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56 English Bridge February 2018


I am a member of Halifax Bridge

club and was dealt a hand where

the highest card was an 8. We

have all heard of the Yarborough,

but it there a name for an 8-high

hand, and just how rare is this?

David Waithman

An eight-high hand is, as far as

I know, the only term for it -

prosaic but descriptive, and works

for even smaller numbers!

According to my calculations the

chances of one being dealt is about

16,960 to 1. Since the chances of a

Yarborough are about 1,827 to 1,

this makes it nearly ten times less

likely. Incidentally, so that you are

prepared for when you get an even

worse hand, a seven-high hand is

about 254,398 to 1, a six-high

hand about 8,191,610 to 1 and a

five-high hand is 1,133,952,785 to

1. Of course a four-high hand is


Gordon Rainsford, EBU CEO


Some while ago I asked the EBU

what, if anything, they were

doing to make it possible for

unsighted people to play bridge.

I was told that they were working

on it and wondered if there was

an update. Peter Finbow

There are a number of things

that can be done, depending on

the nature of the player's visual

impairment. Most commonly in

our EBU events, we ensure that

the player has a stationary

position in a well-lit area. This

can be sufficient for those with

impairments that are not too

severe, such as many people

experience when older.

At the other end of the

spectrum, those who read Braille

(usually those who have been

blind for most of their lives) can

play with Braille cards. In order to

play in a duplicate with pre-dealt

boards, I wrote an Excel program

a couple of years ago for someone

who is blind who wanted to play

in our sims pairs. The way it

works (as requested by him) is

that it converts a dlm file into a

text file that reads off the North

hands in the manner specified by

him. He then uses software to read

it to him and he makes up the

North hands himself, using Braille

cards, in advance of the event.

There's no reason why this

shouldn't work for ordinary club

games as long as they make up

hands well in advance, or at least

create the files, and as long as the

player or club has enough packs of

cards. If this would be of interest,

I'd be happy to send it to you.

In between these two cases, the

one with which I am most

familiar involves a former partner

of mine, John Probst, who was left

with very limited sight after a

stroke. Nevertheless, playing

bridge became his main interest

and a huge motivational factor in

his partial recovery. He could 'see'

the cards if he looked at them one

at a time very close up. He then

had the considerable challenge of

remembering them in order to

'see' the hand as a whole.

What we needed to do to help

him was to announce all our calls

as we made them at the table, and

to announce our cards as we

played them, with dummy calling

out dummy's cards when the

opening lead had been made. It's a

good idea for this to take place a

bit away from the other tables if

possible, to limit the amount of

information passed by this

process. The other thing that is

necessary is for the other players to

be willing to ignore any

infractions that seem to be due to

sight problems rather than any

other cause. We have EBU

regulations about accommodating

disabled players, and I think they

can be used to justify any

allowances of this nature.

Gordon Rainsford, EBU CEO


I refer to the letter from Dick

Heasman in the December

magazine. Does he not realise

that there are at least three

distinct categories of bridge

player: first the social players

who are quite happy playing

Chicago, and the lucky one wins;

next the experts, or those with

ambitions, who think that teams

or cross-imps play is the only

game worth playing; last the

much derided club player (the

majority I would suggest) who

enjoys playing match point pairs.

The crucial difference is that the

objective is to make the best

score you can on every board.

Rather than only games and

slams being important every

contract, no matter how lowly -

even 1® - if played and defended

accurately, has an equal

contribution to the final score.

Overtricks are crucial - as is the

optimum contract.

Send your, Lou Hobhouse

Raggett House, Bowdens, TA10 0DD, or e-mail

The editor reserves the right to condense letters. Publication does not mean the

EBU agrees with the views expressed or that the comments are factually correct.




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