Sudoku Tips - Sudoku Origin

Published: 21st October 2005
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Have you ever wonder who invented Sudoku?

I would like to share with you a real encounter with a Sudoku fanatic I met from my site.

I wrote this article History of Sudoku on my site which traces its origin. The history of Sudoku is said to trace back to 18th century. Very often, you will come across many sites that linked the development of Sudoku to Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler. There are some sites even claimed that he invented Sudoku. Though it is not proven, it adds colours to the argument as to who actually invented Sudoku.

I received a strange email from a Sudoku fanatic, apparently a Japanese, who felt so strongly that the name Leonhard Euler should not even be mentioned in the history of Sudoku.

To protect his privacy, I won't mention his name. But I gave him the credit for doing the thorough research.

Here's what he wrote to me:




Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:01 PM

Subject: History of Sudoku (

Most of what you wrote here is correct -- except the

first paragraph:

"Sudoku is said to have 18th - century roots, but the

origins are unclear. It is believed the puzzle started

from an 18th - century game invented by Swiss

mathematician Leonhard Euler, which in turn was based

on an ancient Chinese puzzle, Lo Shu."

The myth of the Euler connection is just laziness on

the part of the press.

1) The origins of Sudoku ARE clear. Howard Garnes

invented Number Place, Nikoli changed it and coined

the name Sudoku. It origins as are concrete as can

be, no more or less than the Rubik's cube.

2) Euler invented Graeco-Latin Squares (which are in

no way related to or similar to Sudoku) using

pre-exsiting knowledge of Latin Squares -- which

pre-date his birth by several centuries.

A Latin Square is nothing more than an nxn array in

which each digit from 1 to n appears once in each row

and column. It is not a puzzle, nor are Graeco-Roman


This is a Latin Square:

1 2 3 4 5

2 3 4 5 1

3 4 5 1 2

4 5 1 2 3

5 1 2 3 4

As you can see, this is just to simple of a

construction for to be attributed to ANYONE -- I'm

sure both you and I independently "invente" it while

scribbling in our notebooks in grade school.

The Graeco-Latin Square that Euler wrote about has two

symbols in each cell, none of which are duplicated in

any row or column. Each symbol pair appears exactly


1d 2b 3a 4c

3c 4a 1b 2d

4b 3d 2c 1a

2a 1c 4d 3b

As you can see, this has nothing to do with Sudoku,

nothing to do with puzzles in general.

3) Neither Latin Squares nor Graeco-Latin Squares are

"based on" Magic Squares, certainly not on the Lo Shu

square. Euler wrote about "A new kind of magic square"

-- refering to a way that Graeco-Roman squares could

be used to generate magic squares. (Take the square

above and replace the a, b, c and d with +0, +4, +8

and +12 and you'll get this:

13 6 3 12

11 4 5 14

8 15 10 1

2 9 16 7

.. see the Euler Archive:.

Euler Archive

(he ended with a strong statement…)

Euler has NOTHING to do with Sudoku, and though

brilliant, didn't discover Latin Squares.


I followed the forum which he also participated in and I saw many heated posts written by him promoting his defensive theory against Euler.

A Sudoku fanatic? Sudoku Addict? I don't know? But I admire his effort in doing the research and holding strong in his belief.

If you are keen to know the development of the Sudoku History, click on the link.

Just a day of History lesson on the subject of Sudoku! :)

Eric T.

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