Monday, October 17, 2011

Do You Sudoku?

I have always loved numbers; and MATH was my favorite subject in school.  A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Sudoku puzzles.  I have been solving some here and there, but recently, I developed more interest in this past time.  Do you think I am hooked?
What is Sudoku?
Sudoku is a number puzzle.  Numbers from 1-9 are placed into a grid of 9x9 squares so that each number only appears one time in each row.  Additionally, each 3x3 grid also allows each number to appear once.  The challenge is that each given puzzle shows only a certain random amount of numbers.  There are three levels of difficulty where the more difficult puzzle has less numbers to start with.  The creator of the puzzle provides only a partially completed grid, which allows only one solution.
There are no special math skills required to solve the puzzle.  Only logic and persistence, if nothing else, you can spend hours with this intellectual entertainment.  Like everything else, practice brings better and faster results.
Some people like Jean-Paul Delahaye, call Sudoku a science.
“Solving a Sudoku puzzle requires no math, not even arithmetic. Even so, the game poses a number of intriguing mathematical problems.”
~ JEAN-PAUL DELAHAYE , French mathematician, born 1952.

There are several stories of the history of Sudoku.  It is an American invention but has a Japanese name.  The word Sudoku means "single number" in Japanese. It seems to be developed based on  the tradition of magic squares which first appeared in China during the 7th century BC.  From there the information traveled through India and the Arabic world.
In modern times, during the 18th century, a Swiss mathematician named Leonard Euler, put together number puzzles and transformed magic squares into Latin squares.
The prototype of modern Sudoku was the puzzle “Number Place” created by Howard Garns.  In 1979, Garns was an American architect who had retired from the Daggett architecture firm in Indianapolis.
A retired Hong Kong judge, Wayne Gould, was a fanatic Sudoku fan.  At the end of 2004, he developed a computer program which generates Sudoku puzzles of all different difficulty levels for which he didn’t asked any money.  The rest is history; you find them now in every newspaper, magazine and online.  There are even championships and international competitions.

Benefits of Sudoku

Sudoku has truly become an intercultural game.  It is the puzzle for everybody, old and young, men, women and children of all educational ranks.  It is a solitary game, and can be played on paper, online or just about anywhere.

* It helps with critical thinking and develops logic.
* It helps to develop patience because sometimes the solution is not as obvious.
* It helps with focus and organization; and also challenges creativity, if you want to develop faster and easier solutions. 
* Some researchers believe that it can slow the progression of brain disorder conditions such as Alzheimer's.
* It helps to develop both parts of the brain; the left side supports the logic, and the right side helps with the creative juices.
* It is called "the Rubik's cube of the 21st century" and is the "fastest growing puzzle in the world".
Have you played Sudoku today?
 My favorite sites for FREE Sudoku puzzles: down load for print and online.

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