Have you ever played with a Rubik's Cube? You may have mastered the Rubik's cube and are looking for a greater challenge. Try the **puzzle** **game** called **Sudoku**. **Sudoku** is a number placement **puzzle** that requires logic skills and patience. It is a fantastic **puzzle** **game** that can be found in newspapers, books and on **puzzle**s and **game**s websites.

__How do you play Sudoku?__

The **Sudoku** **puzzle** consists of a series of grids. The grids include one large 9 x 9 grid that houses, nine 3 x 3 smaller grids. The purpose of the **game** is to place a number from 1-9 in each of the grid cells. You don't have to worry about finding the sum of the numbers of the rows, columns, like in Magic Squares.

No addition is involved; however there are three conditions that rely on each other and must be followed. Each number 1-9 can appear only once in each column, once in each row, and once in each small 3 x 3 grid. Mathematically, **Sudoku** **puzzle**s are a derivation of Latin Squares.

The famous mathematician Leonard Euler created Latin Squares. They are a prevalent part of discrete math. Basically, a Latin Square consists of an n x n table filled with numbers, letters, or symbols. Each symbol can only appear exactly once in each row and exactly once in each column. **Sudoku** **puzzle**s take the Latin Square one step further with the 3 x 3 smaller grid constraints. The fact that you have to make sure that each small 3 x 3 grid contains each number 1-9 only once significantly increases the complexity of the **puzzle**.

**Sudoku** **puzzle**s come in varying levels of difficulty. The amount of numbers given initially in the 9 x 9 matrix varies. One would think that the more numbers you are given initially, the easier the **puzzle** would be to solve. This is not always the case because the "placement" of the numbers has a profound effect on the complexity of the **puzzle**.

__Where did Sudoku puzzles originate?__

**Sudoku** is the Japanese word for "placement **puzzle**". **Sudoku** swept Japan in the mid-1980's. Before that, however, a **puzzle** constructor in the United States named Howard Garnes created the first **puzzle** of this type in 1979. It was called "Number Place" instead of **Sudoku**. It was published in the Dell Magazine Math **Puzzle**s and Logic Problems.

__How do you solve a Sudoku puzzle?__

Good question! The key is to have patience and use your logic skills. Don't just use a trial and error method. Many players construct their own **puzzle** solving techniques and methods, which they share in **Sudoku** player online forums.

You can start anywhere in the **puzzle**, but as a beginner start by focusing on the top three smaller 3 x 3 grids. Look at the initial numbers and start with the number "1". Check to see if a "1" appears in the other two smaller 3 x 3 grids. Then find cells in these smaller grids where you can possibly place a "1" while still adhering to the rules. You will also need to take into consideration 3 x 3 grids that are attached to the given grid. It is like dancing on eggshells, but the key is to look for patterns. Logically, you need to prove why a number should go in a certain cell.

**Sudoku** is a clever **puzzle** **game** that will sometimes make you feel like you are going around in circles. However, practicing on different **puzzle**s will help you to understand certain techniques that work and those that lead you to a dead end. The beauty of the **game** is that there are a great number of **Sudoku** **puzzle**s to solve. Time yourself. Many **puzzle** solvers can finish a **puzzle** in 10 to 30 minutes. Get out your stopwatch and see how fast you can solve a **Sudoku** **puzzle**.

Steve is a member of the GrandMatrix team. They provide a broad range of **game**s and **puzzle** articles and reviews. Read more articles, download and play the latest PC **game**s for free plus enjoy thousands of user submitted **puzzle**s, quizzes and word **game**s at GrandMatrix Free **Game** Downloads

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