Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

The Schnapsen Log is a series about the card game Schnapsen, and how to play it like a master. Schnapsen is the national card game of Austria and Hungary. It is very similar to the German game Sechsundsechzig (Sixty-six). These games are popular throughout Europe, where they go by various regional names, including Snapszer, Snapszli, Hatvanhat, Mariagen-Spiel, Mariáš, Santase, Tute, and Exinta-exi. Schnapsen is easy to learn, requires only one other willing player (or a computer program, always willing), is quick and fun to play, and is full of interesting strategy.

My goal in this series is to teach you everything you need to know about the strategy for winning Schnapsen. I will present thought-provoking situations that arise commonly in Schnapsen, in a manner very similar to the daily newspaper’s bridge or chess columns. Here are a few of the most recent columns. Check out the archives for older columns.

If Worse Comes to Worst

Martin Tompa
December 14, 2016

It has been a long time since I have written a column, for which I apologize to you, my dear reader. I promise to restart with a gentle puzzle and solution….

Keep Calm

Martin Tompa
April 9, 2016

In this third round of the regional tournament you have been pitted against Rudi, whom you have found to be an exceptionally challenging opponent. In the previous deal you finally took over the game point lead, and both of you are now within striking distance of winning the game. And then this disaster occurs…

Homework on Expected Values

Martin Tompa
January 26, 2016

I am once again teaching a course on Probability and Statistics, using Schnapsen as a running example of applications of Probability. It’s been fun teaching Schnapsen to a large group of students who had never encountered it before.

In the course, we are just up to the topic of expected value now, so it seems appropriate to give them a homework exercise that involves expected game points. Today’s column is that homework exercise. This means that I won’t be posting my analysis until about ten days from now, when the homework will be due. A similar homework exercise appeared as a column last October.

You have just started a new game against the Maestro. On the very first deal, you reach the following interesting position…

About the Author

Martin Tompa

Martin Tompa (

I am a Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where I teach discrete mathematics, probability and statistics, design and analysis of algorithms, and other related courses. I have always loved playing games. Games are great tools for learning to think logically and are a wonderful component of happy family or social life.

Read about Winning Schnapsen, the very first and definitive book on the winning strategy for this fascinating game.


Getting Started

Links for Schnapsen and Sixty-Six

Links in German

Links in Hungarian

Recent Columns

If Worse Comes to Worst, Dec 14
Keep Calm, Apr 9
Homework on Expected Values, Jan 26
An Endplay with Holes, Nov 21
Maintain Control, Nov 5
Homework on Expected Values, Oct 24