Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

The Schnapsen Log

January 11, 2014

Last To Go

Martin Tompa

Friday, May 3, 1940
Hotel Excelsior
Ciudad Trujillo
Dominican Republic

50 Bryn Road
Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales

Dear Hans and Phyllis, dear Anyu and Apu, dear Tibor,

I have finally succeeded in escaping the continent, a mere year and a half after we first started trying in Budapest! I am safely in my new home, the Dominican Republic, much farther from all of you than I have ever been in my life.

It took persistence and many months of patience to get my Hungarian exit visa, but I finally got it three weeks ago. After that, things went much more quickly: I purchased my boat ticket from Genoa and obtained transit visas through Yugoslavia and Italy, avoiding Germany! I left Budapest two weeks ago, traveling by train to Genoa, and we set sail for the Dominican Republic on April 23. After what seemed an endless voyage (the Atlantic is unimaginably vast!), this past Wednesday we arrived here in Ciudad Trujillo (formerly Santo Domingo until Rafael Trujillo modestly renamed it).

Although I am now in an alien land, I must say I am relieved to have finally escaped from Europe. With Czechoslovakia, Austria, Poland, and Denmark all occupied by Germany, and Norway fighting a losing battle against occupation, it feels as though Hitler cannot be stopped. Your Great Britain is our best and only hope.

I am looking for a decent place to live here in the city. I am pleased to say that I have already secured a good position: accountant for Lockie & Company, importers and wholesalers. It does not use my actuarial training, but I am happy to have a good job and an income, and it is at least somewhat mathematical.

While interviewing at Lockie, I met a kindred spirit. He is a man named Pedro Furst, recently emigrated here from Germany for reasons similar to mine. Tonight we had dinner together and played cards afterwards. He knew the German game “66”, so had no trouble adjusting to the very similar rules of Schnapsen. For your entertainment, here is an interesting situation that arose:

Unseen cards:
♣ TK

Peter’s cards:

♣ AQ

Trump: ♣J
Stock: One face-down card
Game points: Pedro 5, Peter 7
Trick points: Pedro 33, Peter 47
On lead: Peter

In our usual tradition, I have written my analysis on a separate page so that you can consider how you would play at your leisure.

Many kisses to all of you,
your Peter.

© 2014 Martin Tompa. All rights reserved.


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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.


Getting Started

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