Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

Schnapsen Log Archives

Columns for April, 2012

Elimination Play

Martin Tompa
April 2, 2012

Let’s go back to the previous throw-in and make a few small changes to the deal. You are still playing against your aunt, Polite Polona, and here’s the position…

The Mother of Invention

Martin Tompa
April 9, 2012

At the Café Abeles, your favorite hangout for cards, you are playing a friendly game with your good buddy Peter. Things aren’t going so well today….

What Authorities Say About the Rules

Martin Tompa
April 14, 2012

I’m going to break from my usual format, just for today’s column.

If you search around, you will find that there are lots and lots of rules variants for Schnapsen and the closely related German game Sixty-Six. Perhaps you learned the game with a slightly different set of rules than we’re playing together here. I think it’s worthwhile to look at all the variants, see what the authorities say about them, and explain why I’ve chosen the particular variants that I specified at the end of the very first column in this series.

A few months ago I searched the internet for authoritative rules sites for Schnapsen and Sixty-Six, both in English and in German. After reading all these sets of rules, it became clear that there isn’t a single “correct” set of rules for either game. I’ve summarized my findings about all the variants in an article. There are two tables in that article, one for Schnapsen and one for Sixty-Six. Each table lists about 10 rules (Can you do the trump…

Early in the Deal

Martin Tompa
April 20, 2012

So far, our exercises have begun at trick 5 or 6. Let’s take a look at a situation much earlier in the deal….

At Trick One

Martin Tompa
April 22, 2012

Let’s look at another situation early in the deal, similar to one we examined in the last column….

Expected Game Points

Martin Tompa
April 27, 2012

Today I would like to return to the very first deal that we played together. There is something important that we didn’t discuss about that deal. You may recall that you were playing at the Black Eagle club against Katharina, the local champion. Here is the situation again…

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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Recent Columns

Sidestep a Few Landmines, Sep 2
Two Last-Trick Problems, Jun 27
More Extremes of Luck, May 21
Grasping at Straws, Apr 4
A New Scheme for Remembering Cards, Mar 23
As Luck Would Have It, Sep 9