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Microsoft seeks king of the timewasters

Barry Collins
19 May 2015
Microsoft Solitaire Collection
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Solitaire competition celebrates 25 years of the infamous excuse to do no work

It has been draining the productivity out of PC users for a quarter of a century. Now Microsoft is launching a global Solitaire competition to find out who is the king (or queen) of the timewasters.  

It's now 25 years since Solitaire was first integrated into Windows, arriving in Windows 3.0 in 1990. Even in those primitive VGA-screen days, you could choose the design of the playing cards or whether to go for a single or three-card draw. Since then, the game has been embedded into every version of Windows, except the very latest Windows 8. It's now an optional free download from the Windows Store, where it goes under the guise of Microsoft Solitaire Collection.  

To celebrate its silver anniversary, Microsoft is launching a competition to find out who's sharpened their Solitaire skills over a quarter century of slacking. The company is currently hosting an internal competition amongst Microsoft employees, the winner of which should probably expect a word with Redmond's HR department about quite how they've managed to polish their Solitaire skills to such a degree. 

Then, at the start of next month, the same challenges Microsoft's used for its own employees will be thrown open to the public, in a bid to identify a champion card arranger. Entrants will have to be familiar with the different variants of the card game. "From Klondike to FreeCell to Spider, TriPeaks and Pyramid game modes, you’ll be challenged to bring your best to defeat our best," says Microsoft. 

To enter, you'll need to download the Microsoft Solitaire Collection for Windows 8 or Windows Phone. Although Solitaire die-hards will doubtless be sad to see that they've replaced the traditional bouncing piles of cards you used to see when winning a game with this fancy kaleidoscope nonsense... 

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