Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

November 5, 2015

Maintain Control (solution)

Martin Tompa

Whenever you get to the endgame with such low trick point scores, you should be thinking about who is going to win the last trick, because the outcome may well come down to that.

Unfortunately, it looks as though Rudi has 3 entries (A, Q, and T) whereas you have only 2 (T and A), so it seems impossible for you to win the last trick. If you try to lead your losers and knock out Rudi’s entries, the play will proceed something like this: You lead J, and Rudi leads ♣K to force you to trump. That puts you back on lead from this position:

Rudi: (41 points)

Q
♣ —
TK

You: (45 points)
Q

♣ —
AQ

Now you can force Rudi back by leading Q. He will then lead K to knock out your last entry and will win the last trick with his T. You each end with 60 trick points, but winning the last trick earns Rudi 1 game point.

If you have any chance of winning this deal, then, you will have to reach 66 trick points. As we saw, your T and A alone will not garner you enough points. Your only chance is to set up a spade trick for the extra trick points. For that to work, you cannot let Rudi force you, because then he is left with the master trump, denying you the possibility to cash your last spade, as we just saw. You must instead maintain control by pulling his only trump before leading J. If you do this, Rudi will be on lead from this position:

Rudi: (41 points)


♣ K
TK

You: (44 points)
Q

♣ —
AQ

He will now lead one of his kings. If he cashes ♣K, you discard your losing Q and take the last two tricks. His only other choice is to lead K. When you win that trick, you will have 59 trick points. You can then cash your established Q, picking up his ♣K and the 7 trick points you need to reach 66.

© 2015 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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