actually just added the video last week.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Interesting and mind challenging game; the video helped to bring the strategy of the game together. Thanks for sharing!

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks beth811 for reading this hub. I still need lots of practice playing Sudoku. I do get to play when I have free time. It's really addicting but my kids' beckoning always breaks my momentum. God bless.

    • beth811 profile image

      beth811 8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      When I got to see your hub title, I quickly clicked on it because I am addicted to sudoku. If you solve even just one sudoku a day, few months later, you will not go for the easy or medium challenge anymore as you become an expert on it.

      As for me, I always go for the hard one now.

      Nice hub! Keep on solving sudoku! It really stimulates your brain.

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks syam.

    • syam17 profile image

      syam17 8 years ago from Indonesia

      nice info sis.. :)

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      DeBorrah, thanks for reading my hub. I do hope that you'd find Sudoku fun, too. God bless.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Chin Chin,

      Very good hub! You have perked my interest in Sudoku.

      Thank you for sharing!


    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Glad to see u drop by. Hope you get to finish a puzzle when you do try again. God bless.

    • blessedmom profile image

      blessedmom 8 years ago from USA

      I tried Sudoku a few times and have given up. Nice tips. I will try to use them during my next try. Thanks.

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you keira7 for the comment. Go write your first hub also. Good luck.

    • keira7 profile image

      keira7 8 years ago

      Very nice hub, very good work. I haven't started on my hub yet but I hope it will be as good as yours. Thank you and good luck.

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you all for reading my hub. You encouraged me. That made my day!

    • Aqua profile image

      Aqua 8 years ago from California

      Very nice job on your first hub! Sudoku can be quite challenging for sure.

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 8 years ago from USA

      Great job!

    • Luciendasky profile image

      Luciendasky 8 years ago from Florence, OR

      Very good. I love sudoku, but I don't think I have ever gotten one done in 11 min (I have to think everything through). Well done though - and I am sure you and your son will enjoy playing for a long time :D

    • choxter profile image

      choxter 8 years ago

      Very well written and easy to follow