Chinese solitaire

Chinese Solitaire, a captivating and challenging card game, has captured the hearts of players around the world. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the basics of Chinese Solitaire, from its rules to variations to a few winning tips. At the end of the post, we will also answer some frequently asked questions.

About Chinese Solitaire

Chinese Solitaire is a popular game that combines elements of traditional Solitaire and Mahjong. It is played using a deck of 52 cards, and the objective is to remove all of them from the tableau and build four foundation piles by suit. With its engaging gameplay and amazing strategies, Chinese Solitaire offers a unique challenge for Solitaire enthusiasts.

How to Play Chinese Solitaire

To begin, shuffle a standard deck of 52 playing cards, excluding jokers. The tableau is then built by dealing the cards face-up and face-down following the next scheme:

  • The first three rows have three face-up cards and four face-down cards.
  • The fourth row has four face-up cards and three face-down cards.
  • The fifth row has five face-up cards and two face-down cards.
  • The sixth row has six face-up cards and one face-down card.
  • The seventh row has all the cards face-up.

Therefore, you have three completely face-up columns and four combined ones.

The Goal of Chinese Solitaire

The objective of Chinese Solitaire is to remove all cards from the tableau and build foundation piles by rank and suit. Each foundation pile should be in ascending order, starting with an Ace and having a King on the top.

What if There Are No Available Moves?

The initial layout contains 49 cards, which leaves three more cards in the stockpile. They are dealt face-down, so you cannot know what they are. These cards can only be dealt all at once and are placed onto the first three columns; you cannot put them back into stock.

Rules of Chinese Solitaire

  • The game begins with setting up the tableau and looking for available matching cards.
  • You can place a card on the one that meets two criteria: it should be one rank higher and be of the opposite color. 
  • You can move the groups of cards even if they do not create a correct sequence as long as the joined cards fulfill the requirements.
  • If you run out of the moves, you can use three cards from the stockpile.
  • The game ends when all cards are removed from the tableau and stock or when no more moves are possible.

How to Win in Chinese Solitaire

Winning in Chinese Solitaire requires a combination of skill, strategy, and a bit of luck. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success:

  • Prioritize removing cards that cover others. Clearing cards that are covering other cards will open up more opportunities to create new sequences (or even move some cards directly to the foundations).
  • Plan your moves carefully. Look for multiple options for making a move and choose the one that will lead to a bigger number of potential subsequent moves.
  • Be mindful of the stockpile. Remember that you can only use it once, so make sure you’ve used all the options in the tableau before you refer to the stock.

Types of Chinese Solitaire

While the basic rules of Chinese Solitaire remain consistent, there are several variations that offer unique challenges and gameplay experiences. Some popular variations include:

  • Double Chinese Solitaire. In this version, two decks of cards are used, and the tableau is built with twice the number of cards in each row.
  • Chinese Spider Solitaire. This variation follows the rules of Chinese Solitaire but incorporates elements of Spider Solitaire, such as building sequences of cards in descending order within the tableau.
  • Chinese FreeCell Solitaire. Combining elements of FreeCell Solitaire and Chinese Solitaire, this variation provides the player with four temporary storage cells to hold cards, offering more flexibility and strategic options.


Is Chinese Solitaire purely based on luck, or does skill play a role?

Chinese Solitaire involves both skill and luck. While the initial setup of the cards is determined by chance, a player’s success depends on their ability to strategize, plan moves, and manage the draw pile.

Can I play Chinese Solitaire online or on mobile devices?

Yes, numerous online platforms and mobile apps offer online Chinese Solitaire games. These digital versions provide a convenient way to track your progress and even compete with other players worldwide.

Are there any time limits in Chinese Solitaire?

Time limits are not a standard rule in Chinese Solitaire, but they can be introduced to increase the challenge or when playing in a competitive environment. Adding a timer can encourage faster decision-making and enhance the overall gaming experience.

In Conclusion

Chinese Solitaire is an engaging and challenging card game that offers a unique twist on traditional Solitaire. By understanding the rules, employing strategic moves, and practicing, players can increase their chances of success and enjoy this game to its fullest. Whether you are playing the classic version or exploring its variations, Chinese Solitaire promises hours of entertainment and mental stimulation.