A retired Kelowna teacher is keeping his brain busy, and his online fans happy, by mastering and teaching Sudoku online.
Robin Jarman, the Sudoku Guy, started a YouTube channel in 2015 to teach the game in a relatable, easy-to-follow way.
Since then he has gained millions of views on his page and amassed more than 16,000 subscribers.
“It is worldwide, it is amazing, people from different countries all over the world who can use YouTube to translate it,” said Jarman.
“I give people a step-by-step procedure on how to go about the game. It is all about logic, knowing what to look for and having a procedure to solve it.”
Jarman, 76, started playing the popular puzzle game more than 15 years ago when his post-retirement gig as a professional tour guide saw him travelling the world and spending a lot of time sitting on trains, planes and in airports.
“One day I picked up a Sudoku puzzle and had a go at it and I thought ‘gee, this is a challenge, this is fun’,” said Jarman. “I played around quite a bit and when I got back home from one of my trips I wanted to learn more.”
He said he was immediately intrigued by the game and when he looked online for advice on some of the best ways to work through the game, his results fell flat.
“What was online 15 years ago was very poorly done,” said Jarman.
“What was online was done by, we will call them ‘nerds’ who didn’t have a teaching background. (They) went really fast and used overcomplicated terms.”
As a retired teacher, he felt he could do better.
“I put together a set of lessons where I could take someone who doesn’t know a thing about the game and take them step by step through a series of lessons and tutorials,” said Jarman.
“This would allow them to have a procedure to solve the puzzle, while also learning all the little tips and tricks and techniques on how to go about solving Sudoku.”
For Jarman, one of the biggest myths he needed to bust was that it involves math, a false concept that keeps many away from learning the game.
“It is nothing to do with math, it is all to do with logic. You can use letters, pictures, whatever, as long as there is nine different letters, pictures etc.,” said Jarman. “The tradition is to use numbers because they are easy and everyone knows how to count up to nine, that is all you need to know, it is just working out which number is missing.”
He also has found that engaging in the comments below each video is one of the best parts of posting online.
“Thousands of people worldwide are writing in the comments below each video and a lot of them are very flattering, very rarely do I get a negative one,” Jarman said.
“I enjoy writing back to all these people from all over the world and answering their questions. Often they tried too difficult of a puzzle too soon, I encourage them to master the beginner ones before moving on.”
He added that he loves the game and everything it means and works hard to present a new tutorial each and every month for his subscribers.
“I shoot and edit all my own videos in my home. One of the most important things I have learned about retirement is to keep your brain active and going through Sudoku puzzles is very good for the brain, and your memory.”
He believes Sudoku is the perfect game to challenge the brain for those young and old.
His YouTube page includes a special section of lessons for younger Sudoku challengers.
“Once you know the tricks it can really become addictive, my sweetheart Catherine is addicted,” Jarman added with a laugh. “We do one together every morning over breakfast.”
Jarman’s Sudoku Guy page includes 25 lessons, from beginner to advance, and about 50 other tutorials.
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