It is hard to explain. A Sudoku puzzle is addictive! I just love to solve them. Apparently, I’m not alone. The demand is growing.

What is it about Sudoku? When I get done solving one, I just want to solve another puzzle. And another, and another…

For those that don’t know, Sudoku (or Su Doku as some prefer) is an addictive puzzle created in America, popularized by the Japanese, and spread throughout the whole world.

A classic Sudoku puzzle is made up of nine rows and nine columns of numbers. These rows and columns make up nine mini-grids surrounded by a border. See the figure below.

Sudoku Puzzle

Sudoku Puzzle

Each row, column, and region (mini-grid) can only have the numbers 1 through 9. Looks simple? Looks can be deceiving. Some puzzles are fiendish!

An easy puzzle can take only five to fifteen minutes to solve. A fiendish one may take hours without a computer program to give you hints.

A poor design has multiple solutions. A good design has only one. It is a delight to solve.

The popularity of Sudoku has spread. And justly so. Many newspapers worldwide now print a daily Sudoku puzzle. Each day a puzzle appears, it is a little bit harder than the day before.

Today there are many books about the subject. Puzzle books by Carol Vorderman, Wayne Gould, Michael Mepham and others fill the shelves of bookstores.

Computer programmers love the challenge of programming these puzzles. PC programs are available. Websites and newspapers sport a daily puzzle.

Games have also flourished. Hand held Sudoku games are available from several sources. Board games have sprung up to round out your playing options. Now the whole family can play.

Learning to solve Sudoku is easy. Sudoku Essentials takes the mystery out with their illustrative Sudoku Tips and article on How To Play Sudoku. You will learn the patterns that are formed by the structure of the puzzle. You can quickly learn how to logically eliminate candidates to arrive at the solution.

Solving Sudoku is a great exercise for the brain. Kids can learn logical and deductive reasoning skills. Elderly adults can help slow the aging process of the mind. And, of course, solving a puzzle is always fun.

So sharpen your pencil, and let’s solve some Sudoku puzzles.