Nicholas Johnson

The world succumbs to Sudoku fever

The Japanese game that is so popular around the world has its origins in Switzerland. It was the mathematician Eulero who invented the principle in the 18th century.

But the big business was made by the New Zealander who discovered it in 1997 and patented it.

Few people know that easy Sudoku has distant roots and also Swiss. The board of infinite combinations was developed by the Swiss mathematician Eulero (Leonhard Euler 1707-1783).

The Basel scientist, who lived most of his life in Saint Petersburg at the court of Catherine I, never imagined that his invention would become a planetary success.

With some modifications from the original, the game has conquered millions of people around the world.

Summer pastime

Free online Sudoku – from Japanese: su (number) and doku (solitaire) – is a game that bears some resemblance to crossword puzzles. The difference is that instead of words, numbers are entered in the boxes.

A Sudoku board has 81 squares, 9 horizontal lines, 9 vertical columns and 9 squares of nine squares each that must be filled in with numbers from 1 to 9. And the only rule is simple: in each column, each line and each square , the same number can only be entered once.

In Switzerland, the first Sudoku game was published at the beginning of June on the TagesAnzeiger. Since then this hobby has been all the rage. More and more newspapers and websites regularly offer their readers new variants of the game.

In Italy, the web Sudoku fever has displaced the traditional chronicles of summer events, such as the disappearance of a sailor, supposedly murdered by her boyfriend and his young lover.

Given the scarcity of more or less striking news, almost all Italian newspapers have turned to Sudoku.

Logic, speed and patience

“You don’t need a lot of mathematical knowledge,” Professor Alberto Bersani, a mathematician and lover of recreational hobbies, explains to swissinfo. “What counts is logic, a quick mind and a lot of patience.”

The game is all the rage. Sudoku fever conquers the entire world, much to the delight of its patent holder: Retired New Zealand magistrate Wayne Gould discovered the game in Japan in 1997 and offered it to the Times.

But the history of Sudoku goes back even further in time, as it was the Swiss mathematician Eulero who invented the board for mere mathematical purposes.

In the so-called Latin or magic square, the numbers are arranged so that their sum is always the same, in each line, column or diagonal. A system of infinite combinations.

A patented game

About twenty years ago a Japanese citizen developed Sudoku starting from the Eulero square.

The story would have ended there had it not been for the former New Zealand magistrate fell in love with the game, during a trip to Japan in 1997, and perhaps realized that it could be a good deal. Without saying anything to anyone, he appropriated it and patented it all over the world.

Now Sudoku is on everyone’s lips. An enigma a day to be solved in newspapers, online contests, books, suggestions for solutions. In short, a diversion, but also a business that is depopulating Italian beaches, the London Underground and Parisian cafes.

There are those who speak of playful globalization. And it is that the language of numbers is universal. It can be played with an enemy who lives on the other side of the world. All you need is a computer and Internet access.

The young, the most enthusiastic

Everything revolves around how quickly you find the solution to the number crossword. “In this it is very similar to the famous Rubik’s Cube or electronic games that require reaction capacity and intuition,” says Professor Bersani.

As always in these cases, psychologists and experts in recreational hobbies give their opinion. Everyone agrees that Sudoku is a good exercise to keep neurons active, since it favors the reflective capacity, especially of the youngest. And in fact, the most addicted to gambling seem to be the young.

After all, everyone wins with Sudoku. The only one who does not benefit is its true inventor, the great Eulero.

Related Resources:

Sudoku: its mental benefits

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