Lessons learned from playing sudoku

If you master the rules, you can solve any problem

1. There is always a solution

No matter the difficulty level, any sudoku puzzle is solvable. You just have to keep working at it.

2. Being skilled is a superpower, but not

After a couple of years of solving puzzles every day, I began to develop a sort of intuitive sense for the game. I would look at a puzzle, and the numbers in the right cells would just jump out to me.

3. When everything fails, do an exhaustive search

When I do the really hard puzzles, there is usually a point where I get stuck. Random search fails. My ‘intuitive sense for numbers’ fails.

  • Establish the constraints and rules of the problem. In sudoku, it is that each row, column and square will contain numbers 1–9. And no row, column, or square will repeat a number. In life, it is not so clear as that, but breaking any situation down into the fundamental facts of the problem will lead you to finding the solution.
  • Use the knowledge established above to make an exhaustive search method. In sudoku, checking each row, column and square for all numbers 1–9 will give you an answer that fits the logic. In a real life problem, if you break it down into the root facts and analyze all scenarios, from all angles, you will definitely find an answer. It is a question of patience, time and thoroughness.

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