Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

December 1, 2018

Singleton Tens (solution)

Martin Tompa

Tibor: (19 points)
A

♣ AKQ
J

You: (26 points)
T

♣ T
ATQ

Trump:
Stock: Exhausted
Game points: Tibor 5, You 6
On lead: You

If you think about it, you discover that you are forced into the right play in this deal. If you were to lead either of your singleton tens, Tibor would win both of his aces for 21 trick points each and declare his marriage for another 20, totalling a whopping 81 trick points. So you have no choice but to start playing trumps.

Nothing very interesting happens when you lead A. But what can Tibor discard when, after that, you lead T?

Tibor: (19 points)
A

♣ AKQ

You: (39 points)
T

♣ T
TQ

If he discards either ace, that sets up one of your tens as a winner. Cashing that ten will then give you more than enough points.

So he must discard ♣Q and break up his valuable marriage. This leaves you on lead again from this position:

Tibor: (19 points)
A

♣ AK

You: (52 points)
T

♣ T
Q

Having successfully broken up his marriage, it is time to stop running trumps: if you were to lead your last trump, you wouldn’t take any further tricks. Instead, you must focus on winning the last trick, because neither of you is going to reach 66 trick points now, and you will need your last trump for this purpose.

It looks as though Tibor still has two entries into his hand and may win the last trick himself. Which ten is the right one to lead from this position? Think it through before reading on.

If you lead T, Tibor will lose a tempo. After winning A, his ♣A is no longer an entry because he has to lead clubs himself. He can cash ♣A and get to 61 points, but you will win the last trick with Q.

This deal is the simplest example of the homewrecker squeeze that I have seen. It is called “homewrecker” because you run your winners until your opponent is forced to break up a marriage. At that point, without the marriage to declare, it becomes safe to give your opponent the lead. In this case, we followed the homewrecker squeeze with a tempo endplay. Despite these fancy names, the play is not too difficult to find, because you really have no choice but to start out by playing your trumps.

© 2018 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.

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December
Singleton Tens, Dec 1
November
Complete Information, Nov 28
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Gamble, Sep 30
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Homework on Expected Values, Apr 26
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