How to Solve Sudoku Faster: Beginner Techniques

Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle that trains your brain and offers times of fun. The 81 spaces in a basic 9-by-9 grid can understandably overwhelm a complete beginner, though. While has plenty of Sudoku puzzles that cater to all levels of solvers, there are also some ways to simplify the puzzle’s mechanics so that you can have an enjoyable time. Here are some tips and tricks that you can take note of when solving a Sudoku puzzle as a beginner.

Focus on a single row, column, or square

Focus on only one part of a square, row, or column rather than worrying about the entire grid all in one go. Slowly work your way up until you fill up all 81 spaces. You can start with a single square, then a row, then a column. Getting rid of all other distractions will help you solve the Sudoku grid much faster.

Use scanning techniques

Scanning techniques involve scanning rows and columns within each triple-box area. You then eliminate numbers or squares until you find instances where only a single number can fit into a single square. You can scan from one direction, two directions, or scan for a sole candidate. If a specific cell can only contain a single number, then that number is the sole candidate.

Avoid guesswork

Sudoku is a methodical process of elimination, so you’ll end up spending more time on a puzzle if you resort to guessing your answers. There are plenty of tricks and techniques to narrow down which number belongs in a certain spot. If you aren’t sure what belongs there, move on. If you’re stuck on a certain square, don’t concentrate too much on it. Let your eye wander to a different area of the grid and try to see what other solutions are possible.

Utilize techniques to narrow down your solutions

pencil and sudoku puzzleThere are various techniques that you can use to help narrow down your solutions. Singles are the most simple techniques that every beginner should know. Here are the most commonly used ones:

Naked Singles

The naked single involves determining the candidate values of an empty cell by examining the values of filled cells in the box, row, and column that the cell belongs to. If the empty cell has only one candidate value, then this is most likely the value of that cell.

Hidden Singles

A hidden single is similar to a naked single, but it only affects the cells holding the candidates. Regardless of what other candidates are in a cell, if the cell has a candidate that only appears one time in the grid, it must be committed to that cell. This means that only one cell is left to place that digit for every given digit and house. The cell has more than one candidate left, but the correct digit is hidden among the rest.

Pencil in your grid

Pencil marking is writing small numbers within a square. It’s a method that allows you to keep track of the remaining candidates for the cells that you haven’t solved yet. You then cross out or remove the candidates one by one. This will help you avoid getting confused with all the different possible solutions.

There’s no shortage of ways to tweak the puzzle to your liking. At the end of the day, what matters is that you have fun.

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