The past couple of years, i have noticed the new fad, obsession of playing “Sudoku”; the logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle. It got me curious to such a game, and thought of trying it myself, ending up being addicted to it and collecting the sudoku puzzles from the newspapers. But i got more curious in whom invented or created such a mind raveling game, so here is some historical info i found out about this amazing game 😀 The Objective of the game is to fill a 9*9 grid so that each column, each row and each of the nine 3*3 blocks contains all the digits from 1 to 9, only one time each and offcourse the puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid ;).
First, what does sudoku means? “Su” means number in Japanese, and “Doku” refers to the single place on the puzzle grid that each number can fit into. Secondly we come to who created it, and all i can say is that many people contributed to the last versions of Sudoku we have now 😀
The 18th century Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler apparently developed the concept of “Latin Squares” where numbers in a grid appear only once, across and up and down.
In the late 1970’s, Dell Magazines in the US began publishing what we now call Sudoku puzzles using Euler’s concept with a 9 by 9 square grid. They called it Number Place (the earliest known example of modern Sudoku), and it was developed by an independent puzzle maker, Howard Garnes, a 74 year old retired architect.
Later in the 1980s, Nikoli popularized it via a Japanese puzzle company, firstly naming it as “Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru” meaning “the digits must be single” but in the end it was abbreviated to Sudoku by Maki Kaji. Hence; the Sudoku, number puzzle became very popular in Japan.
In 1997, a retired 59 year old, Hong Kong judge, Wayne Gould, who came across a Sudoku puzzle in a Japanes bookshop, which intrigued him to create a computer program to produce such puzzles quickly, a process which took him 6 years to finish :S. He then promoted his idea and his generated puzzles to the British Newspaper, “The Times” and the first game was publishes on November 12, 2004. Within a few months, other British newspapers began publishing their won Sudoku puzzles. 😀
The rapid rise of Sudoku in Britain from relative obscurity to a front-page feature in national newspapers attracted commentary in the media and parody. Sudoku’s popularity crossed the oceans from Japan to Britain to Greece and across the Atlantic ocean to the United States of America, where by the summer of 2005 major US newspapers as the New York Post, the San Fransisco Chronicle and USA Today published Sudoku puzzles to theirs readers like they would with daily crossword puzzles. Its interesting to see that one of the oldest media in the form of paper (newspapers) is the one that popularized and introduced the (hi-tech) computer generated Sudoku puzzles to the world.
Thats all i got and found out about Sudoku’s history, but i learned more data about Sudoku puzzles and that many newspapers recognizing the different psychological appeals of easy and difficult puzzles to readers, that they actually published both of the grids next to each others for players to tackle :D. Most of us know the most common form, which is the 9*9 grid .
I have found out that there are many other variants of the game:
- Most of us know the most common form, which is the 9*9 grid.
- 4 * 4 Sudoku with 2 by 2 subsections are simpler, fun and easier for younger players.
- 5 by 5 games
- 6 by 6 games
- 7 by 7 games
- For the truly addicted (like me), there are even 16 by 16 grids, not to mention a 25 by 25 grid apparently offered by Japanese game developer Nikoli. But some of the hard ones, i warn you, need computational skills :D.
- Sudoku puzzles using letters and symbols, some even spelling words in their final solutions are also becoming available.
Whatever the shape or the how large the grid or how difficult the puzzles, Sudoku is definitely a fun and challenging way for us to make our brain work, and to train our logical and deductive abilities. Like my mum used to tell me that reading and solving puzzles and keeping your brain working may actually help to prevent or decrease the possibilities of a person getting Alzheimer’s or memory problems when u get older. Who knows? 😀 It might even make me smarter 😀 Who Knows?