What’s it like to be a Sudoku Player? My Interview with Adam Haley

Hi! Today’s post is a bit unusual – with Adam Haley’s permission, I’m publishing an interview I did with him at the last tournament in Oregon.

Hi Alex. Tell me first, how did you discover sudoku?

Hi! Well, I first saw sudoku in my dad’s paper when I was about 10 years old. Of course, I had more interesting things to do then like watch TV, go to school and play with my friends – so Sudoku didn’t really fit in.

And speaking of a more mature age, I encountered sudoku at work. A colleague of mine had just made a little application on the subject. It so happened that I was the first tester and that’s when I first solved my first square for myself.

In general, I’ve always liked puzzles. I’m a fan of logic games, quizzes, and various puzzles. Sherlock Holmes is my favorite literary hero.

How do you devote time to your hobby, especially given your work and family obligations?

Well, I try to find time every day to solve at least a few puzzles. This usually happens in the evening when my daughter is asleep and my wife and I are sitting in the kitchen with a glass of wine. Sometimes I solve Sudoku on my lunch hour at work. When I’m on vacation, I can solve Sudoku all day (laughs).

How does your family feel about your hobby?

It’s fine. My family is sympathetic to my Sudoku hobby. They know it’s my passion and that solving puzzles helps me to relax. It’s true that my wife sometimes jokes about me and says that Sudoku has become my second love after her.

I don’t really see any problem in combining my interest in sudoku with my regular life. It doesn’t take much time – it’s more about regularity. At some point, thought starts to outpace logic – you just start to see the right combinations. By the way, I sometimes solve Sudoku with my father when I visit him. He’s not as good as he used to be, but I try to prompt and help him. Sudoku is a great way for older people to maintain their neural connections and improve cognitive function.

You were at the 2019 Sudoku World Championship in Germany. Tell us what it was like.

Oh, it was an incredible journey! I was very excited and glad I decided to go. I met a lot of great people and got to meet smart players from all over the world. I even have a separate essay on the topic on my blog. In general, I love attending different events on the subject. I’ve been to France, Germany, and Japan.

How are you progressing? And in general, is it possible to make progress in sudoku?

Improving my sudoku skills is through practicing and participating in competitions. I also try to solve sudoku at different levels of difficulty so I don’t limit myself.

How do you handle the pressure of championships and other sudoku tournaments?

I’m so into the game that I don’t notice the pressure too much. Sure, I worry sometimes, but mostly I just enjoy the game and try not to think too much about the outcome.

What advice do you have for beginning sudoku players?

My main advice for beginning players is don’t panic! Sudoku may seem complicated, but it’s just a logic puzzle. It lives by its own laws – you just have to feel them. Start with simple levels and work your way up to more difficult ones. Most importantly, don’t give up! Practice makes perfect.

Do you think sudoku can be good for mental development?

Well, I wouldn’t make a sweeping statement. However, I do think Sudoku is a great way to develop logical thinking and improve memory. This game definitely helps older people keep their minds sharp!

Tell us a little about your website DailySudokuPuzzles.com

I created this project on pure enthusiasm. I have not found any normal resource on Sudoku. That is, there are plenty of projects where you can play online, but no material on the tactics, strategies, and news sudoku world.

So I, along with a few friends created this project. Since I’m a programmer, it was not difficult for me to launch it)

We are growing well, with traffic coming from all over the world. I sincerely hope that we will become the number 1 resource on this topic.

Is sudoku growing at all?

Well, Sudoku is definitely becoming more popular as a casual game. It fits this category perfectly because it doesn’t require much training, and anyone can start playing it at any time. As far as I know, the ratings of such apps in the AppStore are steadily increasing.

In general, Sudoku is getting more and more complicated as time goes on. An interesting trend in the development of Sudoku is the use of augmented reality apps. This allows players to see the playing field on the screen of their mobile device in combination with the real world. This approach not only makes the game more exciting, but also allows players to play anywhere and anytime.

However, it is still unclear how popular this trend will be.

Overall, I see a growing interest in this game – it’s a true Renaissance. Young people today are happy to come and play in local tournaments. And it’s not geeks – it’s regular people who want to develop their hobby.

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