Review: How To Solve Every Sudoku Puzzle

Published on Sunday, April 16, 2006 in , , , ,

How To Solve Every Sudoku PuzzleIf, like me, you've been driven to distraction and near-madness by Sudoku, you've probably been looking for more effective methods for solving the puzzle.

I'm glad to say that I've finally found an approach for Sudoku that suits me. If you've been to my Mental Gymnasium, you'll know that I like approaches for mental tasks that are simple, straightforward, and minimize the number of mental constructs required to perform them.

There is just such an approach for Sudoku taught in the How To Solve Every Sudoku Puzzle ebook (PDF, 121 pages) by Harvey Intelm. The first 5 chapters in this ebook cover the basics of Sudoku, as well as the history, benefits and interesting facts of this popular puzzle. Chapter 6, however, is where the real lessons in Sudoku-solving begins.

First, Mr. Intelm introduces a simple standard notation that will be used throughout the rest of the ebook. Next, he does something that makes the rest of the learning much easier. A simpler version of the Sudoku board is described, and used to teach the basic ideas in this solution method. Progressively more complex approaches situations are described in this simplified board, so that you quickly and easily get the techniques down, and understand what kind of situations you may face.

Altogether, there are only four simple techniques taught. With practice, these become relatively simple to apply. Next, these four techniques are arranged into a 7-step process. The simple 7-step process that is taught has a number of advantages. First, the simpler the puzzle, the fewer steps you'll use. Second, if a puzzle is so poorly constructed that it has multiple solutions or even no solution, this approach will let you know. This is how the author is able to claim that he can teach anyone to solve any Sudoku puzzle.

After giving some simplified Sudoku puzzles on which you learn various aspects of the procedure, the author then shows you how to apply what you've learned to normal Sudoku puzzles. The remainder of the book compares the various approaches to solving the puzzles, discusses the merits of computer-assisted solving, and links to Sudoku and Sudoku-related puzzles.

In an earlier entry about Sudoku, I did link to a page describing Sudoku-solving techniques. However, these techniques are never put together in a cohesive framework (at least, in any reference I've ever come across), which can make these techniques frustrating to learn and use.

If you like the approaches I've used in teaching the feats in Grey Matters Mental Gym, I think you'll also appreciate this ebook's approach to solving Sudoku puzzles.

Speaking of the Mental Gym, I'd like to take this moment to announce that, thanks to the good graces of Bin-co, I have now added randomly-generated Sudoku puzzles, which you can solve online, to the Mental Gym, and they are accessible via the workout page!

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