Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

June 30, 2012

The Finish Line

Martin Tompa

It’s been a long and grueling tournament against your archrival Itell Reding, but you’re nearly at its end. You’ve clawed your way up from a score of 6 game points vs. Itell’s 1 and, in four successive deals, have made it to a tie score of 1 game point each. This is the last deal against him. Whoever wins this one sends the other home, and goes on to the final tournament rounds.

Itell’s cards:

♣ AQ

Your cards:
♣ —

Stock: Exhausted
Game points: Itell 1, You 1
Trick points: Itell 40, You 45
On lead: Itell

Looking smug and relaxed, Itell leans back in his chair and tosses ♣Q from his hand onto the table. With only four cards left to play, how hard can your decision possibly be? You have to remind yourself that every single decision must be made meticulously and thoughtfully. One slip and you’ll lose everything you’ve fought so hard to gain. You review once more which three cards you know to be concealed in Itell’s hand, and plan your play of the last four tricks. When you think you have a good plan, you are welcome to read my analysis.

© 2012 Martin Tompa. All rights reserved.


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About the Author

Martin Tompa

Martin Tompa (

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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