Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

October 8, 2019

How To Open a Suit (solution)

Martin Tompa

Tibor: (42 points)
TQ
T
♣ Q
J

You: (27 points)
AKJ

♣ KJ

Trump:
Stock: Exhausted
Game points: Tibor 2, You 5
Lead: J

The obvious way to proceed is to trump with your jack and pull Tibor’s last trump with your king. This will leave you on lead from this position:

Tibor: (42 points)
TQ
T
♣ —

You: (38 points)
AKJ

♣ —

Now you have to open up the spade suit, which is unfortunate. You can lead A, but that will be your last trick. Or you can lead J, but then Tibor’s two tens will give him enough trick points. Either way, you lose 1 game point.

Maybe what you need to do is reserve your ♣K so that you don’t lose control. This means opening up the spade suit right after trumping Tibor’s lead, by leading J so as to retain control of the spades. This would put Tibor on lead from this position:

Tibor: (54 points)
Q
T
♣ Q

You: (31 points)
AK

♣ K

Tibor will force you again by leading T, knocking out your last trump. You can take one more trick with A, but then Tibor wins the last trick with his remaining trump and you again lose 1 game point.

There is no good way to open up the spade suit, and you really shouldn’t want to. Do you see a way to avoid opening up that suit at all?

The solution is an unnatural unblocking play. Instead of trumping Tibor’s J with ♣J, you trump it with ♣K. That leaves you with ♣J as an exit card for an elimination play so that you don’t have to open up the spade suit. When Tibor wins this trick, he will be on lead from this position:

Tibor: (47 points)
TQ
T
♣ —

You: (33 points)
AKJ

♣ —

He can cash his T to get to 59 trick points, but after that he is the one who will have to open up the spade suit and you will take both remaining tricks. And you are the one who will win 1 game point.

© 2019 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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Recent Columns

December
Planning To Win the Last Trick, Dec 26
October
How To Open a Suit, Oct 8
September
The Horns of a Dilemma, Sep 4
August
Compelling Opponent, Aug 14
June
Imperfect Information, Jun 24
December
Singleton Tens, Dec 1

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