Title:
Sudoku buddy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device capable of keeping track of numbers that occur in the same row, same column and the 3×3 grid involved in a particular square of a specific sudoku puzzle, thus identifying all of the numbers excluded for that square and revealing the unique remaining number from the list of 1 through 9 as the solution for the square, repetition of which process for each of the remaining empty squares ultimately yielding a complete solution for the sudoku puzzle.



Inventors:
Chowdhury, Mohiuddin Ahmed (Irvine, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/827623
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/12/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STANCZAK, MATTHEW BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MOHIUDDIN AHMED CHOWDHURY (CORONA, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A method of keeping track of clues given in sudoku puzzles, consisting in (a) a means of generating a display of array of numbers 1 through 9 in a convenient format, (b) a means of marking specific numbers in said array of said display given by said clues for a specific square of said puzzle, (c) a means of regenerating said array of said display after completion of marking said specific numbers given by said clues, whereby, a unique number in said array of numbers 1 through 9 may be left unmarked and thus becomes the solution for said square of said sudoku puzzle, following which, the process is repeated for another square by regenerating said display and marking said specific numbers in said array of said display given by said clues for said another square, thus finding another unique number as the solution for said another square, whereby ultimately finding said unique numbers for all of the initially empty squares of said sudoku puzzle.

2. A method of claim 1 where the means of generating said display is printing said numbers on a board

3. A method of claim 1 where the means of generating said display is printing said numbers on a tape

4. A method of claim 1 where the means of generating said display is printing said numbers on a video screen

5. A method of claim 1 where the means of marking said number is by physically covering said number

6. A method of claim 1 where the means of making said number is by deleting said number off a video screen

7. A method of claim 1 where said display is a screen of 9 empty squares and said means of marking said numbers is by printing consecutively said numbers given by said clues whereby, whenever a unique number in said array of 1-9 is not printed it becomes the solution for said square of said sudoku puzzle, following which, the process is repeated for another square by regenerating said display and marking said specific numbers in said array of said display given by said clues for said another square, thus finding another unique number as the solution for said another square, whereby ultimately finding said unique numbers for all of the initially empty squares of said sudoku puzzle.

8. An article of mental recreation that is capable of keeping track of clues given in a sudoku puzzle, comprising of (a) a board containing the numbers 1 through 9 in a convenient array, (b) bars capable of sliding in specific direction as a means of covering specific numbers in said array given by said clues for a specific square of said puzzle, (c) said bars also capable of sliding in a direction opposite of said specific direction as a means of regenerating said numbers in said array after completion of considering said clues for said specific square of said puzzle, whereby, a unique number in said array of numbers 1 through 9 may be left uncovered and thus becomes the solution for said square of said sudoku puzzle, following which, the process is repeated for another square by regenerating said array of numbers and covering said specific numbers in said array given by said clues for said another square, thus finding another unique number as the solution for said another square, whereby ultimately finding said unique numbers for all of the initially empty squares of said sudoku puzzle.

9. An article of claim 8 where said sliding bars are mechanically operated

10. An article of claim 8 where said sliding bars are electrically operated

11. An article of claim 8 where said sliding bars are electronically operated

12. An article of claim 8 where said sliding bars are designed to move up and down

13. An article of claim 8 where said sliding bars are designed to move forward and backward

14. An article of claim 8 where said sliding bars are operated by a computer program

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a device useful for solving sudoku puzzles. It provides a row of numbers 1 through 9. These numbers are covered individually as the clues reveal the numbers that are excluded for a particular square. Thus it conveniently keeps track of the excluded numbers. When 8 numbers are excluded leaving only one uncovered number, it becomes the solution for that square of the puzzle. This number also adds to the existing clues and yields solutions for more and more squares, ultimately solving the entire puzzle.

DISCUSSION OF PRIOR ART

Recently sudoku has gained a high degree of popularity as a mental exercise and intellectual recreation. It has become a regular column in many respectable daily newspapers and other periodicals.

A sudoku puzzle consists of a 9×9 grid further subdivided into nine 3×3 grids. In a completed puzzle each row and each column and each 3×3 grid contain each of the numbers 1 through 9 in a specific but non-consecutive order. In an easy puzzle about 40 squares are left empty. The objective is to assign numbers in these empty squares while meeting the above condition. The level is made harder by making clues more difficult and leaving increasing numbers of squares empty.

Some sudoku players solve the puzzle by choosing a square and mentally tracking the numbers present in the relevant field. This field consists in the same row and the same column as well as the 3×3 grid to which the square belongs. If the field contains 8 different numbers from 1 through 9, the remaining number is the solution for the square. However, even if the square is chosen with the best of strategies, in majority of the cases one finds fewer than 8 different numbers in the field and therefore, no unique solution.

Fortunately in few of the cases unique solutions are found in this manner in the first round. These solutions serve as additional clues. Thus in the second round more and more unique solutions are found.

So, in the later stages of solving the puzzle the number of clues become so large that only 2 or 3 numbers need to be considered for a particular square. This is relatively easy to keep track of mentally. In the earlier stages a greater number of choices are involved which most people find very difficult to mentally keep track of.

Currently the only recourse for these players is to write the numbers on paper or the computer screen generated by a program for that purpose. Since, depending on the level of difficulty of the puzzle, 40-60 squares are empty and since one must consider all of the 9 numbers either to exclude from or include in each square, the exercise becomes one of writing 60×9=540 numbers in the first round alone!

Writing a huge array of numbers and crossing out or erasing the clues requires extreme care. Most people will find the writing pad horribly scrambled very soon. Consequently they will either cross out a wrong number by mistake or may not even be able discern the numbers in the array. Unless a mistake is detected immediately, it becomes next to impossible to correct it. Of course one can start all over again with a new writing pad or computer screen, a very frustrating idea and far from the intended fun.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

The object of Sudoku Buddy is to provide a means to keep track of numbers excluded from a particular square without ever writing any number. Sudoku Buddy has a narrow board containing the 9 numbers. In other words the numbers are already written. Whenever a unique number is left in the row because 8 other numbers have been excluded, this number is read from the board and is entered in the puzzle. Thus Sudoku Buddy helps find the solution in the first few rounds of searching easily and fast.

Since the board is reset after searching the field for each square one works with a single row of numbers instead of 40-60 rows. So the board is always simple and clean. This greatly reduces the possibility of making mistakes.

Thus with this invention solving sudoku puzzles becomes fun again. Since it is a tool for methodically tracking numbers only and offers no strategy, solving the puzzle still remains an invigorating mental exercise.

In the current embodiment of the Sudoku Buddy the board has the numbers 1-9 printed in a consecutive order. Thus these numbers are easy to find for excluding from a square on the basis of available clues in the relevant field. It is lightweight and therefore easy to carry for use anywhere.

Further objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing description.

SUMMARY

The Sudoku Buddy contains a row of 9 different numbers from 1 through 9 arranged consecutively. A sliding tab can cover the numbers excluded from a square on the basis of the clues in the relevant field. When this process leaves a unique number on the board that is not covered, this number serves as the solution for the particular square. This number also serves as an additional clue for the remaining empty squares. The process is repeated using the Sudoku Buddy until the puzzle is solved completely.

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1: illustrates a prototypical embodiment of this invention

FIG. 2: illustrates how a number occurring in the relevant field is covered

FIG. 3: illustrates a number left uncovered after considering the relevant field

FIG. 4: Shows that often multiple numbers remain uncovered after an entire field is explored

REFERENCE NUMERALS

40 Sudoku Buddy board containing the numbers 1-9 arranged consecutively

42 A number in the Sudoku Buddy board 40

44 Sliding bar that can be moved forward for covering a number 42 on Sudoku Buddy board 40 and can also be moved back to reset the Sudoku Buddy board 40

46 Handle for sliding bar 44

Operation

In the current embodiment the Sudoku Buddy has a narrow board (40). The numbers 1 through 9 (42) are printed on this board in a row consecutively. The user starts solving a sudoku puzzle by choosing an empty square on the puzzle that fit the best strategy. Then he/she checks out the numbers present in the relevant field which includes the same column, same row and the 3×3 grid involved. As he/she finds a number in this process he/she moves the corresponding bar (44) to cover that particular number in the board (40) as shown in FIG. 2. If the number is found again nothing needs to be done. If a new number is found, it is covered in the same manner. After the entire field is checked, one or more numbers on the board may remain uncovered. If it is only one number as in FIG. 3 it is the solution and is therefore entered on the puzzle board on paper or the screen of a computer or other video equipments. Often the board shows multiple numbers uncovered (FIG. 4) none of which need to be entered in the puzzle.

Regardless of whether a solution for a square is found or not, the user proceeds with another strategic empty square. He/she also resets the board (40) so that all of the 9 numbers (42) are uncovered. Then he/she repeats the process of covering the numbers that he/she finds in the new field. It is expected that after repeating this process for most of the empty squares, a few solutions are obtained, especially if the strategy applied is sound. With these solutions in hand the user can go back to a previously considered but unsolved square and can expect to find the unique number that belongs to the square. Ultimately this happens for all of the initially empty squares and the entire puzzle is solved.

Conclusion, Ramifications and Scope

The Sudoku Buddy can help in solving sudoku puzzles without getting bogged in a plethora of written numbers. The process of keeping track of the numbers 1-9 in a board and regenerating the board numerous times as opposed to writing them repeatedly makes Sudoku Buddy a desired companion for anybody interested in solving sudoku puzzles.

The board can be in different forms including plain writing, blocks or typed in a device like computer or other video screens. The process of covering numbers according to available clues can be mechanical like sliding a bar or placing a physical cover. It can be done electronically with a switch or a button. It can be done with the click of a mouse or a button on the keyboard connected to a computer monitor. Regeneration or resetting the board can also be mechanical, electronic or driven by a computer program.

Thus the scope of this invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given above.