Contract bridge diagram

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A convention has been developed to illustrate hands in contract bridge. The cards are shown with each line representing a suit. If the suit is not explicitly indicated by a prefix consisting of the symbol describing the suit (♠, , , or ♣) (also abbreviated 'S', 'H', 'D' or 'C' respectively), the order is, from top to bottom, as follows: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Each card in a suit is indicated by its abbreviation:

Spacing is used for readability only (thus A K J is equivalent to AKJ).

It is conventional always to put cards of higher rank to the left of those of lower rank, as in the list above. When one hand is void (i.e. has no cards) in a suit, it is usually denoted by a dash (-) to ensure there is no mistake made. Sometimes smaller cards whose exact value is unimportant are marked with an "x", thus: "A, K, J, 9, x" in a suit.

The diagram is usually drawn with North at the top, with the other hands following their normal geographic orientation. One or more hands can be left out if irrelevant for presentation. For the reader's convenience, in most diagrams South is declarer, so that the reader can see the hand as if (s)he is playing it; exceptions to this rule can occur when reporting deals from actual matches, but even then the players' seats are often rotated to follow this convention.

The following is an example of a bridge diagram:

N

W         E

S

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