Share Your Sudoku Strategies!

Sudoku strategies begin with knowing where to start, what to look for, and applying logic. Read about my strategies and then share yours.

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Sudoku Strategies

Where To Start

Many beginners, when faced with a Sudoku puzzle, often wonder where do I start? I usually begin by methodically scanning the puzzle for each number, one through nine.

When I see multiple givens of the same number, I then slice and dice and see how many cells I can solve. This is a good way to find single possibilities for a given cell.

Sometimes I may not be able to solve a cell because there are two possible locations in a row or column. I can use these two cells to eliminate any candidates in the same row or column that have the same number.

Other times I use a pair of numbers in the same row or column in conjunction with givens in other rows, columns, or regions, to place candidates in another 3x3 region. This way I am effectively removing possible candidates without ever writing them in.

What To Look For

After penciling in candidates in a row, column, or region, I begin looking for patterns beginning with the easier ones and then progressing to the harder ones.

I first look for pairs or triples of candidates. Then I progress to harder patterns such as X-Wing, Swordfish, XY-Wing and so forth.

Applying Logic

After spotting a pattern, then I use a little logic to help me solve the Sudoku puzzle. This gets fun when you can use logic to break a chain or eliminate candidates from cells.

This is just a beginning of Sudoku strategies. Why not share your tactics to solving a Sudoku puzzle? Show off your skills and be recognized as a Sudoku Pro. Help and be helped.

What Is Your Favorite Sudoku Strategy?

Do you have a great Sudoku strategy? Share it! Write a 300 word article that explains your strategy. Use proper English and sentence structure.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Using Colors 
First I use Orange to mark the start of color mapping,in this example the candidate is (1). - Find a column or row where the candidate is assigned only …

Rule of Two 
For difficult puzzles, I've adopted what I call the Rule of Two. Simply put: no cell should ever have more than two numbers it. Using numbers that default …

Coupled Pairs 
While I use all the methods you give, one of my favorites (which I have not seen in print yet) is to use "coupled pairs" of numbers. The major drawback …

My Visual Sudoku Strategy 
I like Sudoku strategies that are simple and logical for me. I like solving Sudoku puzzles without using candidates, if at all possible. In reality, …

Chain 
To use the chain strategy, pick a box with only 2 candidates that you would like to solve. Now imagine that the answer to that box is the first candidate. …

The Numbers In Order 
I am not 100% sure this is the way to go, but look at the square. Is there a 1? If there is not, then look at each row for ones. The rows that do have …

Find Naked and Hidden Singles and Pairs First 
Yes, everyone says to do that, but no one explains how to do it systematically. Here is how I do it: I first create a frequency distribution of all …

All Candidacies of # w/in Region Alligned = 
Though likely written somewhere in this site already: Two or three of the same candidate forming a line in a region eliminates that candidate as a possibility …

Row of 3 
Suppose you have solved three cells in a row (or column) within a region. (Rows with letters, from top; columns with numbers from left.) For instance, …

Not In My Hood( 3x3 Square) - or - The Reject List 
Recently, My wife asked me to find a computer program so that she could play the game on her home computer. As her computer is not Intel x86 based, I …

Check Empty Cells In A Row Or Column By Process Of Elimination 
If a row has three empty cells, look at the columns of the empty cells of that row. If either column contains two of the three missing numbers, then the …

Dots 
In the cell I put a dot for 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 When …

Easy Two Number Referencing 
Whenever you have only 2 candidates in your cell, look for couples, triples and quads that go with that cell. When writing the candidates in your cells, …

Forbidden Double X-wing 
When you see in two 3*3 squares a pattern that looks almost a double X-wing, you are certain a double X-wing there is forbidden because then there would …

The Ninth Number Of The Grid 
When you have 8 of the same number in any combination of 8 of the 9by9 squares, you can always put the ninth number using the scanning method. For …

Process of elimination using Dots instead of Numbers 
Process of elimination using Dots instead of Numbers. When you are putting possible numbers that can be in a square. Use Dots instead. No need to …

Solving Sudoku Puzzles 
LABELING Across the top label the large squares A, B, C and down the left side D, E, F. Generally the bottom and right side don't need to be labeled …

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