International Sudoku Day takes place, of course, on September 9 (9/9). Sudoku enthusiasts will no doubt notice the date’s symbolism. The goal of the Sudoku game is to fill a 9×9 grid so that each column, row, and 3×3 sub-grid contains all the digits from 1 to 9. So nine-nine is the natural choice for the day of celebration. It’s time to get your brain into gear because although today is most definitely a cause for celebration, some hardcore logical thinking will be required.
History of International Sudoku Day
In 1892, the French newspaper “La Siècle” printed a game that was akin to Sudoku in that each row and column had to contain all the designated numbers, but unlike Sudoku, it involved numerals higher than 9 and engaged solvers’ mathematical skills, not their logic center. In the ensuing years, other French papers picked up on the trend with similar games, but none were strictly identical to Sudoku, and those games’ popularity waned around the time that World War I was starting.
Flash forward to 1979. Circumstantial evidence points to Indiana architect Howard Garns publishing a puzzle of his own invention (at that time named “Number Place”) in “Dell Magazine” that would become the game we now know as Sudoku. Garns, however, passed away without seeing his brainchild become an international sensation. In the meantime, the game set Japan’s puzzle industry on fire, gaining the name Sudoku for the first time, along with a fan base of millions of devoted players. In 1997, Hong Kong judge Wayne Gould invented a computer program that could come up with unique Sudoku puzzles. He pitched the game as a daily puzzle feature to newspapers in the U.K., and soon Sudoku was known around the world.
Today, Sudoku is readily available on smartphone apps and widely printed in papers and magazines. It’s the subject of multiple documentaries and game shows, and even spawned an award-nominated original tune by songwriter Peter Levy. We think it’s safe to say Sudoku isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
In 2013 The World Puzzle Federation made September 9 the official International Sudoku Day and we’ve been celebrating it ever since.