No, my arms aren't really that
by Paul Stephens
The new comprehensive guide to sudoku solving, from
beginner to extreme level!
176pp, price £4.99 (UK) $9.95 (USA)
Available from good bookshops,
or order now from:
"This is not only a great sudoku technique book,
this is one of the
best "how to" books I've ever read."
- Genuine Amazon.com customer review!
Mastering Sudoku is my new guide to sudoku solving. Using clear language and
high-quality illustrations, it takes you from absolute beginner to extreme
solving levels, covering everything from basic crosshatching to the
controversial Nishio trial-and-error method.
After each topic you'll find a sample puzzle that exercises the skills you've
just learned, with an introduction and tips to help you solve it. And when
you've covered everything, there are 20 more hand-picked puzzles to solve.
Plain language - even
for the complex stuff!
Mastering Sudoku is written in simple, everyday language, even when
describing the most complex solving techniques. There's no 'Bifurcation' or
'Intersection Removal' - instead it deals in concepts such as 'number claiming'
and 'related squares', providing thorough, easily-understood explanations of
advanced patterns such as Non-Unique Rectangles and Forcing Chains. You don't
even have to work out where square 'R4C5' is in the diagrams, because we've done
away with square names too!
Mastering Sudoku takes you from absolute beginner to extreme solving
level in these stages:
- The Basics - crosshatching, spotting missing numbers, group- and
super-hatching, claims and virtual crosshatches.
- Beyond the Basics - from crosshatching into row and column number
placement, using candidates and finding pairs.
- Through the pain barrier - from here on it gets tougher! Building
full candidate lists, exposed and hidden multis (pairs etc), area claims, remote
pair chains and non-unique rectangles.
- Extreme solving - the really tough stuff explained. Fishy patterns
(X-Wings etc), XY- and XYZ-Wings, Conjugate Pair Chains, Forcing Chains and
Loops, and finally the dreaded Nishio - with an easy way to do them that doesn't
leave your puzzle in a messed-up state.
An idea that's emphasised in Mastering Sudoku is that nothing you
learn is ever wasted, because even the simplest techniques will help solve the
toughest puzzles. So it's worth reading the opening chapters even if you're
already an advanced solver - you never know what tips you might pick up!
Supported by SudokuXP!
Mastering Sudoku readers get their own mini-website
here at SudokuXP, with:
SudokuXP's toughness rating (above) is based on a detailed analysis of
each puzzle, and tells you how hard a human solver (as opposed to a computer)
will find it to solve. 503 is very tough!
The 52 sample puzzles from the book, ready to print out or load into
SudokuXP* and solve on screen. SudokuXP's
Hint system will give you step-by-step help on solving them, and you can
export them in text format for pasting into forums and other sudoku programs.
- An online number-spotting exercise. Like the one in the book - only
now the grids keep on coming and it's against the clock!
- Extra solving tips. A couple of extra tips to supercharge Conjugate
Pair Chains and Forcing patterns.
Read it - then talk about it!
Discuss Mastering Sudoku
(and questions it raises, such as 'why
I forget the box?') in SudokuXP's
(open to everyone). You'll find
other readers and sudoku solvers - and I sometimes hang out there myself.
Hope you enjoy it!
- Paul Stephens.
membership, which costs a one-off payment of £3 (roughly $5.90 USD) or £3.51
including VAT for EU residents, with nothing more to pay. SudokuXP
provides on-screen solving hints, a 10,000+ puzzle gallery, 4X4 and 16X16
puzzles and other features. Click here for details.
If you don't have SudokuXP membership, Mastering Sudoku's puzzles will be
loaded into Sudoku@paulspages, the non-subscription version of the program. This
will let you solve, print and export the puzzle, but won't provide hints or full
solving analysis of the more difficult puzzles.
© Paul Stephens 2006. Mastering Sudoku is
published by Duncan Baird Publishers Ltd, London (www.dbp.co.uk).
Book cover and extract images © Duncan Baird Publishers 2007, used by