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Larry Finley Franklin TN February 25, 2010

Below is the Excel code to do the fantastic Fitch Cheney card trick with any computer or cell phone or PDA that supports entries into an MS Excel spreadsheet.

You may be able to do this with NON MS Windows spreadsheets if you can use equivalent formulas (especially for the =MATCH and the =INDEX formulas). A description on how to perform this trick is at the bottom of this post.

If you use this code let me know how it worked for you either by making your own post here or by direct email to me. I would like to know your Pros and Cons.

Name the xls "FitchFin01.xls".
If you are using a computer this should take you less than a half hour to copy and paste the below formulas into each cell. If using a cell phone it will take longer unless you copy from your computer to a Micro SD card and then plug the micro SD card into your cell phone.

Starting with a blank spreadsheet the below is what you will need to copy and paste into the cells:

A1 has the following: HAND 1
A3 has the following: CARD1 =
A4 has the following: CARD2 =
A5 has the following: CARD3 =
A6 has the following: CARD4 =

A8 has the following: ANS=

A19 has the following: =MATCH(B3,A101:A152,0)
A21 has the following: =IF(A19>39,52,(IF(A19>26,39,(IF(A19>13,26,13)))))

A40 has the following: =IF(AND(B31<B32)*(B31<B33),1,2)
A41 has the following: =IF(AND(B32<B31)*(B32<B33),1,2)
A42 has the following: =IF(AND(B33<B31)*(B33<B32),1,2)

A45 has the following: =IF(AND(B31>B32)*(B31>B33),3,A40)
A46 has the following: =IF(AND(B32>B31)*(B32>B33),3,A41)
A47 has the following: =IF(AND(B33>B31)*(B33>B32),3,A42)

A51 has the following: 123
A52 has the following: 132
A53 has the following: 213
A54 has the following: 231
A55 has the following: 312
A56 has the following: 321

A99 has the following: Below is 2 duplic suit
A100 has the following: cards “suit” groups
A101 has the following: AS
A102 has the following: 2S
A103 has the following: 3S
A104 has the following: 4S
A105 has the following: 5S
A106 has the following: 6S
A107 has the following: 7S
A108 has the following: 8S
A109 has the following: 9S
A110 has the following: TS
A111 has the following: JS
A112 has the following: QS
A113 has the following: KS
A114 has the following: AH
A115 has the following: 2H
A116 has the following: 3H
and so on thru A152.

Note - when you create this list when entering a 10 use a capital T in these lists.
Example: 10H is TH
Note - when the spectator enters a 10 in cells B3 thru B6 they are encouraged use a lowercase t. Example: 10D is td

Note that the above cells A101 thru A152 is using SHCD sequence, but you can use CHSD or CDHS instead (look it over and you’ll get the idea). Cells A101 thru A152 are used to establish a 13 group “suit” for the first card and the 5th card (the target non entered card). If you ever wish to use a stack such as Aronson you would enter the stack in Cells A101 thru A152.

Now for the "B" cells:

For now just put the following in cells B3 thru B6:
B3 has the following: 4d
B4 has the following: 8h
B5 has the following: 2d
B6 has the following: ks

This makes for a good test when all the cells have the proper formulas below then cell B8 will display 7D

After you have your spreadsheet perfect then just put a ? question mark in the above 4 cells as a reminder that is where the spectator will enter the four cards.

B8 has the following: =B71
Note: make the font size as large as possible for the B8 cell (without obscuring the cells above it). The cells A1 thru B7 should remain visible to the spectator while they are entering the 4 cards).

B31 has the following: =MATCH(B4,C101:C152,0)
B32 has the following: =MATCH(B5,C101:C152,0)
B33 has the following: =MATCH(B6,C101:C152,0)

B61 has the following: =(100*A45)+(10*A46)+A47
B63 has the following: =MATCH(B61,A51:A56,0)
B65 has the following: =A19+B63

B67 has the following: =IF(B65>A21,B65-13,B65)
B69 has the following: =INDEX(A101:A152,B67,1)
B71 has the following: =IF(MID(B69,1,1)="t","10"&MID(B69,2,1),B69)

Now for the C cells:
C99 has the following: Below is for the 3 cards
C100 has the following: Low Medium High list positions
C101 has the following: AS
C102 has the following: AH
C103 has the following: AC
C104 has the following: AD
C105 has the following: 2S
C106 has the following: 2H
C107 has the following: 2C
C108 has the following: 2D
C109 has the following: 3S
C110 has the following: 3H
C111 has the following: 3C
C112 has the following: 3D
C113 has the following: 4S
C114 has the following: 4H
C115 has the following: 4C
C116 has the following: 4D
and so on thru C152.

That's it.
You can copy and paste each cell value from here to your spreadsheet then save it. Test it many times to make sure no mistakes. I have tested the above instructions from scratch creating a new spreadsheet and it works perfectly. If you are having a problem it is most likely that you have copied into a wrong cell or forgot to include the equal sign from a formula. If you see #REF in a cell itself while entering a formula do not worry, it should disappear after you have all the cells entered. If you still have a problem with a cell then just copy and paste from here into the cell again.

Note: for special 52 card sequence list backup I keep:
The normal Suit list in cells E101 thru E152 (same as now in A101 thru A152)
The normal HML list in cells F101 thru F152 (same as now in C101 thru C152)
My favorite stack list (Aronson) in cells G101 thru G152

This way I can play around with A101 thru A152 and play around with C101 thru C152 and simply copy and paste my wanted list from the E column, the F column, the G column to the A101 column or C101 column as needed. You could also have other 52 card stacks/lists that you like in columns H101, I101, J101 etc. just to view and to copy.

Note that cells in the E, F, G, H, I, J 101 columns are never referenced, they are just there to be copied and pasted if needed into cells A101 thru A152 or pasted into C101 thru C152 as you experiment.

For now to eliminate confusion just stick with the cell values I have specified here using the SHCD sequence.

Do “SAVE AS” your spreadsheet as FitchFin01Bkup.xls then
Do “SAVE AS” your spreadsheet as FitchFin01.xls and use it to perform with.

The above name is important as I may release other spreadsheets in the future and the above nomenclature assures we will know which spreadsheet we are talking about.

The spreadsheet is now ready to perform but are you?

Note that the above C101 thru C152 is using SHCD sequence, but you can use CHSD or CDHS (Bridge order) instead. Cells C101 thru C152 is used to evaluate the last three entry cards as to their L M H position and adjust your mental tie-breaker process accordingly. To the computer there is no tie-breaker, it is just evaluating where in the list the 3 cards fall as to which is High, which is Medium, which is Low of the 3 cards. It could care less about your mental scheme, its you (the magician) that has to adjust YOUR thinking to the list in C101 thru C152 as to the L M H positions of the last 3 cards entered. Of course you can change the list to your liking.

Note: this version is a little more powerful than the standard Fitch xls code I posted on Ring2100. This Fitch routine here has exactly the same result; however this version has the capability of using a Stack if you ever want to do the advanced method. The advanced method requires that you have your memorized stack in cells A101 thru A152. Do not attempt the advanced method until you have mastered the standard method.

This effect (standard or advanced method) is very powerful because it can be done with a borrowed deck and truly shuffled before doing the trick. There is no preparation other than having your trusty Excel computer/cell phone/PDA calculator with you and your brain in full gear – it’s not that hard. Mathematicians have called this the "Best Card Trick Ever" which is a bit of an overstatement but from their point of view the discovery by Fitch Cheney that you appear to cover 52 possible cards with only 24 combinations using 4 cards is ingenious.

The Fitch effect using a spreadsheet device:
Note the term “device” can be a cell phone, a PDA, a netbook, a laptop, a desktop computer.
Note - the device must have spreadsheet entry capability and be able to use the above formulas in its spreadsheet.

Magician gives the Spectator the device and shows them how to enter 2 character card names into the spreadsheet cells B3 thru B6.

Spectator selects any 5 cards and hands them to the Magician who asks "Do you want to change your mind on any of these 5 cards?" this gives the magician time to think. Then magician hands 4 of the cards back one at a time for the spectator to enter into cells B3 then B4 then B5 then B6. Then the spectator looks at the answer in cell B8 and it has the name of the 5th remaining card! Very powerful trick!

How its done:
From the five cards the magician quickly notices two cards that have the same suit and the “lower" card becomes the first card entered. The higher card of these two will be the 5th card and not entered (it will be the revealed card).

The next 3 cards entered convey a value of 1 to 6 as follows:
L M H = 1
L H M = 2
M L H = 3
M H L = 4
H L M = 5
H M L = 6

Note: L means Lowest of the three cards, M means Medium of the three cards, H means highest of the three cards. Note: the computer determines each of these thee cards whether L M H based on the list in cells C101 thru C152.

So the magician must quickly calculate the difference between the two duplicate suit cards (between the first card and the 5th non entered card - it will be a value of 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6) and then quickly plan in his head the entry sequence of the other 3 cards using the above scheme.

After all 4 cards are entered, the spreadsheet uses the last three cards of the four cards entered and figures the value (1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6) to add to the first card entered to arrive at the value of the 5th card and display it in cell B8. Note: if the value is over 13 then the spreadsheet subtracts 13 to arrive at the final value of the 5th card.

The computer is using the list in cells A101 thru A152 to find the first card entered and uses the next 3 cards to count “forward” upto 6 (wrapping the count within its 13 card "suit" group if necessary) to find the 5th card (the card to reveal). It treats cells A101 thru A113 as suit1, cells A114 thru A126 as suit2, cells A127 thru A139 as suit3, cells A140 thru A152 as suit4.

The order of the suits in cells A101 thru A152 is inconsequential because the computer will find the first card entered in the list and then count from there.

Note in your mind: Ace is value 1, Jack is value 11, Queen is value 12 and King is value 13 the other cards are their own value.

Exception: if the higher card of the 2 duplicate “suit” cards is greater than 6 away from the lower card then their roles are reversed meaning the higher card is the first card entered and the lower card will be the 5th card thus insuring that the two duplicate cards are never more than 6 away from each other mathematically.

This is NOT hard to do. I’ve done it many times with few errors.

Tell the spectator to enter a "10" as "t". Example for ten of clubs: tc
Capital letters or not makes no difference to the spreadsheet, but the screen keyboard with the lower case letters is easier to use on most windows mobile devices.

Once you have instructed the spectator and you have turned over control of the device to the spectator you (the magician) do not touch the device nor bring your hand near the device lest they think you are secretly breaking an infared beam or something like that. Do your instructions to the spectator before you start the trick (before they select the 5 cards).

This code is not to be sold. It’s free from me to you.

Larry Finley Franklin TN February 25, 2010
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Nashville TN
706 Posts

Profile of glowball
If you want to include this code in a book or other publishing feel free to do so. All I ask is that you give me credit for coming up with the spreadsheet solution to the Fitch trick.
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Profile of GALIER
Great trick and good idea. I've written part of the history, some ideas and variations about the Cheney card trick, including the link to your code (in spanish) in the web
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