Game On (20 June 2021)

Last week we asked the following:

Is it possible to determine the identity of the next unknown card for all columns containing at least one face-down card?

The answer is no. I can get columns 4,5,6,9,10 but not 1,3, or 8.

The problem with column 8 is we need to build off-suit with 3-2 to get the empty column, but then there is no Four or Three to shift that off-suit 3-2. One empty column is not enough. I will not discuss columns 1 and 3. That has already been covered last week with Bart and Schistocerca Americana’s (SA) excellent comments. Well done again to Bart and SA. I guess the next step is to take the easy turnovers and take it from there.

BTW Thanks also to Sebastian for liking one of my recent posts. I hope to hear more from him.

We reach the following position (both the current game state according to Microsoft Spider Solitaire and our cheat sheet) with the five newly turned over cards highlighted:

Let’s just say these are not the most helpful cards. At least this can partly explain why I lost this game rather convincingly without undo. It seems to be hard enough to win, even with the undo Awesome Superpower.

I guess we can take some freebies in column 4 at the expense of dumping a King into an empty column. This leads to the following:

And now we reach a dead-end. There are no more easy turnovers and we have to make some choices. If we think about long-term planning (rather than short-term gains) then there are three basic choices to consider:

  • Go back to the very beginning and look for more turnovers without dealing anything from the stock
  • Go back to the first position of this post(score = 141) and try to arrange matters so that the next deal of J-6-2-5-4-A-3-8-8-K is as helpful as possible
  • Look for ways to remove at least one suit to the foundations, given the information we already know

Stepping back for a minute, we can observe a problem with Fours and Nines. Despite turning over more than half the cards in the tableau we didn’t find a single Nine. We know six of these are in the stock. We only managed to find two Fours at the expense of dumping a King into an empty column.

Over to you. How would you continue here?

A small reminder: Microsoft Spider Solitaire will not allow a player to deal a row of cards if there is at least one empty column.

7 thoughts on “Game On (20 June 2021)

  1. Of the three alternatives you give, the first one is going back to square one. But I don’t recall there were any dramatic forks in the road that could have yielded different cards if we had made different choices. In any case, try less drastic steps first.

    The third one seems possible, but my hunch is not all that helpful. Look at the 9s. The first 9 we know of is red, in the 2nd deal. For the other suits, the first 9 we know of is in the 4th or 5th deal. If you have to make 4 deals before you can make your suit, leaving lots of cards unturned, it seems the odds are really bad that’s going to help you. But back to red, we get a 9 in the second deal but have to wait to the third deal to get a 7. Without a lot of detailed analysis, it looks like we could possibly do it, but the red 4 is under a king, which would have to go in a space. And even if we succeed and remove the red suit, what’s under the red king? A 2. Just the sort of card we are NOT looking for to make progress — consider, the first 3 deals expose five (5) 2s. Serious glut.

    The second one has most promise. Most of the columns are not promising, but we can at least uncover two more cards in column 1. Move the 10 onto the jack, exposing a 7. Put that 7 in the space. When the next deal comes up, re-expose those columns, and two 8s came up to absorb those 7s. We’ve exposed one new card and if we put it in the space we can uncover another one.

    A future-oriented detail: Clear column 2 as much as possible, and then put the 7 of clubs in the space and 7 of diamonds onto the 8. This leaves column 2 “atomic” for later use, first possibly relevant when the 9 comes up in the second deal. That is what I would do if I couldn’t look ahead, at least.

    Precise steps:


    In terms of grand strategy, it seems better to do this relatively simple procedure to uncover the two new cards, keeping most of our state intact, and only then go way back to the beginning if it’s not promising. The added information can only be helpful in any case.

    Is there an even better way to proceed? Quite possibly. But that’s the one I see.


  2. Master T I think we can play peek-a-boo with the remaining face down card in Col 6 by going back to the beginning and doing:

    gj, gh, cd, ch, gc, ig, gi, ai, fa, fg, fa

    From there I would again return to the beginning and somehow find my way to position 141 on your post.

    But of course it would not be 141 anymore it will be much lower. I think we are getting close to seeing if this version of SS will go into negative numbers.

    We need to fill the void before we can take our first draw. But before that I would do a little housekeeping by swapping out the club and heart 10. Then we can create an Aceless Royal Flush in Col 5.

    cg, ic, gi, ce

    We really can’t say with certainty which way to jump without knowing what was the newly discovered card in Col 6. So let’s just pretend that it was not favorable.

    I think this now becomes a point beyond which I cannot bring together all the possible moves without using my AncientExcel CheeterSheeter to move things around and then put them back. And I prefer not to do that.

    Some thoughts:

    The lack of 9’s will be a bad bad problem. We are not gifted a 9 until the second draw and by then will have 6 8’s, spread across 5 columns, the double up occurring in Col 9. We need to use that puppy very wisely. Perhaps try to set up to use it to gain a Void in Col 2 ??? Even if it is a great idea can it be done ????

    Also we can only see two 4’s. Excuse me as I ignore this for a moment to avoid data overload.

    The next draw will give us back the Void in Col 7 if we cleverly fill the current void with something that will play after moving the Heart 3 onto the Dia. 4. We could put the Spade 5 from Col 2 into the Void. That gives us back the Void. Also the Heart Q in Col 3 gives a Void but I sort have this Queen earmarked to receive the Dia. J,10 from Col 1 and if we do that in Col 10 soon Col 10 will read KQQJ10KQQ. Maybe that is good, maybe it is “End of Game”, I can’t see from here. Placing the Dia. Acey Ducey from 8 actually works but somehow I am having trouble moving the Dia. 7 in Col 8 on the third draw so I can place the Club 3 in Col 8 onto the Club 4 in Col 9, (also given on the third draw). And we would be committing to use our precious Heart 9 from second draw Col 6. I think I need some meds.

    Columns 9 and 10 are going to become a graveyard if we don’t do something, but what ???

    As mentioned above I want to move the Dia J,10 from Col 1 after the first draw, followed by moving both 7’s onto the two 8’s in Cols 8 & 9, gaining a card.

    And that sort of sums up my first quick pass on “What To Do Next”. I’m sure there are lots more paths to consider.

    So if I have to put down in print what I think is best to do next, I think we should gather up all our fishing and camping gear, fill a cooler to the brim with foods that are sure to kill us, fill two or three other coolers with beer and ice, procure three or four fifths of Buchanan18 and head down to the river and raise Holy Hell with the catfish population for two days and nights, we can tell each other lots of lies and believe every one of them. And no, I can’t diagram that sentence.

    I will make another post later this week when I get back and let you know how my subconscious has sorted all this out.

    And as always I will not read the other comments until after my next post.

    Any glaring mistakes are surely typos.


    1. I am going to try putting in your sentence as a reply, as diagrammed by the parser at my last job. I’ll put it in a separate post, so if it doesn’t work you will know what tried to do. And surely it won’t break modern software, will it?… but if GM sees something bizarre I hope he can forgive me.


  3. Well, the catfish were more or less a no show. I probably would have done better if they had been drinking the Boilermakers instead of me.

    Master T upon my return I reread your current post and see that I spoke of a few things that you had already covered. My bad.

    My buddy the ever present subconscious told me to do only what you can do, you need not win the game at this stage. Turnovers will be the key to winning or losing. He told me to take the simple approach and don’t mess with things unless you are sure it is an improvement.

    So, I will fill the void with the Spade 5, bg then take the first draw.

    Then take the void ed, gd, gb

    Clear below the Q in Col 3 and then take a card in Col 1

    cd, ac, ac, ai, ah

    There is some other stuff that could be done, but I but I feel that seeing that T.O. in Col 1 is the most important.

    I am really interested in reading the other comments and seeing if I am on the same planet.


  4. GM, would you be willing to delete these various posts I made about the parser? I probably shouldn’t be putting that stuff in a publicly visible place. Might be considered proprietary.


    1. I have deleted the posts about the parser. Apologies for not getting to this sooner, but I’ve been busy with other stuff. I just had an idea for solving cheating in online chess very recently, but alas this is not the right place to discuss it.


  5. I enjoy penning slightly confusing prose but not making a mess of my solutions. In this I failed miserable.

    Allow me:

    From position 136 return to position 141 using ZKey.

    Uncover card in Col 6

    gj, gh, cd, ch, gc, ig, gi, ai, fa, fg, fa

    ZKey back to Position 141

    Create Aceless Royal Flush in Col 5

    cg, ic, gi, ce

    Fill the void in Col 7


    Take first 10 card draw

    Then retake the void in Col 6

    ed, gd, gb

    Clear below the Q in Col 3 and then take a card in Col 1

    cd, ac, ac, ai, ah

    I don’t know if that is perfect or even doable but it is much better.

    My apologies.


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