Written by Jessy Kahn
posted on June 13, 2015 12:16
Everyone knows someone who is hooked on Sudoku puzzles. For those who love them, Sudoku is quite meditative and just plain fun. However, even the most devoted fans sometimes experience frustration when a puzzle is hard. If the first puzzle you encounter is a tough one, it is easy to just give up and never try again.
Dan LeKander loves Sudoku, too, and he's figured out a technique that eliminates guessing and erasing. His book explains, step by step, how to understand the principles behind Sudoku and how to solve the puzzles efficiently. He takes you through a puzzle, explaining each step. Each step is accompanied by a diagram that shows what was done.
The first part of the book deals with the basic steps in starting a puzzle. Anyone who has ever solved an easy puzzle will be familiar with these. It is a good idea to follow the steps exactly, even if you’ve been doing Sudoku for a while. This helps further along in the puzzle, when more advanced techniques are required.
LeKander labels the Sudoku grid in the same fashion as a chessboard. Each number goes in a cell and each cell is in a row. We had to deduce this ourselves and perhaps a future edition of the book will include a simple explanation of the labeling. A pad of blank Sudoku puzzles goes along with the book. We liked the convenience of this and used them to follow along as LeKander demonstrated his method.
Once the basic steps have been completed, the book explains more complicated procedures. Here LeKander explains how to eliminate more numbers from the equation. He also carefully goes through the logic behind the steps, intending for puzzle solvers to thoroughly understand what has been done.
This book comes with a set of green and black plastic tokens. These are used to cover unsolved cells that contain a particular number as an option. This process illustrates what options are available, to solve some more numbers in the puzzle. It is recommended that the Sudoku solver practice these steps before moving on to the more advanced tactics.
The last part of the book deals with the advanced techniques needed to solve a difficult Sudoku. These will require practice, but they are accompanied by detailed instructions and explanations of the logic involved. LeKander also presents a novel approach to keeping track of the steps with color coding, preserving a record of your solution. This could prove helpful, when you are faced with a baffling puzzle, and then realize that it looks similar to ones you solved successfully before.
Dan LeKander is passionate about Sudoku. This is apparent on every page of his book. He wants others to share his enjoyment in mastering the technique and his satisfaction in solving the hardest puzzles. “3 Advanced Sudoku Techniques...That Will Change Your Game Forever” is available at Porch and Paddle, 236 James Street, Clayton, NY and from djlsuniverse.com, amazon.com and ebay.com.
By Jessy Kahn
Jessy Kahn is a fan of difficult puzzles of all kinds. She owned a Toronoto, ON, independent bookstore for fourteen years in Toronto, ON, and has been chair of the selection committee for the Toronto Book Awards.
Editor’s Note: Ask Dan and Peggy LeKander how they got started on Sudoku, and Peggy will relate, “We won an auction for a weekend stay in Key West, F,L at Cherry Island's Edith Amsterdam's B & B. At the airport thunder storms delayed our flight. I bought a Sudoku puzzle book, to pass the time and started in the beginning. Dan soon became bored with the wait, so I suggested he try the Sudoku book. After trying a puzzle at the beginning, he decided it was too easy, so he went to the back of the book, where the hard puzzles were. By the time we left Key West, he had become obsessed with Sudoku." The LeKanders have a home on Wellesley Island, where you will find both actively involved with River life.