Blindfolded Solitaire​​​​​​​

A draft of a mnemonic for the routine.

     A couple months back J.R. and I were at our favorite little coffee shop brainstorming ideas and just messing around. As we were talking, an image appeared in my head that I couldn’t shake, and it was of someone sitting at a little corner table, cup of tea steeping next to them, playing solitaire blindfolded. Instantly I knew I wanted to figure out how this could be done. Although a fake blindfold was the obvious answer, since this isn’t, and basically never could be, an effect for a show but instead one for fun (or for any distracted artists out there), I decided it should have an equally fun method. So, having recently learned Mnemonica and being a general puzzle-head, I figured there was must be a way to do it using that, and voila!

     I’m going to be honest, this effect is a lot of work and requires a lot of memorization. And since you are blindfolded you never get to see the reactions, and the viewers are always strangers since it really only stands up as an impromptu visual puzzle for random passers-by, and it is probably not worth it. But, after performing it myself a few times, I enjoyed it enough to want to share it with all you out there who enjoy flexing your mental muscles and adding a little dash of the surreal to strangers’ lives.

    What follows is an annotated game of solitaire dealt from mnemonica, starting with the 27th card (so the Two of Clubs is the first card dealt, then the Three of Hearts face down next to it as the bottom of pile two, and so on). The first column tells what number move it is, the second says what pile the card is moved from (with 0 being the dealing pile), and d# meaning to deal # sets of three cards (so d3 would mean dealing three sets of three, or nine total). The third column indicates what pile the card is moved to, with the first letter of the suits indicating the card is removed to its ace pile. The fourth column indicates the number of cards to be moved (and if blank is assumed to be one). The fifth column indicates whether or not you must turn the new top card of the pile from column two over or not; if it is blank then after moving the appropriate cards you must turn the new top card over, unless the card is coming from the dealing pile (pile zero). If it has an x then don’t turn the new top card over. Also, after move 78, only four piles remain, and they are re-numbered one through four from left to right for ease of memorization. This all sounds very confusing but, after you play through once (hopefully with your eyes open) it will make sense, and you can tweak the notation to suit your brain.

    As for memorization, I converted each row of data (not including the move number, so anywhere from two to four numbers and possibly an X) into Major memory system words (slightly adapted to allow for the format and the greater number of bit) and then made a story from the words. Then by telling the story in my head I could backtrack to the numbers and play the game. This worked reasonably well for me, but different people’s brains work in different ways, so I’d love to hear what you come up with, or if you have any questions. But more than that, one day I’d like to walk into a coffee shop, look into the corner, and see one of you blindfolded, playing away.