Sunday, October 16, 2011

Photo of a man who looks far too serious about his bridge

Milton Cooper Work appears deep in thought as he evaluates his bridge hand in this dust jacket photo from "Bridge Pointers and Tests," his 1927 treatise on the card game.1

Just below Work's picture, the dust jacket has been stamped in red with the following message:

Superceded by
Milton C. Works'
Just Issued
Contract Bridge
For All

243 pages Price $2.00

The inside flap of the dust jacket describes "Bridge Pointers and Tests" thusly: "A novel addition to Bridge literature. It you have hesitated about pouring over detailed explanations of methods of bidding and play and prefer to have a quick shower of terse, illuminating Bridge ideas, you will get what you want in this new book."

Work (1864-1934) was also considered an expert on whist. And he was a cricket player and manager.

The bridge glossary at the back of Work's book includes one term that caught my eye. A "Yarborough" is a hand that contains no card higher than a nine.

It turns out that Charles Anderson Worsley Anderson-Pelham, 2nd Earl of Yarborough, gave his name to the Yarborough. The probability of getting a Yarborough is about 1 in 1,828. The Earl offered 1,000 pounds to anyone who was dealt a Yarborough, but only on the condition that they pay him 1 pound every time they failed to draw such a hand.

1. Here's another Papergreat post about very serious bridge players.

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