Sudoku is a great brain exercise that doesn’t use mathematics. The most common format of the sudoku puzzle is the 9×9 grid, and the objective of the puzzle is to fill the grid with the numbers 1 through 9 in such a way that each row, column.
The more numbers you see on your sudoku puzzle, the easier it is to complete. But what happens when you encounter fewer numbers? Here are some tips on how to win:
Look for clusters or lines of numbers
One similarity between 2048 and sudoku is that you will look for clusters of numbers in the grid. In 2048, however, you will look for identical numbers to add up while in sudoku you are supposed to look for clusters and figure out what numbers are needed to complete the 3×3 grid.
An easier way to add the correct numbers in a sudoku puzzle is to look at the rows and columns and see which ones are missing. However, you also have to look for adjacent rows and columns to make sure no numbers will be repeated. Keep in mind that rows, columns, and 3×3 units should only contain one of each number from 1 to 9. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as it seems.
Cross-hatching is a technique where you look for similar numbers in two rows and columns and highlight a line to cross those numbers. After you have done so, find the cell that isn’t highlighted and put the same number you started with. It doesn’t matter how far the two numbers are to each other, cross-hatching will always work.
There are also instances where a single-digit cross-hatching is possible, but it usually happens in puzzles where there are plenty of numbers already. If you start a puzzle with only a few numbers, just look for rows and columns that have at least three given numbers on them. If you’re lucky, you can already cross-hatch.
Trial and error
Sometimes, sudoku puzzles present two possible cells where a number can be placed. If you are faced with a situation like this, write down all possible combinations of numbers and eliminate the ones that won’t fit.
The trial and error technique is called pencil marking when used in printed sudoku puzzles. In this technique, small numbers are written on each cell so that it will be easier for the solver to figure out what sequence works. Some digital sudoku puzzles also have this feature.
Unlike 2048 where you just have to add up numbers and match similar tiles, sudoku presents a challenge that tickles your brain. Deductive reasoning is a great skill to have, and playing sudoku will help develop that ability if you play it regularly, quickly, and with fewer numbers. Try looking for a sudoku puzzle book or download an app to get started on the fun!