Marble solitaire, or peg solitaire, is completed by capturing every marble on the board by jumping over them with another marble until the final marble ends up in the middle of the board. Every play must result in the capturing of another marble, and players can only jump marbles vertically or horizontally from an adjacent point.
In the setup for marble solitaire, every hole on the board is filled with a marble, expect the hole in the middle. Due to this setup, the first move can only be made by jumping a marble from one of four possible locations to land in the free space in the center of the board.
A standard English marble solitaire game can be solved in just 18 moves. The solution was first discovered by Ernest Bergholt in 1912, and in 1964, John Beasley proved that this is the shortest possible solution to the game.
The exact origin of marble solitaire is unknown, but the game can be traced back to the court of King Louis XIV of France in 1697. A portrait of Anne de Rohan-Chabot that was painted during this year depicts her playing marble solitaire. Later that same year, the French literary magazine “Le Mercure Galant” published a description of the game, which is credited as being the first print reference. The magazine included pictures of the board, rules and sample problems.