Psellos
Contemporary Development With Functional Programming

The Schnapsen Log

December 26, 2019

Planning To Win the Last Trick (solution)

Martin Tompa

Tibor: (32 points)

J
♣ J
AKJ

You: (36 points)
K
T
♣ K
TQ

Trump:
Stock: Exhausted
Game points: Tibor 2, You 4
On lead: You

If you’re trying to win the last trick, the policy is to lead your losers and save your winners to regain the lead. In this case, that means leading diamonds whenever you are on lead. If you start with a diamond, Tibor will win the trick, cash another diamond, and force you to trump with his last diamond. This will put you on lead from this position:

Tibor: (60 points)

J
♣ J

You: (42 points)
K
T
♣ —

You can cash your T but, whether you do or not, Tibor will trump your K to reach 66 trick points exactly.

This suggests that you can’t afford to let Tibor trump your K, so let’s try drawing his trump first. Having done that, you can cash your K, which leaves you on lead from this position:

Tibor: (32 points)

J
♣ —
AK

You: (48 points)

T
♣ —
TQ

Now, unfortunately, you have only one entry and two losers: you lead a diamond, Tibor leads a heart, you lead a diamond, and Tibor wins the last trick. By drawing Tibor’s trump, you gave up one of the entries to your hand.

Do you see any way to win this deal? I’ll give you a moment…

You have an elimination play at your disposal. Your goal is to endplay Tibor so that he is obliged to open up the diamond suit and you win T. Start by cashing T in order to remove one of Tibor’s exit cards. Then throw Tibor in by forcing him to trump K. This leaves Tibor on lead from this position:

Tibor: (38 points)


♣ —
AKJ

You: (48 points)


♣ K
TQ

Now he has nothing to lead but diamonds. He can cash A, but after that you will win both tricks and reach 68 trick points.

© 2019 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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