Sudoku number puzzles are very popular all over the world, and millions of people challenge themselves every day.

Maki Kaji, a puzzle enthusiast and publisher known as the “Godfather of Sudoku,” has passed away at the age of 69, his company said.

Kaji, a college dropout who worked in a printing company before founding Japan’s first jigsaw puzzle magazine, drew inspiration from an existing digital puzzle and created what he later named “Sudoku”-the Japanese abbreviation, which means ” Every number must be single”-sometime in the mid-1980s.

The logic puzzle challenges people to fill a grid of 9×9 blocks with nine boxes in each block so that all columns, vertical and horizontal, contain the numbers 1 to 9, without repeating them. The number of filling figures in the grid at the beginning of the puzzle determines its difficulty.

His company, Nikoli, said on its website on Monday: “He is known as the godfather of Sudoku and is admired by puzzle lovers all over the world. We want to thank you all.”

Kaji died of bile duct cancer.

After overseas newspapers started printing about 20 years ago, Sudoku became popular outside of Japan. Known as a way to maintain intellectual acumen, it is estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide try these puzzles on a regular basis. Since 2006, a world championship has been held every year.

With the help of readers of his Jigsaw Puzzle Quarterly, Kaji continues to create and perfect puzzles. Due to physical discomfort, he stepped down as the head of the company in July and died on August 10.

In 2007, he told the BBC: “When I saw a new idea of ​​a puzzle with great potential, I was really touched.” He added that the secret to inventing a good puzzle is to simplify the rules. .

“It’s like looking for treasure. It’s not about whether it will make money, it’s purely trying to solve the excitement of it.”


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