Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

Schnapsen Log Archives

Columns for February, 2013

Imperfect Information

Martin Tompa
February 5, 2013

In the Café Abeles with your good friend Peter on this wintry day, you look a little sadly at your dwindling piece of Haselnusstorte and your cup of coffee, which not even an optimist would call half full. “Ah well”, you think, “I’m sure they have more in the kitchen.” Meanwhile, you are only a few tricks into the next deal when you find yourself in this situation…

A Bird in Hand

Martin Tompa
February 11, 2013

Warmed by the blazing fire in the Café Abeles, you shuffle and deal out the next hand. The first few tricks go uneventfully, with no marriages and no trump exchange. At the beginning of trick 5 you reach this position…

On a Wing and a Prayer

Martin Tompa
February 16, 2013

You are wrapped in the warmth of the Café Abeles, on your second steaming cup of Kaffee mit Schlag, playing against your good buddy Peter. Your have only one care in the world: playing you cards in the best order possible. Here is your position…

An Unusual Capture

Martin Tompa
February 20, 2013

The first game against your buddy Peter in the warmth and comfort of the Café Abeles is nearing its conclusion. You find yourself on lead in the following position…

Where’s the Endplay?

Martin Tompa
February 26, 2013

In the Café Abeles on this cold winter day, you and Peter took the opportunity of a break between games to replenish your supplies of hot coffee and cake. This time you have given in to your weakness, Linzertorte, a nutty-flavored cake with raspberry filling and a beautiful lattice crust on top. It’s difficult to savor it when you can’t stop yourself from loading the next piece onto your fork. The taste brings back fond memories of your grandmother, who used to bake a very similar cake.

While you were thus distracted, Peter won the first few deals handily. Finally looking up from your plate as though awakening from a sweet dream, you find yourself in the following position…

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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Recent Columns

Sidestep a Few Landmines, Sep 2
Two Last-Trick Problems, Jun 27
More Extremes of Luck, May 21
Grasping at Straws, Apr 4
A New Scheme for Remembering Cards, Mar 23
As Luck Would Have It, Sep 9