Psellos
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.

Gamble

Martin Tompa
September 30, 2017

The game against your very dangerous opponent Uncle Tibor has drawn near to its end, with Uncle Hans watching all the action over your shoulder. Though it is clear to all of you that Tibor is the better player, you have kept the score very close, and are now just 1 game point behind Tibor….

Homework on Expected Values

Martin Tompa
April 26, 2017

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 very large group of students who had never encountered it before.

In the course, we have recently covered the topic of expected value, 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 twelve days from now, when the homework will be due. A similar homework exercise appeared as a column last year.


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

Thoughtful Actions

Martin Tompa
March 25, 2017

You have begun another game against Uncle Tibor. In the very first hand, you reach a point where some thought seems required….

About the Author

Martin Tompa

Martin Tompa (tompa@psellos.com)

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.

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Getting Started

Links for Schnapsen and Sixty-Six

Links in German

Links in Hungarian

Recent Columns

September
Gamble, Sep 30
April
Homework on Expected Values, Apr 26
March
Thoughtful Actions, Mar 25
Noble Sacrifice, Mar 4
February
Carpe Diem, Feb 10
The Glass is 9/10 Full, Feb 2

Archives

2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012