Sudoku (literally meaning “Unmarried Number”) is now one of the most popular puzzles that provide entertainment to people of all ages. Although it can be baffling when you first try to solve one, it has a way of getting you addicted to it, and in time will have you spending hours and hours playing it. In fact, it is slowly stealing the spotlight away from the crossword puzzles we all grew up with.
The name of the puzzle sounds foreign and can be a source of different misconceptions. So for this article, we will look into some of the common myths associated with it and clarify things once and for all.
Myth Number One: Sudoku was invented by the Japanese.
It is a known fact that this puzzle has been popular in Japan for 25 years now since Nikoli, a local puzzle publishing giant, introduced this to the country's readers. However, the Japanese did not invent it. Sudoku traces its roots back to the West. A late 19th century Swiss Mathematician, Leonhard Euler, is credited for the invention of the concept of having a square grid where symbols are placed into the squares with the restriction of having each symbol appear only once in every row and column. This was known as the “Latin Square” and is considered the father of the modern-day Sudoku puzzle. At the time, it was not intended for entertainment, but rather it was intended to be used for statistical and mathematical calculations.
Two hundred years later, Howard Garns, a retired architect from Indiana, took the Latin Squares concept and created what he called the Number Place puzzle, which was published in 1979 by Dell Magazines. Garns creation was improved by Nikoli, a Japanese puzzle publisher, and became the Sudoku puzzle we know of today.
Myth Number Two: Sudoku Requires Advance Mathematics
When people see a Sudoku puzzle, the first thing that comes to mind is Mathematics. I think it's safe to say that majority of the population either fear or hate Math and tried hard to avoid it in school. This is the reason given by majority of those who are new to the puzzle as to why they would rather not play it. Sudoku has nothing to do with math or the use of any mathematical equation. You may see numbers 1 to 9 being placed in the squares and grids, but numbers aren't the only thing that can be used for the puzzle. Its father, the Latin Squares, used to contain Latin symbols and not numbers. In fact, you can use any set of 9 symbols to replace the numbers, e.g. hieroglyphs, shapes, letters, colors, etc.
The only thing that is required in this puzzle is logic. Some people may argue with me and say that logic is within the domains of math but allow me to correct that misconception as well. Logic actually gave birth to math, not the other way around. Thus, it is safe to say that math cannot claim a monopoly on logic, and actually the opposite is true.
Myth Number Three: A Sudoku Puzzle Can Be Solved Using Different Solutions
A properly constructed Sudoku puzzle can only have one solution. That is the standard and rule that cannot be broken. No exceptions whatsoever. You may be scratching your head now thinking that's not possible since maybe you were able to solve a puzzle and come up with a different solution than the puzzle creator gave. If that happened, then the puzzle you solved was not properly constructed and you may want to find another Sudoku puzzle publisher to provide you better puzzles.
However, it is a fact that there are about 5 billion possible Sudoku puzzles that use different grids. Astoundingly, there are more than six sextillion permutations available for correct answers. So this means that you will not run out of puzzles to solve in your lifetime!