Starting last month,
instead of our usual Bilkent News word puzzle, we have been offering a
different game, called Sudoku. But where did it came from?
Sudoku, although not
actually a Japanese puzzle, is the name given to it by puzzle publisher
Nikoli Co. Ltd in Japan. Sudoku is the abbreviation of "suuji wa
dokushin ni kaguri," meaning "the digits must remain single." However,
it is also possible to use any set of distinct symbols in place of
numbers, such as letters, shapes or colors.
The puzzle was
originally designed by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old American architect.
Garns was inspired by Euler's Latin squares. The puzzle's solution is
actually a special case of Latin squares. The first such puzzle was
published in 1979 in New York by Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games,
with the title "Number Place."
The puzzle was first
published in Japan in 1984 by Monthly Nikolist under the name "suuji
wa dokushin ni kaguri." This name was given to it by the president of
Nikoli, Kaji Maki. The name of the puzzle means, literally, "single,
celibate, unmarried." In 1989, Loadstar Softdisk Publishing programmed "Digithunt"
on the Commodore 64. This was the first home computer version of the
puzzle. Around the end of 2004, the game started gaining popularity
around the world.
So, how does this
interesting game affect our lives? It is said that Sudoku has a positive
influence on brain activities. The game allows the brain to use skills
related only to logic. This concentration on a single mental activity
allows us to feel relaxed.
However, a new problem
has appeared: there are people who have become addicted to this game.
They use all their free time to solve Sudokus, and start to lose contact
with their families and stop participating in other hobbies. This is not
as serious an issue as other addictions that have negative effects on
peoples health. Still, we should perhaps be aware that people who tend
to disassociate from society use this addiction as an escape from their
So, while solving your
Sudoku, be careful not to become an addict. I know it sounds funny, but
don't forget that there are people who have become addicted to their
computers and are getting divorced because of this addiction.
Anyway, I have a couple
of words to add about Sudoku's effects on mental health. Some say that
doing this puzzle can help you to regain the mental powers that you had
14 years ago. It sharpens your mind.
So, I hope you will
enjoy this week's modified game, without becoming an addict. Have an
excellent week, and take advantage of the good weather if you have the
time--unfortunately, I don't right now. Does anybody know how to make
the days longer?
Sıla Türkü Kural (EE/IV)