247 Sudoku title image

Top Tips for Winning Sudoku

Have you just started with Sudoku? If you are newly introduced to the world of Sudoku, you are in for a treat because Sudoku is one of the best brain teasing games out there. The problem is that most people don't initially know how to solve them. The whole point of a brain teaser is it’s supposed to be hard to be able to get your head around how it works.

If you're just getting started you’re in for a treat. Understanding how to solve it is going to be much easier when you have the right tips and tricks. Even if you know most of the ones we're going to discuss in this article, a valuable refresher is always a good idea. You can read all of the Sudoku tips in the world, but you need so much more than an understanding of the rules. You can strategize. You can learn the benefits of playing Sudoku. But to be a true puzzle master, you need to know how to cut through that visual clutter. The Sudoku grid is just one thing standing in your way between completion and as long as you understand how to switch off your mind from the outside world and learn to focus, you're going to be able to solve Sudoku very quickly. Some of the reasons to play Sudoku regularly include:

A sense of calm

For many people who play Sudoku, they feel a sense of calm and order when they do it. It doesn't matter how busy life is or whether they are doing their puzzle on the commute to work, Sudoku offers an escape, a relaxing way to take a break from the world. It can be part of your daily schedule, should you wish it to be, and many people do make it so because it refreshes them and allows them to meet other commitments with a better energy and more vigor, especially when they solve their Sudoku puzzle before their usual time frame.

It keeps the brain healthy.

There's a reason that the Alzheimer's associations around the world have endorsed Sudoku as a brain game. Reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease from developing is important, and playing mentally stimulating games can really help you to do that. Reducing your risk of dementia is going to take some time to learn, but while it may not be foolproof, you can still enjoy yourself while you are trying to mitigate those risks.

It's an escape.

Sudoku is a fun puzzle game on hand that can be played anytime, anywhere and is a great way to escape from the issues in life. If you're sitting on a very long train commute home, then being able to either log into an app or open a puzzle book and play unlimited Sudoku games is a great way not only to build your technique, but to escape from the stresses of life. They can be quite addictive to play, but it's a much healthier addiction than, say, wine.

It’s fun

It doesn't matter how old you are, you can play Sudoku and learn to play it well. It's fun for all ages and it can be played by adults, senior citizens and even younger children. There are different difficulty levels in Sudoku, which means that you'll be able to keep winning and you'll fall in love with it very quickly.

It's a great distraction.

Have you ever had an earworm or a song that gets stuck in your head? Whenever you use any kind of puzzle book, you'll be able to get rid of that earworm in no time at all, and Sudoku is no different. Trying to get a song out of your head. It's not easy to do quickly, but when you're too busy training your brain on the numbers in the squares and the grids, it's so much easier to let that go.

These are just some of the reasons you should be playing Sudoku, but these do not help you towards winning and beating your own score. So if you have a time limit that you'd love to be on Sudoku, perhaps you carry around an app that keeps score of your time. Let's take a look at some amazing tips for gameplay that are really going to help you to nail the way that you play.

Learn about pencil marking.

Sudoku pencil marking is a great strategy and you may have already learned about this one. Most puzzle doers will use a pencil to write tiny numbers in the corners of the squares to give them a visual representation of which numbers could fit. It's a great strategy, but after pencil marking the puzzle, you have to analyze your results, and that's where one of the biggest tips for winning is going to help.If you're setting the timer, you want to be able to meet that expectation, and the best part about it is that pencil is easy to erase.

Sudoku single candidate

Another good strategy for solving is the single candidate. This involves using a pencil again to store what you already know is possible within each box on the grid. When you do that, you can then examine the surrounding columns, rows and boxes to ensure that you've ruled out every other option, IE your single candidate.

Go fishing

A good trick for winning is to learn about the swordfish technique. You won't need a strategy involving this one when you're just learning how to play, but if you want to learn how to beat your time and really challenge yourself, look at the swordfish pattern. This happens when three rows or columns each contain two or three cells that hold matching locked up candidates.

Set a timer.

If you're trying to beat your own time, it just makes good sense to set a timer every time you play. Start with just 5 minutes and set a stopwatch or a phone timer to help you to stick to it. Only give yourself 5 minutes, and if you limit that time you're trying to beat, you're going to focus your mind to do everything you can in those five minutes. You're going to give your brain the impetus it needs to make those huge improvements to your Sudoku skills that you've been trying to do.

One line at a time.

A really good way to keep beating your own time is to focus on a single column, row, or square. A Sudoku grid, as you know, is 9 by 9, and it can be very overwhelming to stare at. Instead of worrying about every single one of those empty spaces on the grid, look at one part of the grid at a time. Most hardened Sudoku players like to focus on one square at a time rather than one column, because if they can understand how to put as many numbers as possible in that one square, they can do the same with every square and eventually win.

One number at a time.

Another great option for trying to beat your own time is to look at the numbers. So start with placing as many number nines as possible and then go to the number 8 and then the number sevens and so on and so forth until you get right the way down to the number ones. If you are focusing on one number at a time, you will slowly be able to build an understanding of the way the rest of the grid should look. Sudoku is all about analyzing and if you focus on one number at a time, you can start playing the elimination game.

Practice on new techniques.

If you are trying out a new technique to get better at Sudoku, then try focusing on those techniques one at a time. So, start with the squares and then look at the columns and then look at the roads and then focus on one number at a time. Give yourself 4 to 5 minutes for each of those techniques to be working before you move on to the next one.

Don't overanalyze.

If you want to beat your time, you're gonna make that mistake of over analyzing or overthinking every single part of the grid. As a seasoned Sudoku player, you'll know not to do this, but it's not always easy to do that when you are new to the game. Remember that five minute limit we talked about earlier on? Use that as a way to go for broke. Get the fastest possible start on the puzzle and step back and look at it objectively rather than trying to overthink every tiny cell.

Know where to begin.

One of the hardest things about Sudoku is that most people don't actually understand where they should be starting the game. If you're new to playing, you might find that that is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome. Sometimes just putting the first number in any part of the grid is the hardest bit, but there are things that you should look for. Once you understand where to get your start, you're going to find it much easier to keep placing those numbers throughout the grid. There are some things that you'll want to look for when you are new to a game of Sudoku, and that means looking at where the number cluster is the most popular. There is always one square with more than one number to begin on a sudoku grid, so whichever square has the most numbers, start there.

Look for the most common digit.

Off the back of that last tip, have a look at which digits are most commonly put on the grid when you begin. No sudoku puzzle starts with 0 numbers, so look at which number appears most and then work up from there.

Learn to scan faster.

To speed up the way that you play your Sudoku, you need to be able to scan the grid as quickly as possible. So instead of trying to focus on the whole grid at once, go different row by row, column by column, and scan effectively. You'll then be able to pick out which areas are easier so that you can tackle these. When you do feel confident, you'll also want to make sure that you are scanning a couple of areas at a time to see the way that they work together. For example, if you're looking at placing sevens, you'll be looking at the grid and then the row, and then the column. An all-in-one, couple of second movement.

Don't stay in one place for too long.

If you find yourself staring at one corner of the grid, move on. You're only going to over complicate things to your brain and you're not going to be effectively scanning.If you are staring at one place for a long time, then it means that the part of the grid that you are focusing on means that you have to place numbers elsewhere before you go back to it. You have to know how to shift your focus effectively and move around the grid so that you can get your numbers in in your time limit.

Trust your instinct

It's important that you learn how to keep the momentum going when you are playing Sudoku. There are some areas of the grid that are going to require a lot more thought than others to be able to solve it, so you need to make sure that this puzzle of momentum keeps going. Once you start placing digits in the grid, you'll be able to cascade all of the other empty cells. You just have to trust your instinct that the numbers that you are choosing go in the right areas.If you are not quite sure, use a pencil.

Look for those naked pairs.

This is where two empty cells can only contain the exact same two possible candidates. So when this stands out, you'll be able to determine whether or not a row should have a specific number versus a box in another part of the grid. Identifying the naked pairs is very useful because it can help you to restrict all the other numbers around them. Once you understand this particular point, you'll be able to move from row to row and column to column and fill in all the other empty pairs. It all comes down to technique and practice.

Start practicing, even if you are bad at it.

A good tip to keep winning and keep beating your time is to keep practicing. Practice at different levels of Sudoku. So start with the very beginner and then move upward, because doing that is going to help you to ensure that you feel confident about the things you're trying to achieve. Practice makes perfect, and that means taking the time to ensure that your practice is going to benefit you.

Don't just stay a beginner.

As you start beating your timers, don't just stay on the beginners level of Sudoku. There are very different levels from beginner to intermediate to advanced, and if you are doing well with the beginner squares, start dipping a toe in the advanced pool. You don't have to skip a step, you can go to intermediate next but the way that this works is to ensure that you are constantly challenging yourself. If Sudoku becomes too easy, then there's no challenge in there for you. The idea is to challenge your brain and push your focus, and your skills and skill building is all about pushing that focus.

Go through the hard strategies.

Working your way through those more advanced Sudoku strategies can help you to master this game. Pencil marking and X wings are something that most people discuss in the Sudoku world, but the harder the puzzle gets, the more complicated strategies are on the table for you. It's part of the fun of the game and it's just like cracking a code.The more you practice, the faster you'll get at the results.

Never take a guess.

The biggest tip that we can give you is that Sudoku is a game of strategy and skill. It's also a game of logic, which means that the process of elimination is used to arrive at the result. You never have to guess when it comes to Sudoku, so you shouldn't be guessing which numbers go in which square, but analyzing all of the other squares to make sure that the number that you have chosen is the correct one from the beginning. Always stay patient and think logically about the puzzle in front of you. When you do this, you'll be able to keep a clear head and ensure that you are able to beat your time in an adequate amount of time.

Sudoku is supposed to be fun and if you want to keep beating your time then start using these tips and see how you get on.


DISCLAIMER: The games on this website are using PLAY (fake) money. No payouts will be awarded, there are no "winnings", as all games represented by 247 Games LLC are free to play. Play strictly for fun.