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2011 Mystery Bridge Hand Sweepstakes Winner AnnouncedCongratulations to Jason Miller of Tampa FL who is the winner of the American Contract Bridge League’s “Mystery Bridge Hand Sweepstakes” random drawing. He won a $500 Visa Gift Card. The random drawing was conducted at the 2011 Youth North American Bridge Championship in Toronto, Ontario. Jason’s entry was just one of many correct entries received which were eligible for participation in the drawing.

The “Mystery Bridge Hand” that was used in the 2011 Youth NABC logo was the Duke of Cumberland Hand – a famous hand dating from the days of whist:

 Partner of the Duke 
  J 10 9 8 7 6 
  10 9 8 7 6 
  Q J 
  
West Opponent East Opponent
Defender Dealer
  5 4 3 2
  5 4 3 2
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 
A Q 10 8  6 5 4 3 2
 The Duke of Cumberland 
  A K Q 
  A K Q J  
  A K 
  K J 9 7 

The Duke of Cumberland, son of George III, King of England, was an inveterate gambler for high stakes. One day, at the notorious gaming rooms in Bath it is said that he was dealt the following hand:

      A K Q     A K Q J     A K     K J 9 7

The game being whist, the last card, a club, was turned to set the trump suit. The Duke, sitting at dealer’s left, had the opening lead. In accordance with sound whist precepts, he opened the 7. Obviously it was to his interest to know out all the opponents’ trumps as quickly as possible to avoid ruffing any of his solid top cards.

The Duke’s opponents proceeded to assert that he would not win a single trick, and to infuriate him into a bet. The complete deal was:

 Partner of the Duke 
  J 10 9 8 7 6 
  10 9 8 7 6 
  Q J 
  
West Opponent East Opponent
Defender Dealer
  5 4 3 2
  5 4 3 2
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 
A Q 10 8  6 5 4 3 2
 The Duke of Cumberland 
  A K Q 
  A K Q J  
  A K 
  K J 9 7 

West won the 7 with the 8, and led a diamond which was trumped by his partner. East returned a club, the Duke’s 9 being taken by the 10, and a second diamond was trumped by East. East led his last trump into his partner’s tenace over the Duke, and West won and led the final trump from his hand, felling the Duke’s king. West’s seven established diamonds won the last seven tricks.

This display of virtuosity by East-West allegedly cost the Duke the sum of 20,000 pounds or $100,000.

Such is the story of the Duke of Cumberland’s Hand as related by Professor Richard A. Proctor in How to Play Whist (1885). One wonders why the Duke, an experienced whist player, did not speculate on how his opponents could foretell the outcome. (Remember that no hand is exposed in whist.) A more plausible version of this legendary episode suggests that the South hand was given to the Duke, who knew that it was manufactured and ventured to bet in the face of that knowledge.

The hand was also used in the James Bond movie, “Moonraker”.

Source: The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge Fifth Edition; Henry Francis, Alan Truscott, Dorothy Francis, editors; American Contract Bridge League, © 1994, pp. 120

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