Game on! (3 June, 2020)

Here is the position from last week

The first order of business is to shift the J-0-9 in Column ‘c’ onto the Q of Clubs. This illustrates the concept of “duplication vs diversification”. We already have three exposed Queens so can easily afford to use up one of them. But we don’t have an exposed Four. By diversifying we give ourselves more opportunities to reveal cards since any exposed Three can later play onto the Four of clubs. Even if we don’t expose a Three we also get the option of shifting some junk in Column ‘a’ (one empty column is not enough to shift the 8-7-6-5-4-3-2 without some “stepping stones”).

Note also that procrastination is not possible. Any legal action must spend our only empty column, so we must make the choice now: shift the J-0-9 or leave it – and all the signs point to the former.

We next shift the Jh-0s-9s-8s onto the Q of Hearts using much the same reasoning: procrastination is impossible, we build in-suit with Q-J of Hearts and again diversify, exposing a Ten. This Ten is especially useful since it gives us an option of shifting the 9h-8d-7d even if a bad card turned up.

The next order of business is to look for opportunities to “tidy up”. We have 8d-7c and 8s-7d in the first two columns which suggests it may be possible to build in-suit with 8-7 of Diamonds. It turns out this is possible, using “stepping stones” in columns ‘c’ and ‘g’. Note that we have to temporarily break up the 7-6 of Clubs to achieve this. Also observe that we can now procrastinate in column ‘a’ since it is possible to shift 8d-7d onto the Nine of Spades after using up the empty column.

At this stage the obvious choice is to shift the Two of Clubs onto the empty column, since that takes care of the last hidden card in Column ‘e’. This would improve our chances of winning back an empty column on the next round.

An advanced player might consider filling the empty column with the Q-J-0 of clubs. The reason is we already have a King of Clubs exposed, so if things go well it might be possible to exchange the Q-J-0 of Clubs with the Q of Hearts in Column ‘b’ without fear of losing the empty column. Unfortunately it is not possible to connect the K-Q-J-0 of Clubs immediately without compromising our position – no wait up, it is possible! We can shift the J-0 of Diamonds onto the Queen of Spades, then shift the Jack of Hearts plus 0-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 of various suits onto the other Queen of Hearts, which means we are not losing an in-suit build after all. Then we dump the Queen of Hearts onto the empty column and move the Q-J-0 of Clubs onto the King.

This is a far-sighted play but does not have the advantage of clearing the last face-down card in any column. It’s close, but I vote for the simple option of dumping the Two of Clubs. We are nowhere near completing a full suit of Clubs and our immediate concern is turnovers and empty columns. The K-Q-J-0 of Clubs can wait.

Finally we should also consider shifting the Two of Hearts into the empty column and then building 3s-2c. It’s always good practice to consider every legal option and search for any edge, no matter how small. In this case, I’m not seeing it. Two of Clubs it is.

Our final action is <hi,cf,ib,a6=b1,eh>. That’s quite a lot of work for one card. And we get a … drumroll dlrdlrdlrldrdlrdlrdlr … THREE OF HEARTS, 70,85,67,75 YEAH!!!!

This is clearly one of the best cards we could hope for. Of course the game is far from winning but two empty columns puts us in a strong position. How would you continue?

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