The best way to solve a Sudoku puzzle is to start off going through and writing in the numbers that you can pin down immediately to an exact location. This is the most immediate sudoku strategy to implement and thus a key solving tip. For instance, look at the sudoku below, showing the top three rows of the puzzle:
If you go through the rows one by one, and try to work out where each number could go, you can have immediate success. This is the sort of strategy you use automatically without even realising it. For instance: Look at the Number 1. We know that there must be a 1 in each of the first three rows. Now, the first and second row already have a 1. The third row doesn't.
We can place it straight away - it can't be in squares 2, 3, 8, 9 of the row as these already contain numbers. That leaves squares 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 of row three. It can't be in square 1 as there is already a 1 in this 3 x 3 square. Similarly, it can't be in square 4 , 5, 6. This only leaves one place - square 7, and we thus place the one there:
You can carry on using this sudoku solving strategy, going through each number from 1 - 9, row by row, and placing numbers accordingly. Then, do the same with the numbers in each column. Finally, do it with the numbers in each square. Often, this straightforward deduction will be enough to enable you to place all the numbers. Remember that when you add more numbers, this often triggers you to place more and more numbers.
Ready for more hints and tips? Strategy Part II
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