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The History Of Sudoku - Articles Surfing

Originally called Number Place, the first puzzle was created by Howard Garnes, a freelance puzzle constructor, in 1979.

The puzzle was first published in New York in the late 1970s by the specialist puzzle publisher Dell Magazines in its magazine Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games, under the title Number Place.

The puzzle was introduced in Japan by Nikoli in the paper Monthly Nikolist in April 1984 as "Suji wa dokushin ni kagiru", which can be translated as "the numbers must be single". At a later date, the name was abbreviated to Sudoku (pronounced sue-do-koo; su = number, doku = single).

In 1986, Nikoli introduced two innovations: the number of givens was restricted to no more than 30 and puzzles became "symmetrical" (meaning the givens were distributed in rotationally symmetric cells). Within Japan, Nikoli still holds the trademark for the name Sudoku; other publications in Japan use alternative names.

In 1989, Loadstar/Softdisk Publishing published DigitHunt on the Commodore 64, which was apparently the first home computer version of Sudoku. At least one publisher still uses that title.

Today there are more than 600,000 copies of Sudoku magazines published solely in Japan every month. In contrast to the above, during all that time hardly anyone in Europe knew or paid any attention to the Sudoku puzzles.

At the end of 2004 Wayne Gould, a retired Hong Kong judge as well as a puzzle fan and a computer programmer, visited London trying to convince the editors of The Times to publish Sudoku puzzles. Gould, that had written a computer program which generates Sudoku puzzles of different difficulty levels, demanded no money for the puzzles.

The Times decided to give it a try and on November 12, 2004 launched their first Sudoku puzzle. The publishing of Sudoku in the London Times was just the beginning of an enormous phenomenon which swiftly spread all over Britain and its affiliate countries of Australia and New Zealand.

Three days later The Daily Mail began publishing Sudoku puzzles titled as "Codenumber". The Daily Telegraph of Sydney followed on 20 May 2005.

By the end of May 2005 the puzzle was regularly published in many national newspapers in the UK, including The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, The Sun and The Daily Mirror.

But that was not it. In July 2005 Channel'4 included a daily Sudoku game in their Teletext service and Sky One launched the world's largest Sudoku puzzle - a 275 foot (84 meter) square puzzle, carved in the side of a hill in Chipping Sodbury, near Bristol.

The BBC Radio 4's Today began reading numbers aloud in the first Sudoku radio version.

Famous British celebrities as Big Brother's Jade Goody and Carol Vorderman, that her book How to do Sudoku is the best-selling book in the country, have testified to its benefits as a mental workout. Even the Teachers magazine which is backed by the government recommended Sudoku as brain exercise in classrooms and suggestions have been made that Sudoku solving is capable of slowing the progression of brain disorder conditions such as Alzheimer's.

In April 2005 Sudoku completed a full circle and arrived back to Manhattan as a regular feature in the New York Post.

On Monday, July 11, the Sudoku craze spread to other parts of the USA when both The Daily News and USA Today launched Sudoku puzzles on the same day. In both cases the Sudoku puzzles were instead of traditional crosswords and bridge columns.

Today there are Sudoku clubs, chat rooms, strategy books, videos, mobile phone games, card games, competitions and even a Sudoku game show. Sudoku has also sprung up in newspapers all over the world and is commonly described in the world media as "the Rubik's cube of the 21st century" and as the "fastest growing puzzle in the world".


Submitted by:

Danny Demeersseman

Danny Demeersseman lives in Belgium and is a webdesigner.

He'is interested in education.




Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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