Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

Schnapsen Log Archives

Columns for December, 2013

Pressured Out

Martin Tompa
December 7, 2013

Thursday, June 23, 1938
Dresdnerstraße 80/9
Vienna XX, Austria

“Glebe”, Crymlyn Road
Skewen, Neath, Glamorgan, Wales

Dear Hans,

It has been an eventful week for us, not in a happy sense. Early Monday morning the police came to the house to arrest Anyu. It is not that she had committed any great crime, of course. It is simply what is happening everywhere in Austria these past few months, the German…


Martin Tompa
December 11, 2013

Wednesday, July 13, 1938
Dresdnerstraße 80/9
Vienna XX, Austria

“Glebe”, Crymlyn Road
Skewen, Neath, Glamorgan, Wales

Dear Hans,

Yesterday I was summoned to the police commissioner’s office. They had begun deportation proceedings for me and for Tibor, according to which we should be deported to Hungary as soon as possible. I requested that they wait until we receive our Hungarian passports…

Nowhere To Go

Martin Tompa
December 15, 2013

Wednesday, September 21, 1938. Sopron, Hungary. Peter and Tibor sit on a hard bench in a jail cell. They are playing cards, because there is nothing else for them to do. This is the second jail in which they find themselves within the span of a few days.

One month earlier, on August 20, a young SS Sergeant named Adolf Eichmann oversaw the opening of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna, whose mission was to increase the pace of forced emigration. Peter’s and Tibor’s deportation procedure might have otherwise dragged on for months, but Eichmann’s office demanded efficiency.

Thus, on September 15 the German security police arrested Peter and Tibor and deposited them in the Rossauer Lände Prison in Vienna, where they were detained for a few days awaiting deportation. At dawn on September 19, two police detectives escorted Peter and Tibor on a train to the Austrian village of Loipersbach im Burgenland on the…

Waiting for Change

Martin Tompa
December 20, 2013

Sunday, September 25, 1938
Rottenbiller utca 33
Budapest, VII, Hungary

“Glebe”, Crymlyn Road
Skewen, Neath, Glamorgan, Wales

My dear Hans,

After one week of worries, Peter and Tibor are finally here. We did not know where they were from Monday until Thursday. We now have to continue trying to obtain Hungarian passports, and we again face other difficulties. It would really be good to have some peace, but…

Exit Plans

Martin Tompa
December 29, 2013

Saturday, August 19, 1939. Budapest, Hungary. It is twilight. There is a knock on the apartment door and Anyu goes to answer it.

“Who’s there?” she calls out in her lyrical voice.

“Peter,” comes the muffled reply. Anyu throws open the door and wraps her son in her arms.

“Oh, Peter, we have missed you!” she coos in his ear. “It is so lonely here without my boys.”

Apu hears the unaccustomed commotion and emerges from the bedroom. “Welcome home, son!” he says with the hint of a smile. “How was Paris? Tell us all about your trip!”

Peter comes in and takes off his hat. “The trip went well. Most important, my mission was a success. I went to the Dominican…

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

Links for Schnapsen and Sixty-Six

Links in German

Links in Hungarian

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