No, my arms aren't really that long!
by Paul Stephens

The new comprehensive guide to sudoku solving, from beginner to extreme level!

ISBN: 978-1-84483-369-6

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 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!

Comprehensive coverage.
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 shouldn't I forget the box?') in SudokuXP's forum (open to everyone).  You'll find other readers and sudoku solvers - and I sometimes hang out there myself.

Hope you enjoy it!
- Paul Stephens.

*SudokuXP requires 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 ( Book cover and extract images Duncan Baird Publishers 2007, used by permission.