Sudoku – The world’s most popular number puzzle


Sudoku is the fastest-growing puzzle in the world.  The hype started in Japan in the 1980s and until a few years ago nobody in Europe had ever heard about it. In 2004 a British newspaper started publishing the puzzle and in 2005 Sudoku was launched as a game show on British television. From then on it became extremely popular. Many other newspapers in Great Britain did the same and from there it spread across the European continent. Today you can see Sudoku puzzles in magazines, newspapers, there are special websites where you can play all day and even apps for mobile phone users.

Sudoku goes back to the 18th century when an American architect designed the puzzle and published it in a magazine. In the US, the game was originally called Number Place but it was a Japanese magazine that took up the idea, changed a few of the rules and made it a worldwide success.

Even though Sudoku’s rules are simple the puzzle itself can be very difficult to solve. The board is divided into nine rows and nine columns of squares. There are also nine 3X3 sub grids. Some of them already have numbers in them. Depending on where you put the numbers you can make the puzzle easy or more difficult.

The aim of the game is to fill in the remaining numbers into the blank squares so that each row, each column and each sub square contains a number only once. You do not need to be good at math to solve Sudoku; you just have to think logically.

Today Sudoku is so popular that competitions are held around the world. The first world championships were held in Italy in 2006.


a typical sudoku board

A typical Sudoku board


Related Topics



  • aim = goal
  • app = small program  that you can download onto a smart phone
  • board = here: the square on which you play it
  • championship = tournament
  • competition = an event in which you play against others
  • contain = to have in it
  • depending on = you cannot say exactly what will happen  because it is influenced by something else
  • design = plan, create
  • even though = while
  • extremely = very
  • hype = when people get crazy about something and make it very popular by talking about it
  • launch = start
  • originally = at first
  • popular = liked, well-known
  • publish = print
  • remaining = those that are left over
  • solve = complete, work out
  • spread = to move from one place to another
  • sub grid = here: smaller squares within a big one
  • take up = use