The June 2011 Issue LETTERS TO THE
I VERY much enjoyed the 75th I HAVE just spent five minutes I WAS fascinated by Simon EDITOR
Anniversary edition of English with the June issue, which Cochemé’s article ‘The Lan-
Bridge, and appreciate the arrived today. Nothing in it I’ll guage of Bridge IV’ (English
effort that went into it. It was go back to, so it’s ready for the Bridge, June 2011), in which he
eye-opening and occasionally recycling bin. discusses bridge terminology
surprising, and some modern- Can I have my money back? from times gone by. I was sur- Send your letters to the Editor,
Elena Jeronimidis, 23 Erleigh Road,
day observations were insight- Steven Gibbs, by e-mail prised, though, when Simon Reading RG1 5LR, or e-mail
ful. The one thing that might said that ‘A’ (‘West’ in modern firstname.lastname@example.org
have been missing was a good I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this terminology) was also known (please include your postal
historical perspective on that month’s magazine. as ‘Eldest Hand’.
The editor reserves the right to
year for bridge. It was barely Please do keep up the green As a child growing up in the
condense letters. Publication
ten years into Contract Bridge; ‘Did You know . . . ?’ boxes once late fifties, one of my most does not mean the EBU
it was largely played at home the celebrations have ended. trea s ured possessions was agrees with the views
as what we call ‘rubber’ bridge. Tim Greenhill, Billingshurst Hubert Phillips’s Book of Card expressed or that
the comments are factually
The big challenge of this new Games. Throughout the book correct.
variety of bridge was that A GREAT issue! My favourite the term ‘Eldest Hand’ was
games and slams had to be bid articles were those by Richard used in the description of a
as well as made. The great Fleet and Matt Betts. One small number of games including
minds of the day had to regret: Matt made no mention bridge. In each case I under- Oddity
grapple with methods of hand of the German long jumper stood it to be a generic term
evaluation combined with a Lutz Long’s advice to Jesse meaning, quite literally, the RECENTLY I played at the
bidding ‘system’ that would Owen to adjust his run up in hand that had been in exis- King’s Lynn Congress, using
enable a partnership to find the long jump quali fy ing. tence for longest – in other EBU dealt boards. In discus-
not only the best suit or no- Having had two foul jumps, words, the hand dealer dealt to sion over a beer with team-
trumps to play in, but also Owen did as Long suggested first. That would mean that in mates, we got to looking
make a good judgement as to and qualified for the final, bridge ‘Eldest Hand’ would carefully at the hand records.
whether a game or a slam which he won. (Hitler might always be the player sitting to There was comment about a
should be called. I think what not have appreciated Long’s dealer’s left. particular feature of the distri-
we see in the multitude of sportsmanship!) Keith Sheppard, butions. I have then kept an
bidding systems in use in 1936 Bob Rowlands, London Wokingham eye on the hand records for my
is different ideas still fighting club – Norfolk and Norwich –
it out for supremacy. But and seen a similar feature. I am
amongst those sys tems are no mathematician but from
surely all the essential ele - ‘feel’ the feature is odd and is
ments of modern bidding. way beyond what my unskilled
There are no-trump bids expectations would anticipate
show ing a range of point- – and I would like to have an
counts, forcing bids, doubles assurance from someone with
that are not intended for mathematical skills that what
penalty, an understanding of is occurring every time I exam-
the pre-emptive value of high ine the hand records is in fact
bids. within the boundaries of
So, in response to the senti- normal distributions.
ment expressed of ‘haven’t we So what is this oddity?
come a long way’, I would say Within five-card or longer
rather that they had come a suits, I find that there are four
long way. The pioneers we ‘consecutive’ cards of a five-
witness in 1936, doing things card block around 30-35% of
we might find even comical at READING the June edition of the magazine was of interest all five-card or longer suits.
times, were doing the hard to me, as my father is mentioned and he won the Gold Cup Just to clarify, (x-)x-6-5-3-2 or
work of finding out what in 1936; I can remember cleaning it! A-K-Q-J-x would count as
worked well and what didn’t I have a replica of the Gold Cup and a photo of the team four consecutive cards but
work so well. Their efforts (above) but only the names of Harry Ingram (my father, on 10-8-6-5-3 does not.
enabled others to refine their the far right) and Stan Hughes. Does someone know who the Can a mathematical expert
ideas into the robust and other two men are? Patricia Dry, Ferndown tell me that 30-35% is normal
effective bidding systems that The team was (from the left): Stan Hughes, Tommy Simmons, Herbert – or is there some oddity in
we take for granted today. We Newmark, and Harry Ingram. In 1936 they not only won the Gold Cup the dealing system that is in
owe them our gratitude. but were also selected en bloc for the European Championships. common use?
Mike Fisher, Woodbridge Roger Cortis, Norwich Ú
www.ebu.co.uk August 2011 English Bridge 31