Sudoku duel and more

  • Lifestyle
  • Saturday, 24 Nov 2012

Fans of the numeral brain-teaser can expect an exciting championship ahead presided by the godfather of Sudoku himself.

SHARPEN your pencils, Sudoku fans, and put on your thinking caps! For the Third Malaysia Sudoku Championship takes place on Dec 1 and 2 at The Summit Subang USJ, Selangor, and it will be graced by none other than the Japanese creator of the world-famous puzzle.

Maki Kaji, 61, dubbed the godfather of Sudoku, will be flying in from Tokyo to meet with his many Malaysian fans. He was last here in Malaysia for the National Sudoku Seminar in March 2011.

Sudoku is abbreviated from its Japanese name Sujiwadokushininikagiru. It means “bachelor or single”, which reflects the basic rule that only the numbers between one and nine can be filled in each nine-by-nine box without any repetition in each cell and grid.

“Sudoku is a hugely popular numbers puzzle due to its broad appeal among the young and old alike, regardless of background, age, gender, ethnicity or nationality,” says Lee Yee Dian, secretary of the Malaysia Sudoku Society, the championship organiser.

“You will find primary school kids working on the same 9x9 box as adults and senior citizens do. It’s incredible to see how quickly some can complete a puzzle. We will also see grandfathers and grandmothers exercising their brain as they navigate the rows and columns. Sudoku offers a great mental workout and hours of fun to just about anyone!”

The Star was the first newspaper in Malaysia to offer Sudoku daily to its readers in 2005. And in July this year, the English daily became the first Malaysian newspaper to exclusively provide original daily Sudoku puzzles direct from Kaji’s Tokyo-based company, Nikoli Co Ltd. Some of the puzzles are specifically created just for The Star readers.

In addition, readers also get to enjoy Slitherlink, another popular numbers game by Nikoli, in Sunday Star.

Most notably, Nikoli’s puzzles are handcrafted, as opposed to computer-generated. As such, Nikoli puzzles offer an unparalleled mental exercise that is at once tricky and challenging, unpredictable yet thoroughly fun.

For the upcoming third edition of the championship, competitors will be challenging each other using the unique, handcrafted Sudoku puzzles from Nikoli.

“Seasoned players find handcrafted puzzles not only more challenging but satisfying than the ubiquitous computer-generated ones!” says Lee.

This year’s event boasts cash vouchers and electrical appliances for winners of all four categories featured.

Lee, however, is quick to point out that Sudoku has always been about having fun.

“Although the competition rewards players who can solve a puzzle in the swiftest possible way, our competitors generally come to enjoy themselves, whether they win or not. So we encourage anyone who is interested in picking up Sudoku to just come and join us that weekend.”

The four categories are: Students, Senior Citizens, Open, and 1Sudoku. All participants will first sit for a preliminary round. Those who complete the puzzles in the shortest time will go on to the final round. All finalists will receive a prize.

The champion in each of the categories will take home RM1,000 worth of Midea electrical appliances and Giant vouchers totalling RM1,000.

Apart from the competition, there will be side activities including a Sudoku Family Challenge, Mensa IQ tests, special sale of Nikoli Sudoku books from Japan, and a Slitherlink helpdesk that offers enthusiasts and newcomers a deeper understanding of the exciting puzzle from Nikoli.

Pre-registration for the championship is required with a fee of RM10 per person. Walk-in participants will be accepted only upon the availability of slots.

For full details and championship rules and regulations, visit, e-mail or call Lim at 019-311 8174 / Lee at 012-234 1492 / Tan at 016-916 0033. – Chin Mui Yoon

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