THE DUKE OF CUMBERLAND HAND

BATH, 1800s

'The following remarkable hand of cards was dealt to the Duke of Cumberland as he was playing at whist at the rooms at Bath, by which he lost a wager of £20,000, not winning one trick,' says Richard Proctor in his hook How to Play Whist (1885). The deal has passed from whist history into bridge folklore, and a similar coup appeared in Ian Fleming's fiction (see page 114). The Duke of Cumberland in question was probably the son of King George III.

 

 

ª

 

 

 

 

 

©

 

 

 

 

 

¨

 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

 

 

 

 

§

 A Q 10 8

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

ª

A K Q

 

 

ª

J 10 9 8 7 6

©

A K Q J

 

W                          E

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10 9 8 7 6

¨

A K

 

 

¨

Q J

§

K J 9 7

 

 

§

 

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

ª

5 4 3 2

 

 

 

 

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5 4 3 2

 

 

 

 

¨

 

 

 

 

 

§

6 5 4 3 2

 

 

 

Clubs were trumps and the Duke of Cumberland (West) led a small trump. `Ninety-nine players out of a hundred would lead trumps,' says Proctor. `And in my opinion the hundredth would lead wrongly.'

The lead of §7 was covered by §8, which won the trick. A diamond was ruffed, a second club finessed and another diamond ruffed to return to the hand. A third club was finessed and then. North's §A could drop the Duke's last club. The last seven diamonds were good, making thirteen tricks.

The hand is worthy of a place in the archives of gambling coups. The Duke of Cumberland probably knew that the hand was staged but still thought he could win a trick.

 (for those who are not sure. A major Suit lead would of course reduce dummy’s trump holding and then the contract would go off !!)

 

 

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