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Can you KenKen: Japanese puzzle game created by a math teacher


What happens if you combine Scanword and web Sudoku? The Japanese KenKen brain training system has already become popular in Japan and the USA, Australia and Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates. More than 3,000,000 books have been sold worldwide, translated into 15 languages, and recordings of international KenKen competitions are garnering a record number of views on YouTube. Anna Kachan-Yurina tells what kind of puzzle it is.

Eksmo Publishing House has released a series of four books “KenKen. The Japanese Brain Training System. From the simple puzzles in Book 1 to the most difficult and difficult in Book 4.

Author KenKen Tetsuya Miyamoto is a Japanese math teacher who wanted to make his lessons for children more interesting and effective. Then he came up with this intelligent simulator that has become so popular.



KenKen develops cognitive abilities, improves memory, attention and logical thinking. Suitable for both children and adults.

KenKen Rules

The puzzle consists of a grid with numbers and signs of four arithmetic operations. It is necessary to fill the rows and columns with numbers so that they contain the full set of numbers, but do not repeat themselves. But in the block outlined with a bold line, the numbers can be repeated. The number of digits that can be used depends on the size of the grid. An arithmetic sign in a block means that if this action is performed on all digits in the block, you get a number in the upper left corner of the block. In the most difficult puzzles, there are no signs of arithmetic operations at all. Usually, tasks are completed for a while. The best players fill the grid in just a minute. And this, of course, is a real challenge for all intellectuals.

"Ken" in Japanese means "wisdom", and "KenKen" means "wisdom squared". Solving puzzles teaches you to think flexible and practical. Creator KenKen Tetsuya Miyamoto believed that often in math lessons they give some formulas that you don't really understand, you just demonstrate the ability to give out some artificial things that you have memorized. But when you solve KenKen, you really understand what you did. You start to understand math.

Learning to play KenKen is as easy as tic-tac-toe, KenKen can be learned by everyone. You don't have to be good at math. You just need to be able to add. In Japan, a tournament was held, the youngest participant was five years old, and the oldest was 75. KenKen uses numbers, not words, so people from all over the world and of all ages can play the game.

Many people think that online Sudoku is a math puzzle, because it uses numbers, but in fact it is a logic game, and numbers are just symbols, they can be replaced with anything, for example, images of fruits and vegetables.

KenKen contains all the elements of Sudoku puzzles, but when solving KenKen, the brain works differently. The easiest KenKen level is much easier than Sudoku, and the hardest level can cause much more difficulty. Scanwords cannot be compared to KenKen, as they use words, not numbers. KenKen are beginning to be solved with interest by both scanword lovers and Sudoku lovers.

KenKen is highly addictive. Even NY Times puzzle editor Will Shorts said he "got hooked on it from the beginning."