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Chris-Cross Pairs Solitaire

Contributed by Victor Wakefield

Object: To cast out all pairs of cards of equal rank to a waste pile leaving no tableau or stock.

Tableau: 25 cards. From a standard 52-card pack, deal five columns of five rows face up, starting down column one, then two, etc. (The tableau also contains two 5 card diagonals which cross at the centre card of the tableau).

Stock: The remaining 27 cards are placed in one pile face down.

Waste: Two piles, active and history. These will accumulate paired cards of the same rank during play.

A Marker can be used as a memory aid to keep track of the round phases as described below.


The play consists of a series of rounds, as amany as necessary. Each round may have two phases.

Round 1 - phase 1. Set the marker to indicate phase 1. If any column(s) contain(s) a pair of cards the same rank, cast out the paired cards to an active waste pile, face down. If there are 3 cards of the same rank in a column, it is your choice which pair to cast out. If there are 4 cards of the same rank in a column, you can remove both pairs. You may also remove a pair from a 5-card diagonal if available. If the centre card of the two diagonals will pair with a card from both, cast out ONE pair of your choice. After casting out, you may move the cards immediately above or below the cast out cards one space up or down into the space created by casting out, or you may choose to move some or none of these cards. After your choice of vertical moves, close up all gaps in all the rows by shifting cards to the left - to column 1 if empty; continue to cast. See note 1 below.

Round 1 - phase 2 Provided at least one pair has been removed in phase 1, and when no further removals are possible, transpose the leftmost card of each row that has fewer than 5 cards to the end of that row, and shift the cards in that row to the left leaving no spaces. The new first card of the row is now in column 1. (Transposing cards only for the rows that have fewer than 5 cards helps to generate more pairs.) At this time turn your marker to show that you are now in phase 2 (otherwise it is easy to forget). Remove pairs and move cards using the same rules as for phase 1. When no further removals are possible either from columns or from a diagonal of 5 cards, this ends the round.

To mark the end of a round, turn the active waste pile face up and add it to the history waste pile.

Rounds 2, 3 and so on begin with your filling in all the empty spaces in the tableau from the stock, starting with the leftmost column that has a space and restoring (as far as the stock lasts) the original 25 card tableau. Always fill in down column one, and then down the next column etc. Turn back your marker to show phase 1.

In each round, for the first phase repeat the casting out of pairs in columns, or from a diagonal if it contains 5 cards, moving up/down, and shifting left as in round 1. When no more moves are possible, transpose, turn your marker to phase 2 and continue casting out, moving up/down and shifting left as in phase 2 of round 1.

If there are not enough cards in the stock to deal a complete tableau, the play continues as before with the incomplete tableau. Continue to remove pairs, and shift cards up/down/left. Transpositions are made for rows of fewer than five cards for the second phase, and further removals may then be possible. When no cards can be removed from columns or 5-card diagonals at the end of any round after the stock is used up, the game is lost.

When no pairs can be cast out in a round, the game is lost even if stock remains.

Note 1: When multiple pairs can be cast out, your choice is to cast out a single pair then move, or to cast out several or all pairs and then move as above, whichever furthers your strategy. The purpose of the up/down move is to separate pairs in a row which otherwise cannot be cast out.

Strategy: Moving cards up/down can also reduce a row of 5 to make it eligible for transposition. When possible, remove cards from column 1 - this is the last column to be cast out if the game is to be won.

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Last updated: 25th March 2010