A Far-Sighted Play (Alternative Version)

Jane Citizen had just finished packing her bags and was about to embark on the trip of a life time – if you pardon the terrible cliché. There was only one challenge left, and Antarctica was to be the toughest of all. Nail Antarctica and she would finally become a household name, revered for generations to come. Fail at the final hurdle and everything else would be for nought.

“See you honey,” said Jane.

“Best of luck,” mumbled John Citizen, his eyes fixed firmly on the computer screen.

Jane glared at her ne’er-do-well partner. All he did was spend countless hours on that damned computer. Even washing the dishes once in a blue moon was beneath John’s dignity. But she grudgingly admitted John had a very high IQ and could play a mean game of Spider Solitaire at the four-suit level without undoing any moves.

“It’s not all about luck,” retorted Jane. “Preparing for the Seven Seven takes many months and years of preparation and dedication, instead of sitting at the compu-”

“Why is it called the Seven Seven?” asked John, hoping for a change of subject. “I know it’s the highest peaks and volcanic mountains on each of the seven continents. But something like Seven Tallest seems a more logical name.”

“That’s beside the point,” replied Jane. “Men are always useless. All they do is eat, drink, sleep and play Spider Sol-”

“Oh, give it a rest,” snapped John as he reflexively clicked the ‘minimise window’ icon of his beloved game. “We both know there are worse vices than playing Spider Solitaire at home. Besides, this feat was completed by only seven others, all men.”

“Your general knowledge is commendable, but history has proved again and again that in the last few decades women have made great strides towards gender equa-blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah …”

Joe Bloggs had tuned out as usual. At long last, his partner has left and Joe could finally concentrate on the cards in front of him.

The latest episode of I’m a Married Man, Get Me Out Of Here! was off to a lousy start for several reasons: John had accrued zero turnovers in round 1 and far too many Kings for his liking. But at least he had obtained an empty column after taking several good cards in column 5. The obvious option was “ef,be” to take out the last unseen card in column 2. But John’s gut instinct sensed this was wrong. It would be difficult to turnover more cards with the help of a solitary empty column.

John noticed that there is only one Queen visible. However, even the Ninja Monkey would know what to do if the next turnover was a Queen of any suit. The real problem was Sevens. There are several Eights visible but buried beneath Kings – but only one Seven of Hearts visible in column 3 (yes, mind the gap in column 8!). In other words, there were seven Sevens unseen, either face-down in the tableau or in the stock. If the last card in column 2 was a Seven, John would be considerably embarrassed with no Eight available just when he needed it most. And if several Sevens suddenly appeared in the next round, John would be in more trouble than the poor dude who fell into a crevasse in May 2021.

John knew from experience that winning is not all about luck. Preparing for the seven Sevens would require many moves and plans of preparation and dedication – cards don’t magically become useful or useless just because the random number generator spat out the power of a prime number.

Aha! John realised he could turnover a card in column 10. True, this places a King in an empty column but there were legit hopes of getting the last face-down card in column 2 or 4. But “ef,je,jf,ja” or “eg,je,jg,ja” would free up two Eights which might augur well for the future.  If the next card in column 10 was any Queen or Seven then John would suddenly be back in the game. Several other cards would allow a single turnover – and another shot at a Queen or Seven. So it was decided then: John would dump the King of Diamonds into the empty column and pray for luck …

One thought on “A Far-Sighted Play (Alternative Version)

  1. Thanks for sharing your thinking on it! I guess I got the right idea one round later, and for pretty much the same reasons. So I figure that having made the mistake I did, putting the king in the space the next round was even more clearly the right play at that point. Of course if the turnover we got after my first play didn’t allow retrieving one space, we wouldn’t have been able to do it any more.

    The move when you wanted to do it still doesn’t feel obvious to me. The ONLY confirmed space has a king in it? But I’ll try to integrate it into my thinking.


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