Sudoku – Where Did Your Daily Sudoko Challenge Come From?


Many people realise the benefits of keeping their brain exercised and, for most, a daily sudoku challenge is the fun and interesting way to do it. Where did this puzzle come from and how did it evolve into the format we all know and love? In this article we will discover the history of sudoku.

The game that we all know as Sudoku is a relatively recent invention but it can be traced further back to one Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician, who, after studying ancient Chinese ‘magic squares’ started constructing puzzles called Latin Squares at the end of the 18th. Century. These were not actually produced as puzzles, more as mathematical oddities.

We need to leap forward 200 years before the concepts of Latin Squares gave rise to the forerunner of Sudoku puzzles.

In 1979, Dell Magazine in the USA published what it called a ‘Number Place’ puzzle. This was the first incarnation of what we now call Sudoku and was attributed to retired architect Howard Garnes.

So how did Number Place become Sudoku?

In April 1984, the Japanese company Nikoli published a Number Place puzzle for the first time in one of it’s publications; ‘Monthly Nikolist’. They entitled this puzzle ‘Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru’, which, being a bit of a mouthful, was shortened subsequently to ‘Su Doku’ which roughly translates as ‘single number’. It was at this time that Sudoku came by some of the rules which govern the puzzle today, such as the fact that the puzzle can not have more than 32 given numbers to start with. Nikoli still hold the Japanese copyright to the name ‘Sudoku’ and anyone else who publishes them in Japan must call them something different.

The growth in popularity of Sudoku only came about through advances in computers, however.

In 1989, the first Sudoku computer game was launched for the Commodore 64 computer. This was called ‘Digihunt’. This is still available today in a slightly different format.

A decade later, a retired judge called Wayne Gould was perfecting a program which would automate the generation of Sudoku puzzles. In 2004 he convinced The Times newspaper in Great Britain to run a daily puzzle. The first was published in November 2004. From here the craze has exploded throughout the world with virtually every newspaper offering a daily suduko challenge and news stands full of Sudoku books for sale. There are also mobile phone applications dedicated to suduko as well as online versions to play.






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