To learn how to play sudoku, aside from understanding its basic rules, you need to have fundamental knowledge about sudoku strategies for beginners. In this article, we will discuss various sudoku tips for beginners.

What is the trick to solving Sudoku?

If you’re a newbie in the world of sudoku, seeing your first grid to solve will be a little bit confusing. But like with other mental games, knowing the basic rules will greatly help you. After that, the next tip is to look for rows, columns, or the 3×3 blocks where there are more given digits.

These areas with more given digits will constrain the other empty cells within the same row, column, or block. In relation, another trick is to look at which numbers appear more among the given digits.

Doing the above tips is one of the easiest ways to play sudoku as a beginner. But to move forward and make your life simpler, use some tricks in sudoku as listed below.

Single Candidate/Full House

sudoku strategies for beginners Full House

Consider this puzzle. Have a look at sub-grid 4. Notice that in this block, all values but one have been filled in. Obviously this means there is one value missing. By going through the numbers from 1 to 9, the missing value can easily be found. In this case, the missing value is 3. This solving technique is known as single candidate or full house. Sometimes it is also called the last digit.

Hidden Single

sudoku strategies for beginners Hidden Single

Using the same puzzle above, let’s focus on value 1. Have a look at row 4. Because of the existing 1 in row 4, that value cannot be in cell R4C4 (Row 4 Column 4). Moreover, because of the existing 1 row 7, that value cannot be in cell R7C4 as shown in red highlights. Cell R5C4 (highlighted in green) is the only position left in column 4 where value 1 can be placed.

Remember that every region of the sudoku puzzle has to contain all of the values from 1 to 9. This solving method does not require the placement of any candidates. It is very effective for solving easy puzzles especially for beginners.

Naked Single

sudoku strategies for beginners Naked Single

Consider the puzzle above. Let’s take a look at the empty cell R7C4. It is part of row 7 and it can have none of the values that are already present in this row.

Which means the possible candidates for this cell are 1, 5, 7, and 8. R7C4 also belongs to column 4 and it can have none of the values that are already present there, leaving us to only two possible candidates (1 and 8) for that cell since 5 and 7 are already present in column 4. Lastly, R7C4 belongs to sub-grid 8 and it already contains 1, therefore R7C4 contains number 8. 8 is the naked single.

Naked Pair

sudoku strategies for beginners Naked Pair

Consider this puzzle. Let’s focus on row 1. After filling out the possible candidates in row 1 as shown in smaller numbers in the corner, notice that this row has two cells that contain the same two candidates.

These cells are R1C5 and R1C9 as highlighted in red. In this example these are the candidates 3 and 4. We have two cells and only two possible values to be placed there. This means the 2 values are confined to these cells.

They cannot be anywhere else in this row. Therefore, candidates 3 and 4 can now be removed from all other cells in the same row—3 and 4 are called naked pairs.

The aforementioned four sudoku strategies for beginners are just some of the tricks that all Sudoku players use, especially when they are just starting like you. Try using these techniques and solve some sudoku puzzles at home!