Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

The Schnapsen Log

September 27, 2015

Judging the Book by its Cover

Martin Tompa

In the most recent Schnapsen Log column I proudly announced my brand new book Winning Schnapsen and gave a detailed description of what’s on the inside of the book. In today’s column I am excited to discuss what’s on the outside: the artwork on the cover.

The artist who designed the cover is Saul Perkes. I prefer to call him “the wizard who designed the cover”, because when I look at the cover what I see are ordinary playing cards that have been enchanted.

All you Schnapsen players will readily identify the scene as a standard Schnapsen hand containing the 20-point heart marriage. But Saul has enchanted the marriage partners, bringing them to life. They are happily married, holding hands and smiling at each other. The King has his sword drawn, ready to attack your opponent.

Let’s look at the original inanimate cards from which Saul started, side by side with his animated marriage. The original cards, shown below on the left, were generously placed in the public domain by Byron Knoll. The instance of the marriage shown below on the right comes from the spine of my book, where Saul placed it in miniature.

Before and After

I particularly love the way Saul brought the Queen to life. He turned her whole upper body to face her King, inclined her head slightly so that we see more of her hair and headdress, and put a sweet smile on her lips and in her eyes. The way both partners have broken out of the confines of their cards is pure enchantment.

I am impressed with Saul’s talent in creating this Schnapsen imagery. I am extremely grateful that he created it for the cover of my book.

© 2015 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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