FreeCell - A Good Opportunity for Players to Win

The vast majority of people who own and use a computer will have heard of the popular card game FreeCell.
This relatively young game of strategy was only invented approximately thirty years ago, and for those people having a run of bad luck with their FreeCell cards it drives them mad on a regular basis.

The Basic Game

FreeCell is played using one deck of cards which are all visible at the start of the game and set into eight rows. As there are 52 cards in a deck the first four rows each have an additional card.

The objective of the game is to remove all of the cards in the playing area into the Foundation section at the top right corner, but they can only be transferred there in their individual suits.
The Ace is the first card which can be laid and then of course, the remaining cards are able to be added sequentially.

At the top left of the playing area there are four free cells - only one card can be placed in each cell. In the main playing area the King is the top card and from which all other cards with the numbers lowering and the colours alternate as other cards are placed in front of the King or the highest number in the sequence.

Groups of cards can be sent to empty rows but only as many cards can be moved as the number of empty places in the FreeCell area.

The Strategy

FreeCell is considered to be a game of strategy as out of 1,000,000 games which are available within the standard Windows FreeCell games there are only a handful of games which are known as being unable to be completed. Every other game, if played carefully, can achieve a perfect result.

The interesting problem with FreeCell is regarding the "impossible to solve" games - surely with a maximum of 52 cards which are all visible and can all be moved into some level of order, there should be some way to create a positive result. However according to experts of the game, this isn't the case and there remain a very low number of games which can't reach a result.

These unsolvable games have all been exhaustively tested to try to find a resolution, and yes there is one. Unfortunately, it requires 5 free cells as against the four provided in the game.
These impossible games are as such because of the position of the Aces and the large amount of low numbered cards at the bottom of the rows in the playing area.

FreeCell - Unfortunately, Not Perfect in Every Way!

In the first million different games of FreeCell there are a total of eight games which can't be completed.
From 10,000,000 games there are 130 games which are said to be unresolved and across a huge 100 million games there are 1282 games without a resolution.

The fascinating point about this is the length of time, and dedication which would have been required to obtain these test results and then to collate them. By that time surely even the most dedicated FreeCell player may have lost some enthusiasm for the game!