English: A 9x9 magic square from 1895 which al...

A 9×9 magic square from 1895 which also appears to be one of the earliest known sudokus. Français : Un carré magique de 9×9 datant de 1895 qui a aussi la propriété d’être un des premiers sudokus connus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler is credited with inventing the 3×3 Magic Square in 1783, the same year he died, though magic squares go back to China, starting with the Lo Shu Square, a 3×3 Magic Square, in 650 BCE.

The 3×3 magic square is a  grid which, when added up, totals the same number for any row or column or diagonal, filled with non-repeating numbers one through nine.

The modern game, however, that appears daily in most newspapers, originally called Number Place, was invented by an American architect, Howard Garns.

It was first published in the Dell Pencil Puzzle and Word Games in May, 1979.

It was renamed Sudoku in Japan, where it gained popularity in the mid-1980s.

Sudoku consists of nine 3×3 magic squares that must be solved so that each 9×9 row and column also use numbers one through nine only once and add up to the same number vertically, diagonally and horizontally.

That is, while you are solving each 3×3 square, you must make sure you are still conforming to the magic square rules for the whole 9×9 square.

Some numbers are supplied to get you started in each game.

The number of possible 9×9 Sudoku games is 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960, or approximately 6.67 x 1021 or 6 sextillion variations.

Do you play Sudoku?

Do your grandchildren?

Have you tried variations, like numbers or symbols in the squares?

To you and delighting your grandchildren with play.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”



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