Schnapsen Log Archives
Columns for July, 2012
Group Theory and Random Sampling
July 3, 2012
I am going to break from our normal format for today’s column, in order to tell you about a very interesting scholarly article by Florian Wisser, a Ph.D. student at the Vienna University of Technology.
Wisser’s goal is to show that methods from Artificial Intelligence can be used to design the world’s best Schnapsen-playing computer program. He has already made remarkable progress toward this goal with a program whimsically named Doktor Schnaps. At the time of this writing, I have played 132 games against the good Doktor, and I can report that it is a very intimidating opponent! Wisser hasn’t yet found anyone who can beat Doktor Schnaps in 50% of games played, which is a great achievement, given how difficult it is to design programs that play such games of strategy at expert levels….
How Much Help Can You Expect?
July 8, 2012
You are back at home, playing against your sister Emmi again. Your clever Uncle Hans has come to visit and has been watching over your shoulder. You take this as another sign that Hans likes you better than Emmi, which makes you happy. As he’s kibitzing, the following situation comes up at trick 2….
All the Aces
July 13, 2012
Your game against Uncle Hans continues, when you find yourself holding all four aces in the following interesting and very symmetric position…
To Duck and Not to Duck
July 17, 2012
Your Uncle Claudius has now claimed the seat across from you, with Uncle Hans kibitzing once again. You haven’t played against Claudius in quite a long time. You hope you can make Hans proud on this deal. It’s going to be tough, because you haven’t collected a single trick yet….
Avoid the Ducking Ruff
July 22, 2012
“All right, Hans, all right,” says Uncle Claudius. “We get it now. The way I played that last hand, I should have lost to your ‘ducking ruff’ play. Well, then, how should I have played the hand?”
“I’m glad you asked,” replies your clever Uncle Hans. “Let’s set up the hands again, but this time from your point of view, Claudius.” Hans rearranges the cards on the table to recreate the situation at the beginning of trick 5….
As Luck Would Have It
July 27, 2012
Peter’s friend Lore has joined the two of you for a cozy afternoon at your favorite daytime hangout, the Café Abeles. Today’s special is Linzertorte and, of course, lots of hot coffee and cards. You are preoccupied with the fact that you haven’t yet scored a single game point against Lore, though in the back of your mind there is also the concern that Peter will get the last piece of Linzertorte….
July 29, 2012
Peter has taken Lore’s seat to play against you at the Café Abeles. Lore looks on, when she is not too busy surreptitiously nibbling at Peter’s last piece of Linzertorte. You sip your coffee and contemplate your situation….