I am completely "into" Sudoku, and have been for a while. I find the game entertaining, relaxing, and in many cases, quite challenging. As the great detective, Hercule Poirot (of Agatha Christie fame) would say (and I'm paraphrasing), the game is an excellent way to exercise the "little grey cells".
I will assume that most are familiar with the game. If that is an utterly false assumption, let me know (Contact CatholicMathGuy) and I will do my best to rectify that. In short, Sudoku is a 9x9 board (9 columns, 9 rows) and is broken up into 9 3x3 grids. Each cell on the board can contain a number 1 through 9. The catch (there is always a catch, isn't there?!) is that a number can NOT be repeated in any given row, column or 3x3 grid. To play, a game board is provided with some of the cells filled in. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to solve the game by filling out the remaining cells.
Sounds simple, right? Well, sometimes it is. Unfortuantely, though, a lot of times it is not.
What intrigued me was how to solve the game by logic alone - no GUESSING!! It often happens that you can get a number of the cells filled out relatively easily and then reach a point where two or so possibilities exist for a cell. One can guess, proceed forward with that guess, and see what happens. A lot of people, I believe, do just that. What is the fun in that?? None (or not much) as far as I am concerned. I wanted to solve the game by reason alone.
That's where I ran into trouble. It is not as easy as it may sound. But the gauntlet was thrown. I began an in-depth analysis of the game and over time have reached the point where I can solve even the most challenging of boards by reason (or logic) alone (in full disclosure, I believe that there are one or two techniques - like hidden triplets - that might need some work). I even wrote my own software to solve a game based on the aforementioned reasoning. Seems to work quite well!
Then I began to question a given game's difficulty level. One will see a game from one source rated by the number of stars out of 4 or 5 (with 1 being the easiest). Another source might just list the perceived difficulty using terms like "Easy" or "Challenging" or whatever. I began to question what makes a game 3 out of 4 stars while another is rated Challenging. There was no standard that I could find. Was it a function of the number of initially filled in cells? Or was it the distribution of the numbers initially given throughout the board? Or was it the number of times a given number (or numbers) is in the initially given numbers? Or...? Well, within the software I wrote I keep track of all that stuff (among other things) with the goal to analyze the data and see what it reveals. I have over 1700 boards collected so it is just a matter of doing the statistical analysis (which will be quite fun, to be honest). I just haven't gotten that far yet (sigh). But I will! (Famous last words, right?!). For those interested, I will provided my analysis results.
I am also in the process of writing my own software to generate my own games, exploring different means of generation. Stay tuned. (Yes, I know what you're thinking: He needs to get a life! And you'd be right! LOL)
But in the mean time, I thought it would be fun to post a game of the week for those who might find Sudoku interesting and want to exercise their "little grey cells". The thought, at the moment, is to post a new game every week then the following week move it to "last week's" game (along with the solution). That is, a two week cycle. We'll see how it works out.
I have provided a blank board should you want to print it out and use it to help solve any game. And, I am also providing what I'll term a "logic" board that I created which can be used to help learn the game by crossing out the numbers in each cell that are eliminated as possibilities.
So, without further ado, give it a shot and have fun! But remember: NO GUESSING!!! Try to solve the game by reasoning - or logic - alone.
God Bless!
CatholicMathGuy