Game on (18 April 2021)

The obvious option is to clear all the cards in column 6 and then turn over a card in Column 2. We can improve this plan slightly by turning over column 2 first since the empty column isn’t running away regardless of the new card. Clearly the minimum guaranteed turnovers is 2.

A closer look reveals that we can obtain two turnovers in a completely different manner. We get the empty column, then dump the Eight of Spades in column 8 into column 6. This gives us two turnovers in columns 7 and 8.

Well done to Bart for finding both options.

One problem with the second plan is we will have an off-suit 8-7 in Column 6 so it will be much harder to recover the empty column. Also, the Three of Clubs is not as useful as it looks. There are plenty of Threes left in the deck and two of the Deuces are in a junk pile in Column 3 anyway. Yes, the obvious plan reveals an Ace, but we have plenty of Twos floating around. Still one can argue that in a poor position it makes sense to play for “best-case scenarios” and any Nine puts us right back in the game.

It’s hard to judge. Rot13(shpx vg). I’ll just roll the dice, or more precisely, use the Random Number Generator on my phone. RNG votes for the funky play. Funky play it is.

It’s time for the second knowledge bomb from this blog:

If you use the random number generator and lose you can at least blame the results on something other than what’s in the mirror

Knowledge Bomb from Edifying Thoughts of a Spider Solitaire Addict

We get the Ten of Spades. No turnover but at least we can use Column 4 and avoid having an off-suit 8-7 in Column 6. We get the Six of Spades, Three of Diamonds and Three of Hearts. That’s too many Threes so we don’t get our empty column back! But at least we have no more face-down cards in column 8 and from the previous knowledge bomb we know there is a fair chance of column 8 becoming a new free space in the future. At least we can get an extra turnover in column 7, but that gives us an offsuit 8-7 in column 6 – so now any Nine would be “right card wrong timing”. Them’s the breaks, if you pardon the terrible cliché.

Still, our position could have been a lot worse. How would you continue?

Game on (3 April, 2021) – Alternative Version

Joe Bloggs mulled over the possibilities. After a poor start, things were starting to look up. He had obtained an empty column for the first time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite possible to expose a card in column One. He had to turnover a card in column Two, Seven or Eight, and in each and every case he would use up the empty column.

Joe Bloggs had a few hobbies: Spider Solitaire, Sudoku and binge-watching his favourite YouTube channel. He could wield a mean thermometer, kropki, anti-knight, little killer and he could even recite a little-known theorem concerning sets of squares containing identical digits – but he never had an aptitude for Spider. Despite his years of experience at the latter he had somehow failed to improve his game.

Joe Bloggs glanced at the sky. He saw some small strange object, or did he? Perhaps it was just an apparition and his eyes we replaying tricks on him.

Column 2 was an option. The in-suit build was tempting but Joe recoiled at the thought of revealing another Ace. This was not Texas Holdem. Aces and Kings were not your friends. Kings could only shift to an empty space and nothing could move onto an Ace. Column 8 was also not great. Certainly no need to expose a third Eight at this stage.

Suddenly, Joe realised his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him at all. The object was getting larger … and closer. He quickly whipped out a pair of binoculars and was able to make out the shape of nine giant red letters. He had barely enough time to work out the anagram of DEEGKLNOW before being forced to close his eyes, drop his binoculars and cover his ears.

Most bombs give off an unpleasant smell but this one had a strange but pleasant peachy-smelling perfume, inducing a drunken stupor. Without knowing why, Joe ambled slowly towards the debris and quickly caught sight of a silver shiny scroll. He bent down and picked it up. He slowly unravelled the scroll and found the following inscription:

Was that God’s way of admonishing him for being such a poor student of the game? Or was God deliberately insulting his intelligence? Maybe a lame attempt at a prank? Not likely – he couldn’t imagine God missing the 1st of April by two days.  Whatever it was, God surely could have used a bit more tact. After coming back to his senses, Joe realised the layout of cards had somehow remained undisturbed – although the playing hall had been totalled. Luckily he was playing with physical cards instead of a computer.

Joe studied the cards again, and decided the correct play was to yank the J-T from Column one onto a Queen. Even though he could not shift that stupid off-suit 7-6-5, he knew that the chances of doing so later were considerable. Column 6 would never contain face-down cards no matter how well or badly he played, and even he knew from experience that having no face-down cards to worry about would make it so much easier to win back the empty column. Finally, Joe thought to himself, he was beginning to understand the deeper secrets of the game.

Unfortunately Joe Bloggs exposes a Two of Diamonds and is forced to deal another row. “Rot13(bu sbe shpx’f fnxr)” shouts Joe as he angrily slams a fresh row of 10 cards onto the tableau.

THE END