Game over we win! (1 Aug 2021)

Continuing from last week. We reached the following position and I gave the task of removing a fifth suit in as few moves as possible (there was no consideration given to removing all eight suits in as few moves as possible).

Bart and SA found the correct solution of eleven moves. The opening bid was 13 from Bart but after some back-and-forth they eventually Cauchy-sequenced their way towards 11, which I believe to be optimum. The moves are:

.ji, ja, dj, gj, hc, ih, id, if, id, ij, hj

 which the reader can easily verify for himself, herself or itself. By this stage the game is trivially won and there is no further play of interest.

Well done to Bart and SA for their valued input throughout the game. Today’s special reward shall be … NO HOMEWORK for at least one week, yaaay!!!!!!!!

Until next time, happy Spider Solitairing – may all your builds be in-suit and all your long term plans come to fruition!

4 thoughts on “Game over we win! (1 Aug 2021)

  1. That was fun.

    Thank you very much Master Chi-Yuen and Esteemed Scholar Bart for helping me (and hopefully many lurkers) to become more proficient at this insanely difficult game of Four Suit Spider Solitaire Sans ZKey, even if we did wear the paint off the ZKey this time.

    May I digress a bit? Quite a bit?

    Is there a solitaire card game more intricate than 4 SSS Sans ZKey? So many choices open to you so quickly. I spent some time looking at other difficult card games such as Canfield, Forty Thieves and Scorpion and indeed they are fun and difficult to win but I don’t see them presenting you with as many paths that contain as many branches like this one. I agree with Master Chi-Yuen that this is indeed The Cadillac of Solitaire Games.

    Here we have three folks, a BlogMaster and two Disciples, all of whom wish to play Sans ZKey. This time we went to the Cheetin’ Side of Town.

    Previous to commenting here, my 4SSS Sans ZKey mode included not using pen and paper so we can label me a Sans ZKey Sans ScribbleDown type.

    Here we must write down our proposed moves in order to publish but if we are happily typing our latest amazing brilliance and suddenly realize that this is the second time we are covering the Club K in Col 7 and NoCanDo ……. well, we go back to the typing board. But when playing the game Sans ZKey we must accept the blunder and proceed from that point.

    So is writing down our moves to convey our ideas a cheat?

    Esteemed Scholar Bart started this line of thought when he asked if listing voids after each sequence of moves is considered a cheat. I found this method useful with my notation of “V=2-1-6” (We have two voids, columns 1 & 6)

    Are there little cheats and big cheats? Certainly my using an AncientExcel CheeterSheeter gave me an extraordinary advantage over my classmate Esteemed Scholar Bart. Even after a very dismal performance in the mid-game it allowed me to find a winning path in the endgame. Without this added aid (cheat) I could not have done this.

    I don’t consider writing down voids to be a greater cheat than writing down moves. Going to an outside graphic leaves me feeling guilty of something.

    I can’t believe you are still reading this dribble. So allow me to double down with personal crapola.

    I continue to play Microsoft Solitaire Collection 4SSS Sans ZKey. I play each level 25 times then proceed to the next level. I have done 275 games or 2 ¾ rounds. Progress:

    TOTAL RD. 1 RD. 2 RD. 3
    EXPERT 51/24 16/9 16/9 19/6
    MASTER 22/53 7/18 7/18 8/17
    GRANDMASTER 6/69 2/23 2/23 2/23
    RANDOM 16/34 6/19 10/15 ***

    I will finish up this round with 25 more hands at the RANDOM level and hopefully at least equal my 10/15 = 40%

    After that I see no use of continuing in this fashion. As I have said before 4SSS Sans ZKey is as good as solitaire gets but we still dance to the puppeteer’s whim.

    EXPERT is the easiest. A great place to begin your journey into madness.

    MASTER seems to have the level of difficulty that matches my current abilities but all the hands are about the same intensity; no very easy wins, no 40 moves and out ‘de door disasters.

    GRANDMASTER ………. *^%$#$^%$@%&(*^ ……… stupid stupid stupid impossible. Forget the score of 6/69, I only had seven losses which contained a suit removal !!!!! But there is beauty in most things and I think that if I ever decide to try 4SSS “ZKey In Play” as we did on this Game On, this is where I will try first. Perhaps using my trusty AncientExcel CheeterSheeter.

    So for me RANDOM is the one that shows promise. I will finish the third round of 25 hands there and then continue to play that level in 25 game blocks and report at the end of the next Game On.

    Until next week, Keep your stick on the ice. (Shout out to Red Green, Canadian TV show)


    1. Hi SA, nice work! 40% sans Z-key is nothing to sneeze at. You have learned well 🙂 And I need to brush up on my Canadian TV cultural references!

      EDIT: don’t ask me how WordPress managed to F up the final image showing classroom students protesting against homework. This has been fixed.


  2. Well, my table didn’t post well, lets try some dots

    …………………….. TOTAL ….. RD. 1 …. RD. 2 …. RD. 3
    EXPERT …………….. 51/24 ….. 16/9 ….. 16/9 …… 19/6
    MASTER …………….22/53 ….. 7/18 ….. 7/18 …… 8/17
    GRANDMASTER ….. 6/69 ……. 2/23 ….. 2/23 …… 2/23
    RANDOM ………….. 16/34 .….. 6/19 …. 10/15 ……***

    Hope that works


  3. I just saw these other replies now. Guess I forgot to sign up for notifications when the base post came out. In the past, I’ve always had something to say pretty quickly…

    Yay, we’re done! There were a couple times I bowed out as the complexity was beyond me, but many parts were also within my grasp.

    When I saw the master’s solution, I realized it was slightly different from mine, which is of course natural in Spider. But in this case it is pretty constrained, so I wondered how many distinct ways there are to solve it. Quite a number, even if you don’t consider the voids as distinct. That 8 of clubs can go on the 9 between literally any two other moves, or before the first and after the last… So then I wondered if you could make fewer optimum solutions if you also as a tie-breaker counted up how many cards total moved, so for instance, moving that 8 onto the 9 before moving the Q-9 onto the king would count the 8-5 against you twice. Then I reminded myself that the problem is over and done, and to heck with that sort of off-topic detail.

    Next, a soapbox. I found myself playing less Spider a few weeks ago when I saw that you could choose 4 levels. Partly you might consider “The Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz (I actually worked for him in college experimenting on (perhaps you might say tormenting) pigeons). Which Spider game will I decide to play today? If you have too many choices, then which one is “real”? And I was kind of disgusted when that highest level is evidently tweaked so you can always win, but is more difficult than a random deck (on average). Blech! And if I lost the easiest level (remember, I’m not playing with Undo) I’d feel especially inept.

    So then l also realized that there is really only one pure Spider — the one I played with real cards back in the 1970s. Two decks of cards, so of course there are four suits! That’s what is in two decks of cards! There is no fiddling with the decks… you just shuffle the cards and deal them. There is no “Undo”. I don’t recall making any rule against writing things down, because it never occurred to me. It was just a card game. So that is what true Spider solitaire is! If ported to a computer, the port should match all those features exactly.

    I hope this is what “random” is among your choices in the online version. That’s (I hope) the Windows XP version on which I had about 25% wins in years past, typically following the rule that if I couldn’t uncover 10 cards before the first deal, I’d give up. If I’d gone on I presumably could have won some of those games, but I was looking more for fun than a win rate.

    SA, I question your idea that playing without undo is more challenging than playing with undo. It is more difficult to win, but there is less to think about. You just have to make your best guess about the situation with the identities of many cards unknown.


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