A month ago when I was shopping in a supermarket for the following week's food supply, I happened to casually browse around the checkout stand, and saw a copy of Sudoku book so prominently displayed that I can't help but picking it up. I am not an impulsive buyer. In fact I ignore most of the crowded colorful "buy me now" merchandise on the checkout counter. But I figure that anything that can upkeep my mental faculty in good order is worth getting it.
Well, I have been playing it every day ever since. I started with medium two-star level and gradually moving on to three-star and now in the hardest, the four-star level. Even though Sudoku appears to be a simple one to nine number arranging puzzle, solving it can be quite challenging especially when working on the four-star level. On the Sudoku, every number on the board is mutually exclusive and has its unique position, and every number also impacts every other number. If just one number is placed wrong, you can be sure the rest of the board will be wrong.
Often times when successfully placed several numbers on the board and to your surprising delight you find out that the following numbers are just cascading down the board like a waterfall. You are unstoppable and every number seems to fall into its rightful place one after another. This is the "Aha" moment that we sometimes experience when the light suddenly flickers on in the critical moment of realization. Other times, you get stuck in the mud, hit rock bottom and there is no way out. You searched for the solution in every conceivable angle but there was none. Well, that is the time that you walk away from it, take a break and let your ingenious subconscious mind taking over the thinking for you.
What are the benefits of playing Sudoku? The first and foremost is help improve focus and concentration ability. Most of the time our mind scatters all over the place, it loves to chatter away with our daily encounters. When I try to solve the puzzle, my mind needs to be able to zoom in to the level of detail of one number at a time, but simultaneously, it also needs to be able to zoom out to see the big picture of entire board. Since every number is in some relationship with other number, I need to see both the forest and the tree to uncover the correct number.
The other benefit is learn to be patient. One of the strategies of treasure hunting of next number is to fine comb each horizontal and vertical line with a meticulous approach. That would require certain amount of patience. According to some study, solving Sudoku can give your brain a good work out by strengthening our brain's billions of neuronal pathways and connections.
Sudoku is a deceivingly simple game. All that you need is a pencil and a game book that cost only a few bucks. There is no need for electronic gadget. It's portable and it's a lot of fun. When you have ultimately overcome the challenge of solving the mystery, the feeling is indescribably satisfying.