Air Lock Solitaire

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Air Lock Solitaire Rules


Remove all cards from the layout by matching pairs of cards next to each other.

The Deal

Using one deck, All 52 cards are dealt in 4 rows of 13 non-overlapping cards.

Rows and Columns

Pairs of cards of the same rank are removed from the layout when they are nearby to each other. To remove the pair, drag one of the cards on top of the other.

A nearby card is defined as any card that is one space away from another card horizontally or vertically, but not diagonally. In the layout shown above, there are many plays that can be made such as

  • Rows 1 and 2: the 9 of Spades and the 9 of Hearts
  • Rows 4: the 3 of Diamonds and the 3 of Clubs
  • and a few other plays

Open Spaces

After two cards are paired and removed, two spaces will be left behind. Spaces can be filled according to the following rules:

  • Any cards one space away (horizontally or vertically) from the open space may be moved into the space.
  • When a card is moved into an open space using vertical movements another space will be left behind.
  • When a card is moved into an empty space using a horizontal movement, all of the following cards in the row will also be moved automatically. The space at the end of the row is then removed from the game.
  • Empty spaces in the center of a horizontal row MUST be filled before any more cards can be paired. When an empty space is at the end of a row, then that space may optionally be filled.

Example Plays

This section will demonstrate the basic movements of the game. It is not necessarily intended as the best strategy.

Starting with the layout above, the 9 of Clubs and 9 of Hearts are paired and removed. (To remove the pair, drag one of the nines on top of the other.) This creates two empty spaces in the center of row 2 that must be filled before any more cards can be paired.

The next diagram shows that that K of Hearts was moved down to be close to the K of Spades.

Then, the 9 of Spades on the top row is moved left one space, and thus all other cards following the 9 of Spades are also moved left. This move has the benefit of lining up the 8 of Clubs and 8 of Hearts in rows 1 and 2.

However, there is still an empty space to the right of the K of Hearts that needs to be filled, before we can remove another pair.

The 8 of Hearts could be moved left causing the 2 of Spades to line up with the 2 of Diamonds (after all cards on that row are slid left.) This is the move that was made in the next diagram.

Another reasonable move would have been to move the K of Hearts (and following cards) to the right. That move would have kept the 8's closer to each other.

The following diagram demonstrates that there is an empty space at the end of one of the rows (row 2) as a result of removing the 2 of Spades and 2 of Diamonds.

This space (to the right of the 10 of Clubs) does not need to be filled before another pair is matched because the space is on the end of a row. However, the empty space below (between the 7 and 4 of Diamonds) MUST still be filled because it is a space in the center of a horizontal row.


Each pair of cards removed score 2 points. When all cards are removed, a bonus is added that is equal to the rank values of the last 8 pairs matched.

Kings count as 13, Queens count as 12, Jacks count as 11, all other cards count as their face value.

A perfect score is 144 points: 52 + 13 + 13 + 12 + 12 + 11 + 11 + 10 + 10. Incidentally, the lowest winning score is 72.

Game Notes

Air Lock is a Solitaire Network original created by Warren Schwader.