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.

The Best of All Worlds

Martin Tompa
August 28, 2015

Unfortunately, you got unlucky in the previous deal and Katharina picked up 2 more game points. This put her slightly ahead of you again. And then the next deal finds you in this position…

Rote Behavior

Martin Tompa
August 23, 2015

You have pulled slightly ahead of the masterful Katharina in round 2 of the tournament. The next deal finds you on lead in this position…

On Lead

Martin Tompa
August 19, 2015

In the very next deal of the tournament you find yourself on lead in the following situation…

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, logic, probability, design and analysis of algorithms, and other related courses. I have always loved playing games. Games are great tools for learning to think logically but, more important, seem to me an integral part of happy family or social life. I will be delighted if game-players, parents, teachers, and students find this series fun and useful.

My excitement about Schnapsen was rekindled by playing against an iPhone program called Master Schnapsen/66 written by two friends at Psellos. Set to play at its “Master” level of difficulty, this program is one of the two most formidable opponents I have found. It comes up with surprising and brilliant plays, and I have learned an enormous amount of Schnapsen strategy by playing with it. Nearly every deal in this Schnapsen Log arose during those hours of playing with Master Schnapsen/66.

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Getting Started

Links for Schnapsen and Sixty-Six

Links in German

Links in Hungarian

Recent Columns

August
The Best of All Worlds, Aug 28
Rote Behavior, Aug 23
On Lead, Aug 19
A Second Ounce of Prevention, Aug 15
An Ounce of Prevention, Aug 11
April
When Are Jacks in Hand Reassuring?, Apr 13

Archives

2015
2014
2013
2012