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Sudoku players that have been left frustrated by the latest puzzle they’re trying out should turn to the handy X-wing technique. Named after the iconic Star Wars spaceship, the X-wing technique can help sudoku players narrow down the amount of possibilities for four squares on the grid. This in turn can help them figure out the numbers to place on the rest of the sudoku grid.
To start with, you need to look for two squares in the same row or a column where the same digit could appear.
If you jot down potential numbers in pencil that could be filled in a square before writing your final mark in pen this shouldn’t be an issue.
So say, for instance, you found that digit X could appear twice in row three.
You may find that further down the sudoku grid you see that digit X could also appear in two squares in a row.
Let’s say for this example digit X could also appear twice in row nine.
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Then, have a look and see how all of these four squares match up.
If you see that the squares you have highlighted in row three and row nine are also in the same corresponding column you have an X-wing.
It’s named this because when you create an X when you draw two lines between these squares, with one line going from left to right, and the other right to left.
So how does this actually help you in practice? Well, the X-wing pattern can help you narrow down the correct answers for these squares.
Let’s go back to the example we talked about, where digit X can feature in two squares that appear in row three, and two squares that feature in row nine.
Remember, these squares have to line up in the same columns and the same rows.
And, interestingly, it turns out the way sudoku puzzles are created means digit X can feature in two out of these four squares.
If digit X is the correct answer for the square that’s in the top right of the X wing it will be the correct answer for the square in the bottom left.
And if digit X is the correct answer for the square that’s in the top left of the X wing it will be the correct answer for the square that is in the bottom right.
The way X-wings work was detailed further in a YouTube video by Clarity Media.
If you’re still struggling to see how X-wings work click here to watch the video by the YouTube channel.
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