The Schnapsen Log
At Trick One (solution)
With the royal marriage and the top three trumps, you would very much like to prevent your opponent from winning a trick so that you can score 3 game points. To do this, you will have to trump the first trick with ♣T. Suppose you draw a useless card such as ♥Q. Should you then close the stock? Let’s count up. The first trick brings you 13 trick points, plus 40 points for the marriage, plus 7 points for ♣K and ♣Q, plus what you collect from your opponent on those two tricks. If your opponent contributes only jacks, the total comes to just 64 points. Not enough. With bad luck, your opponent holds ♠AQ and either two jacks or a jack and queen, and you may lose the deal.
This time there is no reason to close the stock. By playing your cards in exactly the same sequence with the stock open, you leave yourself two extra chances to draw some winner from the stock. Whenever you do draw a winner, you can then close the stock and hopefully cash it. There is an outside chance that you only draw the winner after you have played all your trumps, and that your opponent holds ♣J and happens to be void in your winner’s suit. That combination of events poses only a tiny risk that is well worth taking.
© 2012 Martin Tompa. All rights reserved.