Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

Schnapsen Log Archives

Columns for November, 2012

Race to the End

Martin Tompa
November 2, 2012

At the Black Eagle, your formidable opponent Katharina has changed hats for the third time since the tournament started. “How do you like my latest creation?” she inquires. Trying to come up with a polite and semi-truthful reply is distracting you from what should be the focus of your concentration….

Entries from Thin Air

Martin Tompa
November 9, 2012

It’s come down to the wire at the weekly Black Eagle tournament. You and the reigning champion Katharina are down to the last deal, with the game point score tied 1-1. The winner of this deal wins the tournament. Onlookers who have been knocked out of the tournament have gathered around your table. You suddenly feel cold and clammy, and you’ve got pins and needles in the tips of your fingers. Yet Katharina looks as cool as a cucumber that’s wearing a funny hat….

Vienna Tournament

Martin Tompa
November 16, 2012

I am going to break from our normal format for today’s column, in order to give you a brief travel report.

I was in the beautiful city of Vienna not too long ago for a visit. Normally the Schnapsen tournament season is during the cold months, and it was still summer weather at the time of my visit. But by good fortune, at the end of the week there was a small, off-season Schnapsen tournament in the outlying district of Hietzing, and I was able to enter….

More on Race to the End

Martin Tompa
November 23, 2012

Florian Wisser and I have been having some intriguing conversations about a column I posted recently entitled Race to the End. (Faithful readers will recognize Florian as the author of the formidable Doktor Schnaps program.) What emerged from those conversations is that there is much more to the deal I presented in that column than I had realized. Here was the position I provided…

Putting On Pressure

Martin Tompa
November 25, 2012

It’s another pleasant Sunday afternoon at home, with all the relatives gathered at your house for coffee, cake, and cards. You are playing against your sister Emmi, with your Uncle Hans kibitzing. You hate losing to her, but it seems to be happening again….

Make It Progressive

Martin Tompa
November 30, 2012

Your losing battle against Emmi continues, but you are expecting a change of luck any deal now….

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