Sudoku players who are frustrated with the latest puzzles they are trying to solve should turn to the handy X-wing technique. Named after the iconic spaceship Star Wars, the X-wing technique can help Sudoku players narrow the amount of possibilities to four squares on a grid. This, in turn, can help them figure out which numbers to place on the rest of the Sudoku grid.
To get started, you need to find two squares in the same row or column where the same number can appear.
If you jot down the possible numbers in pencil that can be filled in a box before writing your final mark in pencil, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Suppose, for example, that you find that the number X can appear twice in the third row.
You may find that at the bottom of the sudoku grid you see that the number X may also appear in two consecutive squares.
Let’s say in this example that the number X can appear twice in the ninth row.
Then take a look and see how all four of these squares match.
If you see that the squares you selected in row 3 and row 9 are also in the same corresponding column you have an X-wing.
It’s so named because when you create an X when you draw two lines between these squares, one goes from left to right and one goes from 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 to these squares.
Let’s go back to the example we talked about, where the number X can appear in two squares that appear in the third row, and two squares that appear in the ninth row.
Remember that these squares must line up in the same columns and the same rows.
Interestingly, it turns out that the way Sudoku puzzles are created means that the number X can appear in two of these four squares.
If the number X is the correct answer for the square in the top right of the wing X, then the correct answer is for the square in the bottom left.
And if the number X is the correct answer for the square on the top left of the X wing, then the correct answer is for the square on the bottom right.
How X-Wings works is further detailed in a YouTube video by Clarity Media.
If you are still struggling to learn how X wings work click here Watch the video on the YouTube channel.