Strategies for Number Puzzles of all kinds
Latest Apps

Valid XHTML 4.01 Transitional
Sudoku X Solver (Beta) Please report any bugs. Tested in IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome.
Feedback: Form and User Comments/Questions Here
Candidates can be Edited or Highlighted / Shown
Enter clues or solutions
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Auto Tab Auto Clear
Clues+Solved: 0/81
Pick an example here

What's New?
I have been working on improving the display of strong links in the solvers. Before I release this I'd appreciate comments. On the current versions the strong link display is tiresome to keep turning on and its very transient.

You will see a new tick box under "show candidates". Turn that on while stepping through the solver. Use in combination with the String Link tick boxes under the list. The links update when you edit a cell - if "show strong links" is ticked. Thoughts appreciated.

Version 2.05 BETA
See documentation for Sudoku and Sudoku X strategies

Coordinate system: Letter/Number rYcX

Check for Solved Squares   
Show Possibles  
Show Strong Links 
1: Hidden Singles  
2: Naked Pairs/Triples  
3: Hidden Pairs/Triples 
4: Naked/Hidden Quads 
5: Pointing Pairs  
6: Box/Line Reduction  
Tough Strategies
7: X-Wing  
8: Simple Colouring  
9: Y-Wing  
10: Swordfish  
11: XYZ Wing  
Diabolical Strategies
12: X-Cycles  
13: XY-Chain  
14: 3D Medusa  
15: Jellyfish  
16: Unique Rectangles  
17: Hidden Unique Rect's  
18: WXYZ Wing  
19: Aligned Pair Exclusion  
Extreme Strategies
20: Grouped X-Cycles  
21: Finned X-Wing  
22: Finned Swordfish  
23: Altern. Inference Chains 
24: Sue-de-Coq  
25: Digit Forcing Chains  
26: Nishio Forcing Chains 
27: Cell Forcing Chains  
28: Unit Forcing Chains  
29: Almost Locked Sets  
30: Death Blossom  
31: Pattern Overlay Method  
32: Quad Forcing Chains  
"Trial and Error" 
33: Bowman Bingo 

Show bi-values cells
Show Strong links in Diagonals
Boxes Rows Columns
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Please report any bugs - Thanks.

If you are getting errors please
clear your browser cache
to retrieve the latest script files
Free Sudoku and Str8ts for Print

Welcome to my Sudoku X Solver

Sudoku X is a great variant of normal Sudoku and this solver is an extension of my Sudoku Solver to help you discover the logical solutions for this puzzle. The difference is that in Sudoku X the two diagonals are known to contain the numbers 1 ro 9 uniquely. These extra constraints allow you the puzzle solver to dervice new conclusions about candidates to eliminate and find solutions to cells. You can look along the diagonals (marked with a darked X on th board) and make deductions. However, the extra constraints mean that the puzzle creator can leave less clues than normal sudoku.

For the easier Sudoku X puzzles you won't really find a necessary example of a deduction based on the diagonals although you will want to scan them in case you see an easy 'single'. For tough puzzles and above the diagonals must be checked. In this solver they are checked before rows, columns and boxes. All the normal rules and logical posibilities apply to Sudoku X with some exceptions. There are pitfalls, for example, with Unique Rectangles, which rely on a certain formations. I have documented these here. Please check this stratgy guide if you want to use the advanced strategies.

I am now working independently on puzzle creation.

All feedback, comments, arguments, bug reports and strategy ideas are welcome. There is a new FEEDBACK form with a column displaying comments and questions. Many thanks to all the people who have done so and helped improve this solver.

New in version 2.01 (August 25th 2014)
Added a clue+solved cell count; added a show bi-value cells checkbox.

Latest version 1.85 (May 12th 2011)
On the small board for number entry I have added an option that automatically clears off candidates as numbers are added. Also, changes to the small board are automatically saved.

Latest version 1.82 (May 10th 2011)
I have redesigned the way cookies are stored and puzzles loaded. You still have a manual save and reload but the solver now automatically saves the board every time it changes. Should you loose the page it will restore the puzzle you were working on. Cookies also retain the difference between clues and solved cells as well.

Latest version 1.81 (April 20th 2012)
Restored Unique Rectangles to the Sudoku X solver. Added a special kind of Sudoku X Pointng Pair previously found by Simple Colouring. There have been a number of miner fixes to the solver in February and March not worthy of a version increment.

Version history here Original version 1.42 12th Jan 2008

Notes on examples

The examples in the list above illustrate some of the many strategies available. They are all 'necessary' examples in the sense that no easier strategy will by-pass the requirement for their use - unless perhaps one reorders the strategies. The diabolical strategies could all be swapped around to no detriment but I have ordered them in what I subjectively believe to be an order of complexity. Some examples start at the beginning of the puzzles, some half way through. While one strategy has been picked out as the example many of the others will be required to complete.

12 clue tough is from "Taking Sudoku Seriously" by Jason Rosenhouse & Laura Taalman published by Oxford University Press, Inc.

Michael from Denmark has sent me the 'Unsolvable' - a great puzzle from a Sudoku magazine which I can't logically solve yet

Many people have written to me to comment about multiple solutions for a given Sudoku. There are no logical tricks the solver can use to detect this other than not complete correctly. The only way to check this is to perform a brute force analysis which tests every possible legal placement of a number. Computers are good at this and we now have a new yellow button called "Solution Count". Try this on any Sudoku to check if it has a unique solution.

Detailed help

Use New to empty the board before entering your own puzzle. Save will remember the current state of the board so you can Re-load it again (even if you close your browser - you must allow cookie for this to work). Restart applies only to the example puzzles in the list. The current list contains an example puzzle that tests each strategy.

Take Step first displays the possibles or candidates for each unknown cell. These are the numbers that do not contradict any known or solved square. Once these are displayed Take Step will step through other tests and then loop until it can go no further. The first few tests are the most productive and the solver will often loop between them. If any are successful and the board is changed in any way it will go back to the start and "Check for Solved Squares". The reason for this step is to make it easier to spot what's changed. Many of the strategies have knock-on effects which mean that they can't be run back-to-back - it's essential that we return to the basic steps. We go back because we want the least hard solve route.

The first six tests are the simplest and are required for any sudoku. After that you are allowed to choose which strategies the solver will use. Tick and un-tick the check boxes. For example, you may not want to use any strategies that rely on a unique solution. Uncheck test 15.

The order of these advanced strategies - and my inclusion of them in categories 'tough', 'diabolical' and 'evil' are my personal choice after close study and are roughly in order of complexity. While the logic is different for each you should be aware that there is considerable overlap in their power to solve in certain situations. For example, 'Guardians' will never solve anything while 'Multi-colouring' is switched on since they both attack similar configurations.

All strategies in the list have links to documentation, but its worth describing what the first tests do:

  • Show Possibles: For each unknown square we eliminate all possibles where those numbers are known in each row, column and box. This may reveal a single candidate in which case we have a solution for that cell.
  • Test 1: If a possible number occurs once in a row or column we can eliminate other candidates and make this the solution to the square.
  • Test 2: If a possible number occurs once in a diagonal or box (3 by 3 cell) we can eliminate other candidates and make this the solution to the square. Same test as Test 1 but for boxes.
  • Test 3: In this test we check for 'naked' Pairs and Triples. For example, if we have two pairs, eg 3-4 and 3-4 in the same row, column or box, then both 3 and 4 must occupy those squares (in what ever order). 3 and 4 can then be eliminated from the rest of the row, column or box.
  • Test 4: This test is for Hidden Pairs and Hidden Triples.
  • Test 5: This test is for Naked Quads and Hidden Quads.
  • Test 6: See pointing pairs and triples for a full explanation. This test help us eliminate numbers in rows and columns outside the box.
  • Test 7: Box/Line Reduction. We check the box against the rows and columns that intersect it for each number.
If this solver comes up with an error - or it can't be solved, first use the Solution Count button to prove it has only one solution. This uses a fast brute-force algorithm to check for all possible solutions. If it's valid, please use the Email button to send it to I'd be very interested to study examples that can't be solved on this page.

Solver created on 12-Jan-2008.
This page was last modified on 22-July-2013.
All code and design is copyright and for personal use only and may not be reproduced elsewhere.
Copyright Andrew Stuart @ Syndicated Puzzles Inc, 2005-2014