Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

April 20, 2012

Early in the Deal (solution)

Martin Tompa

All three trumps that you hold are exciting cards. You should elect to exercise all three of your pre-trick options: exchange J for T, close the stock, and declare your royal marriage. Even though your opponent already may hold A, it is perfectly safe to close the stock, as long as your first trump lead is Q. You may lose Q to A, but your current 6 trick points, plus 40 for the marriage, plus what you collect with T and K must come to at least 66 points. (You opponent must contribute at least a queen to each of your two tricks, since you’ve seen all the jacks.) Be sure to lead Q rather than K when you declare the marriage, because in the worst case you are going to need that one extra point in your tricks.

The reason to close the stock is that it guarantees you 3 game points for the deal. If you go through this same sequence without closing the stock, there is a chance your opponent may pick up A from the stock this trick or next, or may already have it and elect not to play it too early. In that case, you will get at most 2 game points or, worse yet, will lose T to A and perhaps ultimately lose this powerful hand.

© 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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