Continuing the game from last week, we have reached this position when even my dad knows how to remove the Diamond suit on the next move.
How would you continue here?
First of all, I present Grasshopper’s solution. This deserves to be seen in full, and also illustrates how one can manipulate cards in the endgame without the help of an empty column – a fundamental skill for playing well at Spider Solitaire.
Easy stuff first, do the Dia run
Do a Club run in Col 1
Shift Heart J to Col 3
.ic (Is that a super move? Do I need to notate as such?)
Swap out Q’s Col 9&10
.ia, ji. aj
Fill void with Club K Q and cover with J from Col 2
Shift Club 8 in Col 9 to Col 7, move Club 10, 9-5 and 4-2 to Col 1
.ig, ia, ca, ga
Dig out the Club A and do Club run
.ib, ci, ca
If the above is accurate we have done a Club run and have maintained our void in Col 1. If not, you can stop reading now.
Surely we have to do a Spade run next, the location of the last Dia 4 is unknown, the second Heart run has needed turnovers strewn across 5 columns and if we solve this thing my guess is hearts clear last, and lastly the Club 4 is trapped by the Dia K.
So going forward from the point of removing the Club run I should think we should set things up so that, ideally, after the last draw we can make the Spade run and have two voids.
I intentionally did not join the Dia K&Q in Col 9&10 with the idea that we needed a “Clean Queen” in Col 10 to accept the upcoming Club J from Col 1. If we are going for a Spade run next and if it is possible, we will gain a queen in Col 4, and a Club queen at that! So lets start by swapping out the queens in Col 9&10 and keeping one hand on the ZKey in case we fail in the spade run.
.ia, ji, aj
Fill the void in Col 1 with the Spade 8 from Col 3 and distribute the J 10
.ca, ci, cd
Take the last draw.
Join the Club J 10 9 then do the spade run
.da, ha, cd, hd, gd
Create some voids
.ad, ae, fb, fi, cb Three Voids
This turns out to be completely correct. But before going on, a few general considerations are in order:
It’s hard to visualise moves even with Excel Cheatsheet, but I believe it is of immense benefit to the student to practice visualising long sequences of moves. If you’re reading this blog and don’t have the luxury of having the same position in your Spider Solitaire program, one suggestion is to write down a sequence of moves, then check your answer with Excel Cheatsheet 😊
Removing complete suits is often undesirable because they “can be used as lubricant” for other cards, as eloquently expressed by Bart. For instance, going back to the initial position (score = 70) one possibility is dg,hd,ha,fh,hf,hj,gj,gh to clean up column 8 to some extent. However, the tesuji of not removing a suit is much rarer when playing without undo.
Going back to the game:
It is trivial to determine the identity of the last two unknown cards. Of course, we remember to shift the Happy Stars of Bethlehem down a notch to indicate all cards have been dealt.
With four suits removed and three empty columns we are almost surely headed for victory. Of course, there is one particular Spider Solitaire server that taught me never to take anything for granted – but here we have no reason to suspect foul play. Let us finish off with a fun question:
- What is the minimum number of moves required to remove a fifth suit – which could be Clubs Hearts Spades or Diamonds?
To make it slightly more challenging, try to visualise your moves without the help of Excel Cheatsheet 😊