Six point rating scale (continued)

Last week we had the task of evaluating other players:

I gave an example video of someone beating 4-suit Spider without rot13(haqb).

Here are the results from a six-point scale of One-Bone-Bonne-Bonnet-Bullet-rot13(ohyyfuvg). Or for the linguistically-non-cunning among you, there is also One-Two-Three-Four-Five-Six.

 Schistocerca AmericanaScholar Bart
DifficultyBullet (5)Bullet (5)
SkillBullet (5)Bullet (5)
PresentationBonne (3)Bonne (3)
OverallBonnet (4)Bullet (5)

I agree the players are at beginner level. Certainly enough elementary errors to justify Bullet (5). But I guess it could be worse. For instance, Joe Bloggs might upload a vid claiming he won without rot13(haqb), but in actual fact he uses rot13(haqb) frequently. Maybe JB uploaded the wrong vid by mistake, or it was One Of Those Days His Brain Went Psycho And Farted. In any case, I’ve seen plenty of fonumental muck-ups that would make Andy Griffiths’ Bum proud.

To borrow a phrase from Schistocerca Americana … I digress 😊

This is the reason Bart and Americana avoid giving a rating of rot13(ohyyfuvg) (6) for skill – and I agree.

I also agree the presentation level is average. I am certainly not a professional you-tuber so I’m not gonna be too critical. I have a number of decent videos (unrelated to the Royal Game) but happyharvey0 probably has some skill set that I don’t possess. Bonne (3) it is.

Bart and Americana agreed on everything, except for overall score. Americana points out happyharvey0 is probably a much better player six years later. He may certainly well be, but I’ve seen my fair share of Chess and Scrabble players who simply refuse to improve no matter how long they play. It is quite possible that happyharvey0 was aiming to beat hardest difficulty in record time, and therefore mundane matters such as spending bone – uh, I mean two – more seconds looking for in-suit builds instead of off-suit builds is beneath his dignity!

Schistocerca Americana gave another vid:

His ratings are difficulty = bullet (5) , skill = bonnet (4), presentation = bonne (3), overall = bonnet (4).

The skill level is similar, and this player doesn’t have the excuse of trying to beat the hardest level difficulty in record time. I won’t go through every suboptimal play in excruciating detail but the main points are:

  • When you reach a “trivially winning endgame” you should be playing moves quickly and confidently. If you see an in-suit build, just take it without thinking. As long as you maintain at least one empty column to prevent nasty accidents, you can hardly go wrong.
  • In the opening stages a good player should be able to immediately count minimum guaranteed turnovers and in-suit builds, as though it were second nature (as a chess analogy, if you give an experienced player a certain game state, he she or it can immediately deduce which side has a material advantage, what pieces are under attack, whose King is in greater danger etc). A good Spider Solitaire player should be able to whiz through the opening moves without hesitation and without obvious errors.
  • I assume if Joe Bloggs has to stumble his way through the opening and endgame, there is no way he can play a decent middlegame. Therefore, I did not examine the middlegame with my usual scrutiny.

In hindsight, I probably should have stated this is to be an objective evaluation, and there is no need to apologise if you find the player is Awesome in other respects, such as speaking Indonesian, playing a decent game of Zuma Deluxe, or having more subscribers than the Grand Master himself!

I agree that it’s hard to find good videos of someone playing a decent game of Spider Solitaire Four-Suit. Perhaps it’s up to Bart, Americana and I to start a new club of “Generation Sans-Z” players.

Bad puns aside, may all your builds be in-suit and all your long-term plans come to fruition! On second thoughts, if all your builds were in-suit you could probably win without any long-term planning. Whatevs 😊

This week’s homework

If you didn’t get the Andy Griffiths’ Bum reference, do a google search. If you are already familiar with the reference then lucky you – no homework before the next blog post 😊

5 thoughts on “Six point rating scale (continued)

  1. You are perhaps familiar with the idea of a theater critic who thinks the play is so bad that he walks out in the middle. I was inclined to do that with the first one, and actually did it with the second. Make your 9 unmovable when there are other moves with no such costs? And the first guy had a perfectly good move uncovering a card when he chose to do the first deal.

    I could probably do a decent video. It would probably be an hour and a half long, as I explained what the possible moves were in any situation and explained why I picked the one I did. That’s even if I paused the video while I actually decided what to do. I don’t own a camera.

    Everything moves so fast in those videos… Surely the grasshopper’s original master would not naturally be inclined to do everything the fastest way. Meditation always has a place. Nor would he agree that the goal is necessarily to win. The ultimate purpose of playing Spider 4-suit solitaire is to play Spider 4-suit solitaire.

    Here’s a mini-puzzle. There is a 3 of hearts on top of a 5-pile. There is a 2 of hearts on top of another 5-pile. There is a 2 of spades on top of a pile of various sizes: 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1. At what point does that number get small enough that it is better to move the 2 of spades than the 2 of hearts? Assume it is very early in the game and all the other cards are 5 or above. I realize I didn’t have a GM authorization to pose a question but the lack of homework was giving me the shakes…


  2. Esteemed Scholar Bart, good topic. For me, with 5-do an in suit build; 4-please don’t make me chose; 3-contaminate.

    I think perhaps you have not read my late comments to last weeks postings. I have been thinking about doing a YouTube thing to try to promote 4SSS SansZKey. Like you I am concerned about how long it would take to play a hand while explaining all the options I see. I am like Treebeard, “Don’t be hasty” and that surely would insure a long and very boring video. But I may try anyway. To be successful I think I would need to go into the Consent Silly Chatter Mode and that surely will lead to mistakes that I might not normally make … but perhaps folks will see those mistakes and benefit from them. My idea would be to sort of parallel the pace of Master Chi-Yuen’s blog here and record a hand then break it down into 10 to 15 minute segments and post them once or twice a week.

    If I should start such a voyage may I name you as one of my mentors and reference your work here?

    Time to digress.

    When I say I am like Treebeard I really mean it. Often when I am at “THAT” point in an end game with two voids and everything else messy beyond comprehension and I am looking for the brilliant move to shame all previous brilliant moves ever made and I am thinking, “What I really need to do is to get this here Jack moved over thee to join with that there Queen”. So I mentally shift cards around for a while and give up on that idea and look elsewhere for the next best big time winning move. Then if I can’t find anything that seems promising I sometimes circle back to the same J-Q and again try to move the cards. And occasionally on this second (or even third) go-round I get to do a facepalm and see the hitherto fore overlooked obvious key as to how to achieve greatness. Of course I usually still lose the hand but that is OK if there is lots of fun play.


  3. Ah, you are right you self-propelled ballistic arthropod! I didn’t see any of the other comments on the last week’s post before making this one. I thought I’d subscribed to be notified, but I guess I wasn’t.

    I found a rot13 converter I trust the master has a reason for using rot13, perhaps to avoid upsetting some close relative with delicate sensitivities who snoops? Or perhaps it identifies membership in a secret mathematical gang, with rot13 akin to a secret handshake. But with the converter I can avoid the distraction.

    “Alas I fear the subset of people who think 4SSS SansZKey is fun is too small for anyone to spend the time to create such a [duplicate-bridge-like] program.”
    As programs go it is certainly an easy one. You just need an index in some online table of hands and the ability to load a Spider-4 game with the hand associated with that index. No need to scan for duplicates. A cool feature would be an index generated from any random deal so the person can register it after playing it if it’s interesting. You could also register a hand from any point during play. Then you need a Spider 4 engine (newly written or an easy tweak to an old one) to load registered games and register as-yet-unregistered ones. For the ones where you choose a difficulty level, I wonder if they are generated entirely on-the-fly, or if there is some human intervention in creating a long list? Probably on the fly. I wonder if there are Open Source spider engines! To prevent security breaches… lol. We need the International Standard Spider Format Consortium. To increase the market and interest a bit, there would be no harm in having sections for 1-suit or 2-suit spider, for the preschoolers. 🙂

    I played the Beautiful Game (4SSS sans-Z) yesterday, thinking as I went how I would explain things if I were making a video. And it went fine for a while. But in the mid-game I found myself saying, “Jeez, I have no idea what the best move is here, but my instinct is this one looks as good as anything”. And then, “I’m tired from thinking so hard, so my instincts are getting duller”.

    If it were totally up to me I would probably choose “No Z-key to undo revelation of new information”, used sparingly. It gives a bit of a break for memory fading with age. I have an older brother, born in the first half of the last century (December 25, 1949, to be precise) and sometimes when we play a game (“Merchant of Venus” being one example) and one of us has seen a secret token but forgotten what it was, we invoke the ‘senility exemption’ and the other allows them to look at it again. Born 5 years later, I am sure my brain does not function as if it’s a full 5 years younger. However, I will happily go with the absolute prohibition on Z-key, or the “only if my finger slips” variant.

    Perhaps we also need the “existential Beautiful Game” channel, where all of the games end in defeat, perhaps an agonizing one, or one of those rare, “Can’t even get started” one. At least without Z-key and making reasonable moves. And then, the ultimate challenge — 8-suit spider. Bwa-ha-ha!

    You can certainly refer to me were you so inclined. I don’t have a camera. I could afford a camera but then I would lack a good excuse for hiding my face on Zoom sessions. There’s undoubtedly software that makes a video of your screen but takes audio from your microphone. Whether I make videos or not, I’m actually pretty good at editing videos (using VSDC) so I could slice up a video if you wanted before posting to YouTube. You probably won’t need fade, zoom, pan, musical background, or speed change, but I can do them! In any case, if you post them then we could have flame wars in the comment section, posting references to the video at a particular timestamp.

    Master Chi-Yuen has a youthful outlook, for instance expecting quick and confident moves in the endgame. It’s entirely reasonable. (Ah, to be young again, and to ever have been astonishingly smart…) Me, I pause the video every two seconds or so in the videos that have been posted so far to review things at the speed my brain works…


  4. Master Chi-Yuen, I was shocked by your referring to Andy Griffiths’ Bum and did not WANT to understand. It was sort of unnerving. All I could think was why in the world would Australians be fascinated with the backside of the Sheriff of Mayberry? Do youse guys have some retro film footage of his private life and private parts that we Americans are not aware of? I was quite relieved to find the same name applied to a contemporary series of books and TV shows. Then, upon research I realized just how ancient of a Schistocerca I am and how different is the idea of a family show now to when I was a wee thing learning to live with my brethren. I won’t be here to see what magic the next 50 years have to offer but I wish everyone well on their journey.

    Master Chi-Yuen I agree with Esteemed Scholar Bart that your mental capacity is far far above any norm. I would label your style of play as unfathomable because you see things that no Grasshopper and most Humans will never be able to see. Thank you for spending some of your time with us.


    1. Those Scandinavians seem to have a thing… You might want to sit down or have an Ativan ready before taking a peek at these two. Maybe the master too? … If I had a rot13 for URLs I might use it, or a “spoiler” tag…

      Detachable bum, meet giant penis?

      Norwegian sex ed like they never taught it to us:

      When I did my 23andMe genetic thing, they localized my mitochondrial DNA as coming from south central Norway. Whatever that means.


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