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Encyclopedia > FreeCell
Part way through game of FreeCell on KDE.

FreeCell is a solitaire card game played with a 52-card standard deck. Although implementations vary, most versions label the hands with a number (derived from the random number seed used to generate the hand). FreeCell is fundamentally different from most solitaire games in that most deals can be solved (for example, see the Windows version). Image File history File links Freecell_Kpatience_Konqi. ... Image File history File links Freecell_Kpatience_Konqi. ... For the NYSE stock ticker symbol KDE, see 4Kids Entertainment. ... This article is about the solitaire family of card games. ... For the game on The Price Is Right, see Card Game (pricing game). ...

## Contents

Construction and layout:

• One standard 52-card deck is used.
• There are four open cells and four open foundations. Some alternate rules use between one to ten cells.
• Cards are dealt evenly into eight cascades. Some alternate rules will use between four to ten cascades.

Building during play: There are a number of common features in many solitaire (patience) games, such as building down and the foundations and tableau, used to simplify the description of new games. ... There are a number of common features in many solitaire (patience) games, such as building down and the foundations and tableau, used to simplify the description of new games. ... There are a number of common features in many solitaire (patience) games, such as building down and the foundations and tableau, used to simplify the description of new games. ...

• The top card of each cascade begins a tableau.
• Tableaus must be built down by alternating colors.
• Foundations are built up by suit.

Moves: There are a number of common features in many solitaire (patience) games, such as building down and the foundations and tableau, used to simplify the description of new games. ... There are a number of common features in many solitaire (patience) games, such as building down and the foundations and tableau, used to simplify the description of new games. ...

• Any cell card or top card of any cascade may be moved to build on a tableau, or moved to an empty cell, an empty cascade, or its foundation.
• Complete or partial tableaus may be moved to build on existing tableaus, or moved to empty cascades, by recursively placing and removing cards through intermediate locations. While computer implementations often show this motion, players using physical decks typically move the tableau at once.

Victory:

• The game is won after all cards are moved to their foundation piles.

There are still a few games that cannot physically be beaten.

## History

One of the oldest ancestors of FreeCell is Eight Off. In the June 1968 edition of Scientific American, Martin Gardner described in his "Mathematical Games" column a game by C. L. Baker that is similar to FreeCell, except that cards on the tableau are built by suit rather than by alternate colors. This variant is now called Baker's Game. FreeCell's origins may date back even further to 1945 and a Scandinavian game called Napoleon in St. Helena (not the game Napoleon at St. Helena, also known as Forty Thieves). [1] Eight Off is a form of solitaire, named after its employment of eight reserve slots, played with one deck of playing cards. ... Scientific American is a popular-science magazine, published (first weekly and later monthly) since August 28, 1845, making it the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States. ... Martin Gardner (b. ... Forty Thieves is a solitaire card game. ...

Paul Alfille changed Baker's Game by making cards build according to alternate colors, thus creating FreeCell. He implemented the first computerised version of it in the Tutor programming language for the PLATO educational computer system in 1978. Paul managed to display easily recognisable graphical images of playing cards on the 512×512 monochrome display on the PLATO systems.[1] The TUTOR programming language is a language developed for use on the PLATO system at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign around 1965. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ...

This original FreeCell environment allowed games with 4–10 columns and 1–10 cells in addition to the standard 8×4 game. For each variant, the program stored a ranked list of the players with the longest winning streaks. There was also a tournament system that allowed people to compete to win difficult hand-picked deals. Paul Alfille describes this early FreeCell environment in more detail in an interview from 2000. [2]

## Difficulty

The FreeCell game, by allowing a finite number of possible games, can be trivially solved in polynomial time. Like Minesweeper, a generalized version of the FreeCell game with 4×n cards is provably hard (NP-complete). This result was proven in 2000 and first published in 2001.[2] The result implies that writing a computer algorithm that finds solutions for arbitrary FreeCell configurations of the generalized version quickly would be a major scientific breakthrough. A perfect FreeCell playing program running in polynomial time would earn the discoverer a \$1,000,000 prize for solving one of the Clay Mathematics Institute's Millennium Prize Problems. However, most researchers believe that no such efficient solution procedure exists. In computational complexity theory, polynomial time refers to the computation time of a problem where the time, m(n), is no greater than a polynomial function of the problem size, n. ... The game begins when the user clicks on a blank square. ... In complexity theory, the NP-complete problems are the most difficult problems in NP, in the sense that they are the ones most likely not to be in P. The reason is that if you could find a way to solve an NP-complete problem quickly, then you could use... The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) is a private, non-profit foundation, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) is a private, non-profit foundation, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge. ...

## Solvers

One of the passions of several FreeCell enthusiasts was to construct computer programs that could automatically solve FreeCell. Don Woods wrote a solver for FreeCell and several similar games as early as 1997. This solver was later enhanced by Wilson Callan and Adrian Ettlinger and was incorporated into their FreeCell Pro software. Don Woods is a perennial hacker and computer programmer. ...

Another known solver is Patsolve of Tom Holroyd. Patsolve uses atomic moves, and since version 3.0 incorporated a weighting function based on the results of a genetic algorithm that made it much faster.

Shlomi Fish started his own solver beginning in March 2000. This solver was simply dubbed Freecell Solver. This article is an autobiography, and may not conform to Wikipedias NPOV policy. ...

The most comprehensive list of solvers known contains links to other solvers. New solvers are constantly being written as part of assignments or projects for some university courses.

## References

1. ^ Kaye, Ellen. "One Down, 31,999 to Go: Surrendering to a Solitary Obsession", New York Times, 2002-10-17.
2. ^ Malte Helmert, Complexity results for standard benchmark domains in planning, Artificial Intelligence Journal 143(2):219-262, 2003.

Also see: 2002 (number). ... is the 290th day of the year (291st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Results from FactBites:

 FreeCell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1264 words) In the June 1968 edition of Scientific American Martin Gardner described in his "Mathematical Games" column, a game by C. Baker that is similar to FreeCell, except that cards on the tableau are built by suit rather than by alternate colors. Cards can be safely moved to the foundations without a chance of being further used, if the value of the foundations of the different color are greater than the card face value minus 2, and the value of the other foundation of the same color is greater than the card face value minus 3. A perfect FreeCell playing program running in polynomial time would earn the discoverer a \$1,000,000 prize for solving one of the Clay Mathematics Institute's Millennium Prize problems.
 Solitaire City : How to Play FreeCell Solitaire (1158 words) FreeCell has become enormously popular after being bundled with all versions of Windows since 95, so I thought it was time Solitaire City had its own version. FreeCell is an "open" solitaire meaning that all the cards are dealt face up at the start of the game and this lets you analyze the outcome of moves before you make them. If you had four empty FreeCells and an empty tableau column then you would be able to move a sequence of ten cards rather than five, by moving the first five packed cards to the empty tableau column using the four FreeCells as temporary storage space as in the above example.
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