Origin of Sudoku

Origin

Sudoku (数独, sūdoku, digit-single) is a logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle. In classic sudoku, the objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 subgrids that compose the grid (also called "boxes", "blocks", or "regions") contain all of the digits from 1 to 9. The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid, which for a well-posed puzzle has a single solution.

Completed games are always an example of a Latin square, including an additional constraint on the contents of individual regions. For example, the same single integer may not appear twice in the same row, column, or any of the nine 3×3 subregions of the 9×9 playing board.

French newspapers featured variations of the Sudoku puzzles in the 19th century, and the puzzle has appeared since 1979 in puzzle books under the name Number Place. However, the modern Sudoku only began to gain widespread popularity in 1986 when it was published by the Japanese puzzle company Nikoli under the name Sudoku, meaning "single number". It first appeared in a U.S. newspaper, and then The Times (London), in 2004, thanks to the efforts of Wayne Gould, who devised a computer program to rapidly produce unique puzzles.

The modern Sudoku was most likely designed anonymously by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old retired architect and freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana, and first published in 1979 by Dell Magazines as Number Place (the earliest known examples of modern Sudoku). Garns's name was always present on the list of contributors in issues of Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games that included Number Place, and was always absent from issues that did not. He died in 1989 before getting a chance to see his creation as a worldwide phenomenon. Whether or not Garns was familiar with any of the French newspapers listed above is unclear. The puzzle was introduced in Japan by Nikoli in the paper Monthly Nikolist in April 1984 as Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru (数字は独身に限る), which also can be translated as "the digits must be single" or "the digits are limited to one occurrence" (In Japanese, dokushin means an "unmarried person"). At a later date, the name was abbreviated to Sudoku (数独) by Maki Kaji (鍜治 真起, Kaji Maki), taking only the first kanji of compound words to form a shorter version. "Sudoku" is a registered trademark in Japan and the puzzle is generally referred to as Number Place (ナンバープレース, Nanbāpurēsu) or, more informally, a portmanteau of the two words, Num(ber) Pla(ce) (ナンプレ, Nanpure). In 1986, Nikoli introduced two innovations: the number of givens was restricted to no more than 32, and puzzles became "symmetrical" (meaning the givens were distributed in rotationally symmetric cells). It is now published in mainstream Japanese periodicals, such as the Asahi Shimbun. Cognitive scientist Jeremy Grabbe found that Sudoku involved an area of cognition called working memory. A subsequent experiment by Grabbe showed that routine Sudoku playing could improve working memory in older people.

Source: wikipedia

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