Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

April 2, 2012

Elimination Play

Martin Tompa

Let’s go back to the previous throw-in and make a few small changes to the deal. You are still playing against your aunt, Polite Polona, and here’s the position:

Polona: (34 points)
J
TJ
♣ K
A

You: (34 points)
K
AQ
♣ QJ

Trump:
Stock: Exhausted
Game points: Polona 6, You 4
On lead: You

Your hand is the same as it was previously. Polona has fewer trumps and a few black cards to make up for it.

Knowing what you do about throw-in plays, you recognize the AQ opposite TJ in hearts as a suit that neither of you wants to open up, and you go about looking for a way to throw Polona in so that she will lead hearts. A club lead looks like the only way to do this, so you lead ♣J to Polona’s ♣K. But Polona also recognizes the heart situation and wants to throw you in so that you will lead hearts. She leads J to your K. You have now reached this position:

Polona: (40 points)

TJ
♣ —
A

You: (40 points)

AQ
♣ Q

You throw Polona in one final time by leading ♣Q. This gives her 54 points, but she’s finally forced to open up the heart suit, and you win the deal.

“Ooh, that was a nice throw-in, dear,” your proud aunt tells you. “I was truly endplayed.”

Your uncle Hans, who has been kibitzing the game, shakes his head and tsks quietly. Polona turns on him and demands, “What is it this time?”

“Each of you in turn made a mistake,” Hans says.

Find a better play for Aunt Polona, and then find a better play for yourself. When you think you know the answers, you are welcome to read my analysis.

© 2012 Martin Tompa. All rights reserved.


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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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