Monday, September 20, 2004

Spider Solitaire Update

I'm getting better at Spider Solitaire, and I don't know why.  This intrigues me. 

It's happening in the same way I would learn a move in figure skating from practice, without any real knowledge of the miniscule adaptations I was making that enabled me to complete the step:  can't do the move, can't do the move, can't do the move, can do the move -- and I don't think I'm doing anything different.

That was a new feeling for me, because I'd never really taught my body to do anything.  And here was my body learning stuff behind my mind's back.

But with Spider, I appear to be teaching my mind how to do something -- but I am still equally clueless about what I've learned. 

When I first started playing Spider, I played the easy (one suit) level a few times.  I won, of course.  Easy level Spider teaches you the rules of the game and little else.  (You might get some vague idea about Kings being a nuisance, but that's it.)  The real challenge for me has been Medium difficulty (two suits).  For the longest time, I had a winning percentage hovering somewhere around 20%.  One in five.  It was more like luck than skill.

Recently, I tried my hand at a Difficult (four suits) game.  I'd tried before with no success.  And this time, I again did not manage to get even one line from King to Ace.  But there was something I picked up while doing it -- some sort of trick about manipulating cards that I'd missed when playing two suits.  I returned to the Medium level and instantly got better.  I kicked my winning percentage up to 26% pretty quick -- I think I'm probably winning 1 in 3 now (it's just taking a while for the statistics to catch up with me).  There's something I understand now that I didn't understand before. 

But I'll be damned if I know what it is.


1 comment:

bahamacats said...

Originally I played the easy level for a couple months, which taught me the game,but soon it got to easy and i got bored so I went to medium level with 2 suits.
I played that for a few months as I originally thought the 4 suits were way to difficult to win. My hubby who watched my progress at medium encouraged me to try the difficult level. I resisted for a while until I started winning medium in just over 100 moves. I soon took up the challenge of the 4 suits. In the period of one year I have moved from 5% to 20% in win percentage sometimes winning 2 straight. My hubby thinks I may be among the best at the game even though he thinks it too tedious and difficult for him to ever get into.  
He like the Free Cell games better which we played against each other. Admittedly he has solved free cell games that I thought was unsolveable and gave up on.
In spite of this he thinks that Spider is more difficult than free cell and that my brain works better at spider than his ever will. He has even said that spider is bordering on autism tendencies:). my lowest score for Spider has been 198 moves. I now average about 240 in moves. Anyone better out there email me at