People who play Sudoku know that the game demands as much dexterity and technique as setting up your defenders and midfielders. Intuition helps, but knowing how to crack that stubborn puzzle and rise to Sudoku greatness involves knowing the intimate tricks of Sudoku gameplan.
Sudoku is basically a logic-based placement game that requires you to exercise your rational faculties. The puzzle usually consists a 9x9 grid that is in turn divided into 3x3 sub grids, also known as “boxes”, “regions” or “blocks”. Some of the cells are supplied with numerals that are called “givens”.
You are required to fill up the rest of the cells, one digit in each, so that each row, column or block contains the numbers 1-9 exactly once.
Sudoku isn’t a mathematical puzzle. The numerals in most Sudoku puzzles are used only for the sheer convenience - they can be replaced by alphabets, colors or even symbols.
Tips on how to solve even the trickiest Sudoku puzzle stress on the three-pronged approach of scanning, marking up and analyzing. As you familiarize yourself with this systematic and strategic gameplan and use it while you play, you will yourself notice the improvement in your speed and performance.
You start your Sudoku play with scanning and employing it in between the analysis phases throughout the game. It consists two techniques, cross-hatching and counting.
Cross-hatching requires you to check a row or a column at a time for possibilities that a particular digit can occur in a line of a region. Counting, more specifically counting in reverse, is the process of checking the region, row or column of a puzzle to determine what values it cannot contain. The latter method is more commonly employed in tricky Sudoku puzzles.
When you play the game at an advanced level, you will frequently find players using the “contingency” method while scanning. This involves trimming down the number’s location from a region, row or column to at most two or three cells. When these cells are positioned within the same row, column or a region, they can be used during the cross-hatching or counting processes.
You can ascertain the degree of difficulty of a Sudoku puzzle by the number of contingencies the gameplan requires. The more the contingencies, the tougher the puzzle.
Many people who play Sudoku find it convenient to go about the analysis phase aided by some kind of marking up. This is actually jotting down the prospective numerals against each cell. You can either do this with dots, wherein the position of a dot within the puzzle cell indicates the digit or if space provides, with subscripts. This way you don’t need to cram your head with details of which numbers go where.
The analysis part of a Sudoku game is going to be your clinching move. It consists two techniques, “candidate elimination” and “what-if”.
“Candidate elimination” relies on the concept of “matched cells”. Cells are matched within a row, column or region if “only” they contain the same set of numerals. Thus you safely do away with these particular numerals in the other “unmatched” cells of that row, column or region.
The “what-if” method relies on a bit of guesswork. You have to speculate which one amongst two candidate numerals in a cell would fit the bill and then the above steps are repeated till you solve the puzzle.
When you play Sudoku, you can be rest assured that a master gameplan involving all these three methods will usher to greatness.