Mathematician Solves Sudoku

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2009 1:11 PM CDT
Tournament official Robert Roberts, white hat, watches for participants to complete their puzzles during the Sudoku Tournament in Philadelphia on Saturday Oct. 20, 2007.   (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
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(Newser) – A mathematician has devised a foolproof method for solving Sudoku puzzles, USA Today reports. The stimulating mental challenge of the game has attracted millions of fans all over the world, but, from a mathematical perspective, “the interesting fact about Sudoku is that it is a trivial puzzle to solve," says JF Crook of Winthrop University, whose Suduko-busting formula appears in Notices of the American Mathematical Society.

"Sudoku is really just a kind of math in action," Crook said. His approach resembles mathematical solutions to chess scenarios. Though his method is certain to solve the puzzle, there are at times two options for a given Suduko square. In this case, Crook says, players should guess and follow the formula for each possibility to see which works.