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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

I received a request to run the column about this famous deal again, so here it is. Imagine you are sitting East with the massive hand below. South deals and opens three spades. The bidding continues as below:

What are you thinking at this point? Maybe you think the opponents are out of their minds and you are looking forward to gaining a huge number of points. What you should be thinking is that someone fixed the cards, for you have been dealt a hand famous from the days of whist, 200 years ago. It cost the Duke of Cumberland 20,000 British pounds—a large fortune 200 years ago. The Duke’s opponents at whist wagered that, with the East hand above (or a slight variation of it—sources differ) and clubs as trumps, the Duke would not take a single trick. Unwisely, he took the wager. Declarer can always take thirteen tricks, no matter how the defence plays. This was the full deal:

Say West leads a diamond or a heart and declarer trumps. Declarer then ruffs a spade in dummy and returns a club finessing East. Next comes another spade ruff and another club finesse. A third spade ruff in dummy sets up declarer’s spades. He returns to hand by ruffing a heart or diamond and pulls the last trump with his ace. His hand is now good. Another routine six point redoubled grand slam!
I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do contact me at [email protected] Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site

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Bridge in Paradise