When I feel the need to relax and for the rare moments when reading won’t do, I solve Sudoku puzzles. I find this number placement game well suited for those times when even reading will lead to unwanted exploration of things in my head. I’ve become quite good at it after years of solving lots of Sudoku puzzles. Here is how you can become an expert in Sudoku in fewer years.
- Buy a good starter puzzle book: I like Su Doku for Dummies by Andrew Heron and Edmund James. Part I of this book teaches the basics rules and presents some good strategies for solving sudoku. Familiarise yourself with the listed strategies and at this level, you will be able to solve the Easy and Tricky puzzles presented in the book.
- Visit the site Sudopedia , read about Sudoku terminology
- On Sudopedia, familiarize yourself with the basic solving techniques : singles, naked and hidden subsets and intersections. You’ve used these techniques to solve puzzles in Su Doku for Dummies. This section just presents the more formal language and science behind each technique
- Learn the intermediate solving techniques: the Fishy solving methods.
- Download a Sudoku computer program. There are several available, all are free and are listed under Sudoku programs on Sudopedia. I’m using SudoCue and I really like it. Another popular program is Simple Sudoku. These programs generate puzzles based on user-defined solving techniques. In this way, a new solver will not have to face a very difficult puzzle.
- Now you are ready for more advanced puzzles. You can purchase any of Will Shortz’s Sudoku puzzle books that contains hard puzzles. There are several. Choose one and solve as many puzzles as you can using the basic and intermediate solving techniques that you’ve learnt. At the stage also, you should be able to tackle puzzles in several newspapers.
- For a special treat and a new level of mastery, purchase Mensa’s Absolutely Nasty Sudoku Level I by Frank Longo. This is a challenging boos but as you work through the puzzle. move onto the next the step
- Learn the advanced solving techniques: Chains and loops, Wings (XY, XYZ, WXYZ), Almost Locked Sets, Aligned Pair Exclusions, etc. Continue to practice on the computer programs and on the Mensa puzzle book.
- Continue with the second book of the Mensa series
- You are an expert by this stage. You can proceed with the third and fourth Mensa book or try your hand at any wickedly difficult puzzle.
This 10-step process will take a while. You should proceed at your own pace and enjoy each puzzle and each step. There are lots of Sudoku books and programs on the market. And also lots of good websites. So dig in. Sudoku is a lot of fun.