Game On (31 January 2021)

This is the position from last time:

Bart said he wants to make sure column 2,3,4,8 are atomic (i.e. a single in-suit run of 1 or more cards) to maximise the chances of getting an empty column. Thus one option is 6-5-4-3 of Clubs into column 8 and then A-2 of Spades onto either column 3 or 4. Bart even went so far as to suggest an alternative of putting the 2-A of Spades in column 5 into column 8 instead of one of the in-suit threes! This is to maximise the chances of getting back the empty column with many exposed Threes available.

George suggested we look at column 7. He suggested we can “break” the J-T-9 of Clubs by shifting the Ten of Clubs onto column 6. Then he wants to move the 9-8 of Hearts in Column 9 hoping to work on column 9 in the future. The lowly Schistocerca Americana quickly adds a caveat that we may be hoping for a miracle (as per the well-known ageless cartoon with step two needing to be more explicit).

George’s plan sounds very strange to me. Firstly I think he is trying to achieve too many goals with limited resources – if you’re gonna split the J-T-9 of Clubs, why not go all the way and split K-Q of Spades and shift the Queen of Spades onto column 10 (incidentally we can rebuild the J-T-9 of Clubs)? Then at least we can dump the King of Spades into the empty column and get one turnover. The second issue I have is even if we get a card in column 9, we would have exposed a King and Ace in the process. Ideally I would much rather work on Column 1 (at least we win back an empty column as soon as we reach the Four of Hearts). Unfortunately, this turns out to be impossible.

Bart’s plan looks more sane, but I think he is fighting the wrong battle. We should be aiming to complete entire suits – this sounds more positive than just “trying to maintain the status quo” by keeping at least one empty column. Eventually we will run out of cards from the stock and if we’re unable to clear an entire suit or turnover any cards then having an empty column is about as useless as the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus – admittedly that’s not the best expression to use but we gotta keep this blog clean 😊

A closer look at the game state reveals we now have every card in the Club suit exposed. Ditto for Spades. Therefore we should work on at least one of them. Clubs seems the better suit, so we must work on column 5 (even though it will expose an Ace). I would shift the 2-A of Spades onto one of the in-suit Threes, then dump the 8-7 of Diamonds in column 7 into column 8 and build in-suit with the 9-8 of Clubs. I would also break an in-suit build in Column 2 by shifting the 7-6-5-4-3 onto column 9 since Bart correctly points out the importance of keeping some columns “atomic”. My actual play would therefore be ec,bi,gh,eg which costs six moves since “bi” was a supermove. Assuming we get a good deal on the next round, there is a decent chance of tidying up (e.g. connecting the J-T of Hearts in the middle two columns), even if we don’t clear the Club suit.

As a general principle, when thinking about long term goals (e.g. clearing a suit), don’t be afraid to sacrifice a little e.g. by breaking an in-suit sequence or refusing to turnover a card even though it’s legal.

We deal another round, let’s hope it’s good.

New deal: 3d,Jh,6h,Qc,2d,8h,7h,5d,7h,4d

How would you continue?