Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

April 9, 2016

Keep Calm

Martin Tompa

In this third round of the regional tournament you have been pitted against Rudi, whom you have found to be an exceptionally challenging opponent. In the previous deal you finally took over the game point lead, and both of you are now within striking distance of winning the game. And then this disaster occurs:

Concealed cards:
TQ
TKQJ
♣ AQ
TQ

Your cards:
AK
A
♣ —
AJ

Trump: ♣J
Stock: 5 face-down cards
Game points: Rudi 3, You 2
Trick points: Rudi 60, You 0
On lead: Rudi

How did you get to a trick point score of 60:0 after only two tricks? The answer is obvious: Rudi declared the royal marriage at trick 1, led the king, and continued with the ten of trumps at 2. You discarded a jack and a king on these two tricks, which comes to 60 trick points. In the diagrammed position, Rudi now does what you feared: he closes the stock, which means that this deal will decide the entire game. He then leads T.

Things look decidedly bleak, but it won’t do you any good to panic or despair. What is your plan? When you think you have a good one, you are welcome to read my analysis.

© 2016 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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Recent Columns

February
Carpe Diem, Feb 10
The Glass is 9/10 Full, Feb 2
January
The Battle and the War, Jan 17
December
If Worse Comes to Worst, Dec 14
April
Keep Calm, Apr 9
January
Homework on Expected Values, Jan 26

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