# The World’s Most Famous Math Game: Sudoku

Sudoku is a
single person, mathematics crossword, and it is the most popular puzzle in the
world. A sudoku puzzle is a grid composed of individual boxes called cells, arranged
in a 9 cell by 9 cell square. These 81 cells come partially filled, and the
goal of the puzzle is to complete the cells will no repeating numbers in each row
or column. While sudoku seems to be easy, each cell has exactly one correct answer.
There are 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,906 possible sudoku puzzle solutions,
making seemingly simple sudoku puzzles an endless game.

Swiss mathematician,
Leonhard Euler, had the idea to arrange numbers in a pattern so that a symbol
or number would only occur once in a row or column, he called this a Latin square.
Latin squares vary from the game we know today; sudoku has a restriction in
which a number can only occur once in each 3-cell by 3-cell region. Howard
Garns, an architect from Connersville, Indiana created the first modern sudoku
puzzle. The puzzle was published in the Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games
magazine in 1979. Originally the puzzle was called “Number Place,” since
solving it required placing individual numbers into empty spots.

How is it that
sudoku, an American invention, was given a name that creates the misconception
the game was a Japanese creation? First appearing in Japan in 1984, the game was
called “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru,” meaning “the digits are limited to one
occurrence.This extensive name was then shortened to Sudoku, and suddenly
became highly popular in Japan. To this day, there are more than 600,000 sudoku
magazines purchased each month in Japan! There are a few reasons for sudoku’s success
in Japan: the Japanese language won’t work well with crossword puzzles, though
the country love puzzles, and the infrastructure of the country is dominated by
trains and busses, giving the Japanese plenty of downtime to solve sudoku
puzzles.

Sudoku is satisfying
our need to gain a sense of control and order. The rules of sudoku are easy to
learn, making them fun for everyone at any age! There are lots of sudoku apps
on your device’s app store, so take a crack at the world’s favorite math game
today!

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