Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

Jargon for Schnapsen

Martin Tompa

cash

To lead out a card that will win the trick; for example, “cash the ace of trumps”.

counterforce play

A play that endplays an opponent who would have a forcing defense, if it were not for the fact that the player who employs the counterforce has too many trick points to be forced to trump. See forcing defense and the column Counterforce Play.

deal

The tricks played between the time the cards are dealt and the time one player reaches 66 trick points or all the cards are played. Sometimes also called “a hand”, but I try to avoid that use because of possible confusion with your current hand of cards.

declare a marriage

To show the king and queen of some suit when you are on lead, in order to collect the trick point bonus. Also called meld.

desperation play

A play designed to grasp a small probability of success, by assuming the only distribution of cards that might allow success. See the column The Mother of Invention. The opposite of safety play.

discard

When ducking a trick, the particular card played to effect the duck.

draw from the stock

When the stock is open, to pick up the top card from the stock to replace the card played in the previous trick.

duck

When following to a trick, to play a card that allows the player on lead to win the trick.

ducking ruff

A play in which the trick is won by trumping even though the player holds a winning card in the suit led. See the column To Duck and Not to Duck.

elimination play

An endplay in which the opponent’s safe exit cards are removed before throwing the opponent in. See throw-in and the column Elimination Play.

endgame

The last 5 or 6 tricks of a deal.

endplayed

Being put on lead in a situation in which any choice of subsequent lead results in losing the deal. See throw-in, elimination play, counterforce play, and tempo endplay.

exit card

A card that can be played safely in order to put the opponent on lead and thus avoid being endplayed.

expected game points

The average number of game points won or lost, averaging over all possible distributions of the cards. In most practical cases, this means averaging over all possibilities for the one face-down card remaining in the stock. See the column Expected Game Points.

expected trick points

The average number of trick points your opponent will contribute to your tricks, averaging over all possible distributions of the cards. In most practical cases, this assumes that you have closed the stock. See the column How Much Help Can You Expect?.

follow

To play second to a trick, that is, when you are not on lead.

follow suit

When following to a trick, to play the same suit as the leader. It is required to follow suit when the stock is no longer open. By extension, the phrase “must follow suit” is often used to imply all the rules that are in effect when the stock is no longer open, such as trumping when you do not have the suit that was led.

forcing defense

A play in which you force your opponent to trump every time you are on lead, in order to seize trump control. See the column Forcing the Issue.

game

The deals played until one player has scored 7 game points, which ends the game. Also called a “Bummerl”.

hand

The five or fewer cards currently held by a player. Sometimes “the hand” is also used as a synonym for “the deal”, but I try to avoid that confusion.

homewrecker squeeze

A squeeze without the count in which winners are cashed, and in the process the opponent is forced to break up a held marriage and is then thrown in. See squeeze without the count, throw-in, and the column The Homewrecker.

master trump

The highest trump that has not yet been played.

meld

To declare a marriage when you are on lead.

on lead

Said of the player who is first to play to a trick, called the “leader”. After the first trick, the winner of the previous trick is on lead in the next trick. The opposite of follow.

open up

To be the first one to play a given suit; for example, “open up the heart suit”. Sometimes card players use the term “break” to mean the same thing. Opening up a suit is often a disadvantage: see throw-in and elimination play.

pull trumps

With the stock no longer open, lead high trumps in order to extract opponent’s trumps. Sometimes people say “draw trumps” instead of “pull trumps”, but I try to avoid that phrase so as not to cause confusion with “draw from the stock”.

role reversal

An analysis that looks at the position from your opponent’s point of view in order to assess what your opponent would do. See the column Expected Game Points and Role Reversal.

royal marriage

The marriage (i.e., king and queen) in the trump suit.

run

To cash a sequence of winners; for example, “run your trump suit”.

ruff

To trump.

safety play

A play designed to protect the player against a small probability of failure. See the column Safety First. The opposite of desperation play.

singleton

A suit in which the player holds precisely one card.

squeeze play

A play in which winners are cashed, and in the process the opponent is forced to choose a discard that promotes an additional winner for the player executing the squeeze. See the column Putting on Pressure.

squeeze without the count

A squeeze-and-elimination play in which it only becomes safe to throw the opponent in after the squeeze card has been played. See squeeze play, elimination play, homewrecker squeeze, tempo squeeze, and the column Too Clever By Half.

stock

The pile of cards used to replenish players’ cards that are played in the previous trick. Also called “Talon” or “deck”. The stock is “exhausted” when all the cards have been drawn from it. It can be “closed” by a player on lead, meaning no more cards will be drawn from it. Otherwise it is “open” and players replenish their hands by drawing new cards from the stock.

take

To win the trick. The phrases “take the trick” and “take the card [that was led]” are synonymous with “win the trick”.

tempo endplay

An endplay that arises in the struggle for the last trick when the stock is exhausted, in which a player is forced to cash a winner rather than retaining it to regain the lead later. See the column Tempo.

tempo squeeze

A squeeze without the count in which winners are cashed, and in the process the opponent is forced to choose a discard that enables a tempo endplay. See squeeze without the count, tempo endplay, and the column The Last Trick.

throw-in

A play that puts the other player on lead so that that player is endplayed and, in particular, forced to open up a suit and thereby give away extra trick points. See the column “You First.” “No, You First.”.

trick

The basic unit of play in a deal, consisting of one card contributed by each player from their hands. The trick is won by the played card of highest rank in the suit led, if neither card is from the trump suit. Otherwise it is won by the played card of highest rank in the trump suit. See trump.

trump

The suit randomly determined for the current deal by turning one card face up on the table when the initial hands are dealt. A card of this suit always beats a card of any other suit. See trick.

unblocking play

A play in which a winner is discarded in order to avoid being endplayed with it. See the column Elimination Play.

void

A suit in which the player holds no cards.

© 2012-2013 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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