Thomas Snyder is an American who has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the "fastest Sudoku solver". The player has several honourable world championship titles to his credit. Snyder is second only to Japan's Kota Morinishi. The latter has won the World Championship 4 times: 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. Thomas is not going to concede: so far he has 3 victories: 2007, 2008 and 2011. In 2023 the World Sudoku Championship is to be held in Canada, and Thomas Snyder is already among the participants.
If you are going to conquer the puzzle, we recommend you to pay attention to some simple tips from the world champion.
Sudoku is not entertainment, but science
Thomas Snyder is not only a world champion, but also a current employee of Stanford University. The scientist's area of interest is DNA and the "automation of science". It seems that Thomas Snyder not only spends time in the research laboratory of biomechanics, but also conducts experiments on his own body.
When solving Sudoku, the American uses a logical method (the same one used in the research lab). The world champion admits: "In sudoku, you start from scratch. Just as it happens in the laboratory. First there is the impetus for the end goal, but you don't know how to achieve it. Then the question of how to make progress starts to preoccupy the brain!". In science, you have to do a series of experiments and/or chemical reactions to reach a certain point. In Sudoku, the principle is similar, but you need to collect numbers. In both the first and second cases, as the American admits, he is drawn in for a long time. The more you learn, the closer you get to reaching the cherished goal.
Sudoku requires consistency and methodicalness
The record holder for the speed of solving the puzzle admits: you need to be methodical and consistent. The expert recommends not to concentrate on one square, but to study the whole grid, analysing the list of possible variants. This method allows you to see those numbers and values that the player did not notice before. When scanning the field, it is worth asking yourself: "Where am I doing well and where am I falling short?".
Practice every day
Tom Snyder admits that championships and records are not given "for nothing". The American trains his brain every day and solves Sudoku. At the same time, he admits that today it has become easier. If in the early 2000s he had to buy newspapers, magazines and special issues, today it is enough to launch a mobile application and play Sudoku online.
Snyder has several apps with different levels of difficulty. The three-time world champion admits that he starts every morning not with a cup of coffee, but with a puzzle. It is more invigorating than any drink, and allows the brain to wake up quickly.
Perhaps this is the secret of champions: simply "hitting the same target" every day.
Calm in the midst of storms and tempests
Any Sudoku competition (the world championship itself) is all about excitement, tremors, emotions, and sweaty palms. Thomas Snyder emphasises that he knows it all. Only cyborgs can be free of worry, anxiety and fear.
To keep calm, the competitors use different techniques. An American, for example, reminds himself that puzzles are not his job and not something on which his life depends. Treating puzzles as entertainment during the competition is difficult, but it helps Snyder to relieve tension.
If it feels like "hitting a dead end," it's worth the distraction. There's no point in torturing yourself and your brain when you're in a "white square" situation.
Thomas Snyder emphasises: when solving puzzles, you often get the feeling that "your brain is moving". Of course, this is not always the case. When a player sees simple tasks, "clicks" them quickly (and often without diving into the essence). "Gears" begin to work when the brain sees complex tasks.
The American admits: champions are not born. To win regional, national and international tournaments, you need a lot of practice. You should not think that the winners of competitions are endowed with some kind of super-skill or super-brain. The secret of any skill is methodicalness, practice, and immersion in the task.