The trick to solving Sudoku puzzles is to organize your solving strategy. Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle that requires you to look for possibilities on where you should put the following number after putting another number in a specific location.
It’s like you’re looking ahead to what could be next; however, your thinking and logical skills are only a part of the equation. It would be best if you also had some physical preparation to help you along the way.
Curious about how to top up your Sudoku game? Continue reading for more tips and tricks.
Here are the top 15 tricks you can try to solve your Sudoku puzzle:
1. Chill and start easy.
They say do things slow and easy, especially if you’re just a beginner in that task.
Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle. It aims to tickle your mind on what to do next. Think that you’re starting from scratch and take things less seriously. Enjoy the process, and everything will follow.
Look for Sudoku puzzle booklets for beginners to gauge how you will work around it as you progress.
2. Scan the available numbers and their placement
Scan all the available numbers and their placements to notice which are missing.
You have to check three areas: rows, columns, and the inner boxes.
A number should only be present once in its placement in the inner box, row, and column. This may seem easy, but the challenge increases as more numbers become available.
3. Mark possible numbers using pencil
Use pencil markings on areas where a number candidate could be put on. Using a pencil can erase your writings when it doesn’t suit in place.
You can use other erasable materials depending on your taste or whatever makes you happy.
Marking your Sudoku will help you quickly notice which number must or must not be used in a row, column, or box. Just make sure to write lightly, so it is easier to erase whenever needed.
4. Use trial and error strategy
Never be afraid to commit mistakes. Use the trial and error method to know if the number placement you did would be appropriate or not.
Trial and error is a common strategy used by beginners of Sudoku. First, you need to try to put on a number in an area and test if that placement is suitable for the number combination, then if not, try again until you get the right one.
5. Analyze which number may or may not be appropriate in place.
Analyze what you did. Analyze your strategy if it works. Analyze each number, their placement, and their groups.
Analyzing what number to put on and what’s next is the most challenging part when playing Sudoku. First, you need to investigate whether the combination you got would be appropriate in its row, column, and its inner box. If it’s not, then analyze why to figure things out.
6. Use the process of elimination to narrow down your options
There are times that you may encounter that some numbers may be placed in the same area. Let it be on your first try, so you’ll have other options to choose from. If you have already decided what number to put in, cross out the remaining ones on your list.
Use the elimination process in playing Sudoku because it will allow you to lessen your options; therefore, it’ll be easier to choose from the possible number candidates in that area then, remove the ones that won’t fit.
7. Use highlighters or different pen color
Looking at your Sudoku puzzle for too long makes it hard for you to differentiate what is already given and the ones you put it.
I highly suggest that you use different pen colors in writing down numbers in place or use some highlighters on the given numbers. Of course, it’s your liberty to choose whatever works for you. The important part is you know which is which.
8. Think ahead of what’s next
When you play Sudoku, thinking ahead of your next move is necessary. Therefore, whatever number you put in place, you should always consider its placement in other areas.
Sudoku is not a one-way street type of puzzle. You need to help yourself navigate what correct number alignment to finish it. Always motivate yourself that Sudoku has only one solution and you need to find only one so, don’t give up!
9. Practice, practice, practice
They say practice makes perfect. Indeed!
Nobody becomes an expert in one thing in just a blink of an eye. So even the talented ones need to practice honing it as well.
Playing Sudoku regularly will help you develop your logical thinking skills and your Sudoku strategies, making it easier for you to finish it in no time.
10. Stay hydrated along the way
When you play Sudoku, you may lose track of time because of too much concentration or even frustration if you don’t get the right combination.
Having a water bottle beside you while playing Sudoku might help replenish your energy from thinking. Sometimes, a sip of water will give you a eureka moment in completing it.
11. Eat whatever snacks you like
You may unintentionally skip your meals when playing Sudoku. Placing a snack near your playing area is a great thing to do. Eating snacks rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutritious substances helps your brain work more efficiently.
Fruits, bread, cookies, and even pickles will do as long as you love what you eat.
12. Look far away for several minutes
Being too keen on your Sudoku may strain your eyes. Looking far away helps your eye muscles to relax. Relaxing your eye muscles may seem nothing in solving your puzzle, but it does!
How can you continue finding out the right combination if you won’t see what you’re working on properly?
13. Be patient
They say patience is a virtue. Indeed! No one has done a thing perfectly in just one try alone. (If you know someone who does, maybe it’s luck or that person is just one of a kind). So we all need to stretch out our patience in learning everything we do.
You need to try out other ways to complete it patiently in playing Sudoku. One method may work, but the other doesn’t, and it’s totally fine. Just keep doing it until you figure out the right combination.
14. Rest, breathe, and start again
If frustrations are too much to bear already, rest if you must.
Playing Sudoku initially aims to spend your free time by making yourself busy. It should be a leisure thing to do and not the other way around. If it stresses you out already, maybe you’re fed up. Take some time to rest and recharge your mind, then return.
15. Try using Sudoku techniques in the advanced level
When you regularly play Sudoku, you’ll notice some techniques you can use to make it easier to finish. In addition, you can now try testing your Sudoku skills at the advanced level for more thrill and challenge.
Here are four known Sudoku techniques that will help you ace advanced puzzles.
1. The hidden numbers – The hidden numbers technique may be two or three digits that can be placed in a specific area in a row, column, or inner box. This strategy gives you a hint that those areas occupied by those numbers are already “taken” and shouldn’t be put on a different number than the one you listed. In this way, you can quickly eliminate it from your choices and freely proceeds on the other available slots.
2. Swordfish technique – The swordfish technique is the rarest strategy you can use in solving Sudoku. This method will be helpful in the advanced level if you see three rows of three columns where you list the exact numbers or the locked number candidate. This means that those listed numbers may be put in those areas. From there, you can quickly eliminate that area with those numbers and try looking at the other given slots that would help you narrow down your options.
3. Jellyfish technique – The jellyfish technique is similar to the swordfish technique it’s just that it has four rows or four columns that must be considered instead of 3. Now, you should check all areas to look for a common single number listed then, analyze where the single number candidate should be placed with the help of the given numbers in its row, column, and inner box.
4. Unique rectangle – The unique rectangle is a special Sudoku pattern where two numbers may be put on an area interchangeably, provided that the four blank areas are located in two rows, two columns, and two inner boxes.
Have you done these strategies already? How was your experience? Please share it in the comment section below to help other puzzlers.
Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle where you need to find out the correct number combination and place it in the right area.
Tips and tricks may vary depending on the level of your expertise and experience. Nonetheless, it should be played patiently, effortlessly, and fun. Taking care of your body will also help you finish it.
Moreover, strategies may be used at the advanced level to make it easier for you to solve.
If you’re wondering where Sudoku comes from, this article may help you discover more about this tricky game: https://puzzlingcut.com/the-sudoku-its-historical-evolution/.
Wanted to try out one? Check some easy Sudoku booklets here on Amazon.