Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

The Schnapsen Log

February 2, 2014

Change of Hands

Martin Tompa

Friday, September 10, 1943
93 Priory Road
Hampstead, London, United Kingdom

2044 Colonial Avenue
Bronx, New York
United States of America

Dear Peter,

Thank you very much for your letter of August 25. All of us enjoyed reading it and hearing your news, as we always do. We are delighted to hear about Liesl, the charming Viennese bookkeeper you met at your workplace. It makes us very happy to hear how much you enjoy being with her. But please forgive me for being frank with you on one point, dear Peter. All of us are concerned about the speed with which things proceed. Remember that you have recently gone through an upsetting break with Lore, on whom you had your heart set for so many, many years. Keep in mind, too, that you have only known Liesl for a very short time. It really seems too early to be talking about marriage, and we are afraid that this is precipitated by what happened between you and Lore. Take your time with Liesl and be certain. There is no reason to rush.

All is well with all of us here in London, except of course for the war dragging on. Baby John is now 8 months old and the love of our lives. He is just beginning to crawl and get into things. Anyu adores him and spoils him as often as she can. Even Apu smiles when with the baby. It is so nice that we all live within short walking distance of each other in London, particularly now with the baby. If you lived here too, our family would be complete.

My work at the Central Laboratories of Ever Ready Company continues to interest me. I enjoy working once again on electrochemical processes with Professor Emil Abel, my old doctoral advisor from Vienna. I believe I told you that he directs the Central Laboratories here.

The recent war news has been encouraging, and we hope as always for a quick end to the war. Mussolini has been deposed and Italy surrendered to the Allies. The Germans still holds the northern half of Italy, though, so Allied advances are difficult and costly. Meanwhile, most German forces continue to be mired in the Russian campaign, and the Soviets have proven themselves impossible to conquer.

Tibor was here for dinner and cards tonight. His lab work is going well and he has found a girl here in London himself. He sends you greetings and particularly wanted you to see this interesting deal that we played:

Unseen cards:
♣ —

Tibor’s cards:
♣ A

Trump: ♣J
Stock: One face-down card
Game points: Hans 5, Tibor 4
Trick points: Hans 40, Tibor 19
On lead: Tibor

I had declared the diamond marriage earlier, so Tibor knew I was still holding Q. How would you have played Tibor’s cards? I will record what happened on a separate page, giving you the opportunity to think about it.

With many kisses,
your Hans.

© 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.


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