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Patterns recognition

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Recognize the patterns

When you play Minesweeper, you meet particular patterns in almost every games. If you have to think to place the mines, you will lose valuable time. What characterizes a good player, is the fact that he knows these patterns which often appear, and he knows for sure where the mines are and where are the empty squares.

To start, here are completely obvious situations :

If you see
You must mark



The common "" pattern

There is one beside one , as in the example to the right. They are above a line of discovered boxes, and below a line of uncovered boxes. The x's represent an unspecified figure ; they do not interfere in the "" pattern. When you see this pattern, here is what it's necessary to do:

you need to mark a mine on the box which is touching the , but which does not touch the . Indeed, if there were no mine at this place, there would be 2 mines above the , which is impossible. You must then discover the box to the left and above the (symbolized by the white question mark) : the has already its mine with the 2nd mine of the .
To summarize this situation, YOU SHOULD NOT THINK TO HARD ! As soon as you see one beside one , your actions must be automatic: you mark a mine and discover a box.
Note : at this time, you cannot know where the 2nd mine is. You will discover his position later.



There can be less boxes uncovered than in the above example for the "" pattern.  
If you see
you must do



The famous "" pattern


By applying the "" pattern twice, you discover where the mines which touch the and the are.

you obtain
Memorize this situation well, you will see it very often, and you will save an valuable time by learning to recognize it.



Another type of "" pattern


Here, there is no , but look of how many mines the figures need : both 's need one mine, and the needs two mines. This situation can thus be comparable with the "" pattern.

Apply it to this "" : you obtain
Note : you can compare other situations to "" which you can now solve in a few milliseconds!



Another pattern equivalent to ""


With few boxes discovered
you solve it like this, which discovers a great number of boxes



Another example



which resembles the preceding example
and you will do
Do not try to memorize all these situations at once ! Simply remember the "" pattern perfectly, and you will destroy your records.



Other "..." patterns
The "" pattern

That is as good as the "", since you know the position of each mine.

Note that as opposed to the "" pattern, the mines are not on the top of the , but the ..
The"" pattern
This is a less accommodating pattern, because you have the position of only one mine and few boxes discovered
Without other information, you cannot know the position of the other mines
The "..." pattern with more than 3 's  
If there are more than three 's on a line, you must start by "" then continuing with an assimilation of the "" pattern for the continuation of the line (the surrounded is already touching a mine; it is thus regarded as a ). Do the same thing on the other side.



The"" pattern

If you have a long line of 's interrupted by a ,

then you can put a flag above the
Notice well that the small 's are significant : if you have the same pattern, but without 's, you would be tempted to put a mine above , which can be false.



One in a hole
Take a situation as that one of the right
You apply the "" pattern
And now, you do not have any idea how to continue. You don't want to have to guess, but where you discovered the box with the white question mark, there is a .
There, you can discover 3 other boxes. You need to see well what you have just discovered, before continuing to click elsewhere. That takes time, but it is sometimes the only way of continuing without having to guess (if it is what you want).
With a little luck, you discover another in a good position.
When you see this 2nd , you can discover 3 other boxes.
By discovering these 3 last boxes, you have a chance to find a hole who opens up to you several boxes in one clic, allowing you to hopefully continue without having to guess.  


In short, all these situations seem similar, since it is only and . But if you recognize and correctly use the small differences of each pattern, you will not have to think of the location of the mines. From now on, all that prevents you from pulverizing your records is your dexterity with the mouse, and some other unusual situations.

Last update: 6 August 2006 Grégoire Duffez 2001-2006 - Contact - Sitemap - Rules