We have come to a situation familiar to every player: we have an empty column but must use it to turn over a new card or to “tidy up suits”. What would be your play here?

Clearly, we can turn over a new card by moving the Kh, Jc or 8d to an empty column. It’s lame but at least we get the turnover (there are cases where we must accept zero turnovers with an empty column but that’s a lesson for later). It would be nice if we can move the 9c-8c in column 5 to the empty column and then shift the 9s-8c in-suit to column 5. Unfortunately, that’s illegal.

Searching for other possibilities, we find it is possible to shift the 2s onto the 3c, then 4h-3h-2h-Ah in column 9 to the empty column and build in-suit with 5d-4d. This way we get a turnover plus an in-suit build. This is in fact a not uncommon scenario if you excuse the double negative. True, we lose a turnover if the next card is a Two of any suit, but we gain if the next card is a Six since we can shift the 5d-4d. Note that as an added bonus, we get to build in-suit with 4d-3d also. So it’s decided then: we will turn over a card in column 7. With reasonable luck we will get our hole back, since columns 2,7,9,10 have two face-down cards or fewer.

Although it is not relevant to this position, it is sometimes possible to get a two-fer i.e. two guaranteed turnovers for an empty column. For instance if the first three columns had 9, 8-K, 7 (suits irrelevant), then shifting the King onto the empty column allows us to shift the 8 and 7. These situations are rare but worth looking out for.

Let’s see what the fickle Spider Solitaire gods give us …