Albcell.1 (Author Interview)

Albcell.1 looks like a great logic based puzzle game book.  What can you tell us about it?

Let me state first that I am a great fan of IQ tests. The reason why, is that as far as our present understanding goes, there’s no better way to calibrate somebody natural intelligence to a measurable scale. I have also experimented quite a bit with a variety of subjects, (as in human beings), trying to find out what can be improved for better results. Of course, the gray matter that is our brain is not exactly a muscle, but treating it as such, has value from a practical standpoint. “Use it or use it” - it is that simple! Puzzles in general, including the one I am presenting today, are tools in this training process. Nothing is set in stone! Intelligence can be viewed as an aggregate of many factors. Albcell trains and strengthen some key components, like concentration, perseverance and multitasking to name a few. 


How long did it take you to create Albcell.1?

The idea of Albcell came to me as a very peculiar feeling some years ago, while I was sitting on a caffe at upper east side in New York City. At the time, parallel with my yoga routine and daly swimming, I was challenging myself weekly with a variety of intelligence tests. Afterwords, I used to set a timer to find out how long would it take me to solve an extreme sudoku, or some other type of puzzle. However, all good things come to an end. At some point, I believed that I had exhausted the subject, and yet I wasn’t completely satisfied. Since we all tend to talk to ourselves, I raised the questions: What’s next? What is lacking here? What can I do better?  Everybody is a critic, but can I actually come up with something new and meaningful?

Shortly after I invented Albcell.0 (the original puzzle), and then Albcell.1 on the same evening. By the way, Albcell puzzle comes in five main branches: the other three are Albcell.d (the first book on this series will be introduced next month), Albcell.r and Albcell.p

I understand that all this might sound a little confusing the first time, but the puzzle rule for any type of Albcell is always one, simple, and unifying: Fill the odd numbers (1,3,5,7,9) in diamond squares and even numbers (0,2,4,6,8) in circles, once for each horizontal and vertical row. 

In a way, it is fortunate to have such a plethora of varieties, because peoples taste and abilities differ by a large margin. Also, the time factor shape continuously what we think, what we like and so on… Puzzle lovers might find themselves attracted to “something new” after awhile. Albcell offers such opportunity within its own domain.


When will volume two be available?

In a few months. Actually, I am planning volume 2, 3, and 4 to be completed within this year.


Can you tell us a little about the types of puzzles found in the book?

All books on Albcell.1 series are composed of 90 puzzles. They are divided in six levels, from easy to extreme. Each level has fifteen puzzles. Other books have different puzzle counts and also different levels. This is another peculiar thing about this puzzle. It has something to offer to a wide variety of puzzle lovers.


What will readers get out of your book?

That is the key question, I am glad you asked. Compared with other pencil puzzles, there is a key difference. Albcell, is in a way, multi dimensional. One has to navigate between obstacles, just like a runner who has to jump over hurdles to reach his/her goal. Other puzzles, for all their merits, lack such a clearcut of this key component.


How did you come up with the puzzles in Albcell.1?

Well, having good ideas is only the beginning. Yet the math part wasn’t the main challenge for me, since I like math. More time consuming was the challenge of transferring notes and drawings from my journals to some printable, standard electronically format. I was inclined to learn so many things from zero. With other words, I had to invent the frame-software for my puzzle which of course required some time and effort to be willed into existence.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when creating Albcell.1?

Life. Life is challenging. There are thousand little things that pose as obstacles every day, trying to slow us down. Creativity is more like inspiration, like poetry. It is not a challenge, but a gift. However, unless you’re able to materialize it in real world and make it accessible, it doesn’t really exist, except in your own mind. That was my challenge.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

I am working in a web page as we speak. Soon, all albcell branches will be shown there, including many free, printable puzzles.