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How to play Sudoku

Jul 16, 2012, 6 a.m.

Sudoku looks rather challenging if you've never played it before, but the more you play, the better you'll get. Although it can take some time even for expert players to solve Sudoku, it's fun, challenging, and can help keep your mind sharp. Here are some pointers to help get you started.

How to Play

A Sudoku sheet comes with a handful of numbers already filled in. The goal is to fill in the numbers 1 through 9 in each row, column, and block of 3x3 without repeating any numbers. There's only one solution for each card.

Gameplay Tips

  1. Start by looking at the numbers that are already filled in. It's usually easier to start with rows, columns, or blocks that already have the most numbers pre-populated. If you have a row that's only missing the number 5, for example, then you know that number goes there. Work your way from the most populated blocks down to the least populated ones.
  2. Make sure you're constantly paying attention to the location of numbers in other areas of your Sudoku card. If you have two possible numbers that can go into a single blank box, use a pencil to mark both of them down. Don't use a pen, because if you get it wrong it can be very hard or even impossible to backtrack without the ability to erase. As you fill in numbers in other areas of the card, it'll become more obvious which numbers go where, and your notes will be helpful.
  3. It's a good idea to check your work as you go. After every few numbers, take the time to inspect each row, column, and block to make sure no numbers are repeated.

Continue until the entire card is filled in. Once that's done, the game is over!

For quicker learning, it's recommended to play sudoku online or on your smartphone if you're a beginner. Many times, the applications will tell you when you've duplicated a number and will give you tips along the way.

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