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Sudoku tips How to solve Sudoku The mathematics of Su Doku

Sudoku tips How to solve Sudoku The mathematics of Su Doku



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Sudoku tips: How to solve Sudoku: The mathematics of Su Dokuhttp://theory.tifr.res.in/~sgupta/sudoku/algo.html1 of 69/9/2007 4:56 PM
Home Meanings of all phrasesTips: how to solve a Su DokuSub Dokus:Two Doku,Shi Doku,Roku Doku Super Doku Prime Su DokuincludesGo Doku.Related puzzles Challenges Known results Angus Johnson's Tips SuDokuHints.com Depth-first search Constraint programmingand itsSu Doku application.P versus NP problems Backdoors in NP problems
Su Doku NavigationSee alsoSu Doku
Su Dokuis usually played on a9 by 9 board, divided into 3 by3 cells. You can generalize thisinto playing on an M×M squareboard broken intonon-overlapping rectangularcells, each containing Msquares (an obvious questionis to how define a puzzlewhere M is a prime number).The solution of the puzzle is toplace M symbols on the boardsuch that each row, column orcell contains each symbolexactly once, without movingthe initial clues. Puzzles withM<9 are calledSub Dokus,those for M>9 are calledSuperDokus.Technorati tag:Su DokuRelated topic:KakuroDigg thisAdd to del.icio.usThanks to the following peoplewho pointed out errors andgenerally helped me keep thispage of tips in tip-top shape:Larry (LA, CA, USA), JustinPearson, Tom Schoenemann(Michigan, USA), Mike Fleming(New Ipswich, New Hampshire,USA), Mike Godfrey(Manchester, UK), G B (whosename I wish I knew).
How to solve Su Doku: tips
The mathematics of Su Doku
Roger Walker's tipswere the first set I ever found. They take you fromnothing into formal reasoning methods with colourful names like "three in abed" at your own pace. What I liked best about this site are the animatedtutorials.1.Michael Mepham's articlefrom the Daily Telegraph is by now somewhat ofa classic. It is a very well-written systematic explanation of the basictechniques for solving Su Doku. It introduced the nomenclature "Ariadne'sthread".2.Angus Johnson's Simple Sudokuweb site has a very fine page of Su Dokutips, starting with the most basic element: find the singletons, andprogressing to complicated and bizarrely named rules of Su Doku logic likethe "Swordfish".3.Dan Rice's Sudoku Blogalso does a good job of explaining the rules ofinference, one per blog. Since it is a blog, it takes each rule by itself andspends time explaining it. It contains some of the best explanations I haveseen of the more complex rules.4.SuDokuHintshas a nice tool: it can give hints on a puzzle, solve one stepwhile telling you how it was done, or solve the full puzzle and explain eachstep. You can play games that it generates, or type your own puzzle into it.5.
My own two bits: a fiendish tutorial
hy another tutorial? Because you don't reallyneed to know many tricks. I show this using arelatively hard puzzle by Wayne Gould, who createspuzzles for "The Times"of London. These are ratedin difficulty from mild (the simplest) to fiendish (theone on the left). Gouldclaimsthat none of hispuzzles ever need trial and error solutions. If youfollow this example through you will find that younever really need very complicated tricks either.Another way of solving this very puzzle is given byRoger Walker in one of his tutorials. Our methodsdiffer: I try to illustrate some often-used tricks in this example.
Sudoku tips: How to solve Sudoku: The mathematics of Su Dokuhttp://theory.tifr.res.in/~sgupta/sudoku/algo.html2 of 69/9/2007 4:56 PM
hen you have eliminated the impossiblewhatever remains, however improbable, is thetruth", said Sherlock Holmes. This is the principle bywhich we put the 3 in the top row. 1, 2 and 7 areeliminated by the clues in the row; 4, 5, 6 and 9 bythose in the column, and 8 by the cell. This leavesthe truth. I don't see it as very improbable; but onemust give the master some poetic license. This rulemay or may not be useful to begin things off, but it isindispensible in the end game (especially when it iscoupled with the hidden loner rule of Step 8).
Step 2: Basic "slice and dice"
et's see how to place a 4 in the bottom right cell.The blue lines show that it must go right into thebottom-most row, because the other two rowsalready have a 4 in them. These are the slices. Nowone of the three squares in the bottom row of the cellalready has a clue in it. The other square iseliminated by dicing. The green line shows that themiddle column is ruled out, because it alreadycontains a 4 in another cell. So we have finished thesecond move in a fiendish puzzle and found out whatslicing and dicing is.
Step 3: Applied "slice and dice"
e can place twomore 4s, shownin black in the pictureon the left. Thisrequires slice and diceexactly as before.Another example: wecan place a 1 by sliceand dice as shown inthe picture on theright.
Step 4: Simple "hidden pairs"
ngus Johnson has this to say about hidden pairs:"If two squares in a group contain an identical pairof candidates and no other squares in that groupcontain those two candidates, then other candidatesin those two squares can be excluded safely." In theexample on the right, a 2 and a 3 cannot appear inthe last column. So, in the middle rightmost cell thesetwo numbers can only appear in the two positionswhere they are "pencilled in" in small blue font. Sincethese two numbers have to be in these two squares,no other numbers can appear there.
Sudoku tips: How to solve Sudoku: The mathematics of Su Dokuhttp://theory.tifr.res.in/~sgupta/sudoku/algo.html3 of 69/9/2007 4:56 PM
Step 5: "Locked candidates"
ngus Johnson again: "Sometimes a candidate within a cell is restricted to onerow or column. Since one of these squares must contain that specific candidate, thecandidate can safely be excluded from the remaining squares in that row or columnoutside of the cell." Since the hidden pair 2 and 3 prevent anything else fromapearing in the first two columns of the middle rightmost cell, an 8 can only appearin the last column. Now we apply the locked candidates rule.e want to place an8 in the bottomright cell. The lastcolumn can be slicedout by the lockedcandidate rule. Otherslicing and dicing isnormal, leading to theplacement of the 8 asshown.
Step 6: Bootstrap by extending the logic of "locked candidates"
o get to the first step of the bootstrap from the last picture shown above, weneed to slice and dice to place an 8 in the center bottom cell. You must be an expertat this method by now, so I leave that in your capable hands.he first element ofthe bootstrap is toplace 8s in the middlerow of cells. Thepicture on the leftshows where the 8smust be placed in themiddle left cell. Thepicture on the rightshows the placementin the central cell.
ext we extend the logic of the locked candidates.The 5th and 6th rows must each have an 8: oneof them has it in the middle left cell, and the other inthe central cell. Therefore the 8 in the middle rightcell cannot be in either of these rows. From what weknew before, the 8 must be in the top right cornersquare of the cell, as shown in the picture on theright. This is almost magical. Putting togetherimprecise information in three different cells, we havereached precise information in one of the cells.

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