Solution to Fourteen Out

Few deals of solitaire have unique solutions, so the moves described should be seen as only one suggested way to win. There are quite a few places where cards cover cards of the same or complementary ranks, and these have to be dealt with carefully. Since two of the sevens are at the bottom of one column and cannot be discarded together, it is necessary to uncover these before the other two sevens can be discarded. Similar problems can be found with the twos and queens, aces and kings, and fives and nines. Since all of the tens are deep in their respective columns and three of the fours are at the top of theirs (top in this sense meaning the card exposed initially), these ranks will also present a problem. Discard the exposed queen of clubs along with the two of spades, which frees the two queens below to take off the two of hearts and two of clubs in turn. Now a ten is available to take off with the four of diamonds, and discarding the jack of clubs and three of diamonds frees up more of the troublesome fives and nines. Discard the king of clubs and ace of spades, then the king of spades and ace of hearts, to free the last nine. Now all of the fives and nines can be taken off in turn: nine of hearts and five of spades, nine of spades and five of hearts, nine and five of clubs, and finally nine and five of diamonds. Now we want to work down towards the sevens. Discard the eight of clubs and six of diamonds (three of the same or complementary cards in the same column need to be handled carefully), the ten of spades and four of clubs, and the jack and three of hearts. The king of hearts and ace of diamonds cannot be left when all of the other kings and aces are gone, so take off the king of hearts with the ace of clubs, then the king and ace of diamonds. Now the four sevens can be removed (the seven of spades first, with either the club or heart). Remove the ten and four of hearts, the eight of diamonds and the six of spades, and the queen of hearts and two of diamonds. The rest follow easily: eight of hearts and six of clubs, eight of spades and six of hearts, jack and three of spades, jack of diamonds and three of clubs, and finally the remaining ten and four.

This article is copyright 2003 by Michael Keller.  All rights reserved.

Portions of this article previously appeared on the Games Cafe ( in February of 2000; that site is no longer in operation.