My first post on sysudoku.com was September 29, 2011. It previewed a blog to develop material for Systematic Sudoku, a book described as a workbook for human engineered Sudoku solving. Although there is a bit more of the workbook material to come, the initial objective of the blog has been largely achieved within this first year.
As the blog proceeded through all of the more well known solving techniques, the nature of the dedicated reader, the one who will finish the book, became clear. That reader is interested in the challenge of the most difficult puzzles, and wants the satisfaction of discovering the logical bindings that eventually force a solution. That reader is willing to spend days, even weeks, to conquer a fire breathing puzzle, and wants to preserve that effort in a set of computer files. That reader will share the solution files with other similar minded Sudoku fans, and compare notes with them. Eventually a name for type of Sudoku fan had to be minted. He or she is a sysudokie.
The nature of the workbook book is also more clear. Systematic Sudoku readers, with interactive visual support tools in the form of readily available office applications, and with a compact tracing language, will share their basic and advanced solving results along a common, evolving ordering of solving techniques, the Systematic Sudoku Order of Battle. Yes, the SSOB. Compared to the blog, the workbook will be a more effective introduction of more casual solvers to the sysudokie world.
Besides its primary mission as a sysudokie manual, I expect the workbook to be acknowledged as superior instruction for less intense Sudoku fans. The early chapters, equivalent to the blog pages and first month’s basic solving posts, will equip readers to solve, actively and efficiently, all but the hardest section of every puzzle book, and every newspaper or airline magazine puzzle not designated as the hardest of the line. And they can browse forward to see how the advanced methods they have heard about actually play out for a human solver.
The typical interviewer would now want to know what was most disappointing about the first year. That would be a lack of sysudokie level comments from readers. There were no comments specific enough to signal that someone is actually reading my posts.
There may be a good reason for this. When you enter the blog currently on the latest post, it will be about an advanced topic, and will use a sysudokie terminology that was built up over the course of the blog. Unless you already know what I’m talking about, it’s best to go back to the introductory pages and first posts, to read and work your way forward. That’s a natural thing to do with a book in your hand, but not so much on a web site.
I understand the reluctance to comment or ask a question when you can only write knowledgably about the earlier material you are reading. Fortunately, if you use the comment box with the earlier page or post you are on, I see the comment in the present and can reply. The comment and reply are published with the earlier material, just as it should be. The comment and reply are therefore just as relevant and valid to a later reader of the earlier material, even though it was submitted and published much later than the post.
A mildly disappointing development is the lack of any commentary from Sudoku experts, pro or con, on the innovative tools and solving ideas introduced in this year’s blog. These innovations clearly matter, and leaders of the Sudoku community could weigh in on my claims, here in the blog and elsewhere. You might like to know what they have to say about
- slink marking vs the keypad marking style (Slink Marking and the beginners page)
- box marking/line marking vs. the completion method of candidate enumeration (Box Marking, Line Marking, Line Marking Follow Up )
- the pencil friendly locked sets algorithm (Suset Enumeration )
- the basic and advanced level tracing rules (Box Marking, the tracing page)
- the bv map and curve tracing technique for XY-chains (XY-Chains , Conquering the XY Web , XY-Loops )
- the unifying idea of toxic sets (XYZ-wings, ALS Toxic Sets )
- ER winks, as opposed to an ER method (ER Winks )
- cautions on Berthier’s xyt-chains (xyt-chains )
- the alternatives test, ALS and coloring in Sue de Coq (Sue de Coq on SdC, Coloring SdC and APE)
- the X-panel as a visual tool (X-Panel and X-chains)
- the unrecognized universality of X-chains ( Special X-chains, Stuart’s Guardians, Shameless Sashimi )
- regular fish searching and detection marking (Regular Fish, Casting for Regular Fish )
- Kraken analysis (Krakening a Finned Fish)
- mutant fish template and proof (Mutant Fish, Finned Mutant Fish)
- advanced Medusa coloring and toxic colors (Multi-cluster Bridging, Advancing on Unsolvable #40)
- AIC hinge marking and construction(Alternate Inference Chains)
- the AIC cluster shortcut (A Colorful Feast)
- ALS nodes in AIC (ALS Aided AIC)
- ALS row, column and box scanning (Enumerating ALS)
- Limited Pattern Overlay with freeforms and conflict tables (LPO, Pattern Enumeration , Coloring LPO)
A dialog with some experts would have been nice, but I lack the time to repackage these innovations as answers to questions posed on a Sudoku forum. As a blog reader, you could reasonably raise the issues on your favorite forum. Perhaps leaders of that forum community will get interested, and advise us if they have alternatives that are better suited to sysudokie solving objectives. We would all welcome that.
The blog will remain up, under the good auspices of Word Press, dating the original publication of the material. I am eager to learn of earlier introductions of the above ideas, and would be very pleased to acknowledge them in the blog and the workbook, given specific, verifiable citations.
Where will the blog go in the second year? There’s a bit more on LPO. I’ve mentioned the issue of trial and error, and the related topic of forcing chains. My earlier position (Truth Nets and T&E, 1/02) needs an update. Also we need to talk about uniqueness methods. Then I plan to review some of the more esoteric solving patterns appearing in the forums and more recent books, relating them to the concepts of this blog, and trying to discover and explain how to comprehensively search for them in a humanly practical way. Later, I plan to review the original work of better known puzzle collections and instructive materials. You can be sure that the blog will continue to support and refine sysudokie ideals of carbon based Sudoku solving.
Meanwhile, I am inviting publishers and agents to have their own Sudoku experts check out the blog. Wouldn’t Sudoku fans love to have a complete, refined hard copy, with a diskette of template files and example puzzles, with fully documented solution threads? What a fine thing to have the first one of its kind “Made in the USA”.