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Cards And Dominoes
Jo-jotte game

--- On This Page -- Trick-taking card games --

          
Jo-Jotte, Klaberjass, Quinto, Yukon, Pip-Pip!

This web page is the only one on the Internet devoted to the great card game called Jo-Jotte. Jo-Jotte is a highly sophisticated trick-taking game for two that will hold your interest long after you learn it. 

Jo-Jotte was invented in 1937 by
Ely Culbertson, the man who single-handedly popularized Contract Bridge in the late 1920’s and early 1930's. Jo-Jotte is based on Clobyosh, a popular game whose origin is claimed by many cultures. Varieties of Clobyosh are played world-wide under such names as Klaberjass, Kalabrias, Bela, and Darda. As Belote, it is the “national card game” of France.

Mr. Culbertson added a Bridge-like scoring system to Clobyosh and enhanced its rules. If you’re looking for a card game comparable in strategic scope to Bridge -- but for two players -- you’ve found it in Jo-Jotte.The game takes a bit of effort to learn but is well worth the time.

Goal of the Game--

To win a Hand by winning the most points in tricks. Note that tricks, in themselves, are worth nothing. Only specific cards captured in tricks score points.

To win a Game across hands, by being the first player to attain 80 points.

To win a Rubber across games, by being the first player to win two games.

To win the most Rubbers in a sitting, as may be previously agreed upon by the players.

The Deck--

Jo-Jotte is played with a standard 32-card deck (a 52-card pack with everything below 7's stripped out). The ranks of cards depends on the context in which they are used—

  high. . .                            . . . low

Trump suit in tricks

J

9

A

10

K

Q

8

7

Non-trump suit in tricks

A

10

K

Q

J

9

8

7

For honor melds

A

K

Q

J

10

9

8

7

One of the keys to learning Jo-Jotte is learning these (admittedly) unusual card rankings. You may want to print this page handy for quick reference. Or print the handy Scoring Summary chart.

The Deal--

The Dealer in the first hand is determined by a single cut of the deck, with the low card being the first Dealer.  Thereafter, the deal alternates between the two players.

Dealer deals 6 cards to each player (3 plus 3).The 13th card is turned face up and placed next to the remainder of the deck.

Bidding--

Bidding now commences. The player who "wins" the Bid dictates the trump suit. In return, he is bound to win the bid by scoring the most points in the hand (or else suffer a penalty).

Bidding proceeds as follows until a suit is nominated as trump:

(1)  Non-dealer may accept the suit of the turned-up card
     as the Trump.  Or, he may pass.

(2)  Dealer may accept the turned-up card as the Trump Suit.
     Or, he may pass.

(3)  Non-dealer may name any other suit as Trump.
     Or, he may name No-trump. Or, or he may pass.

(4)  Dealer may name any other suit as Trump.
     Or, he may name No-trump. Or, he may pass.

(5)  If no trump suit has been named, the deal is thrown
     in and the next deal goes to the non-dealer.

BOOK_jo_jotte

A bid to win at "No-trump" means that no suit will be a trump suit, and that the hand will be played without any trumps.

A trump suit once named may be overcalled subsequently by a bid of "No-trump" by the opposing player.

Any successful bid (called the contract) can be Doubled, and any Double may be Redoubled. These calls double or quadruple (respectively) the final score of the hand.

The Draw--

Once the trump suit (or no-trump) has been selected and doubled or passed, the Dealer deals three more cards to each player. Each player now has a hand of nine cards.

The Dealer then turns up the bottom card in the deck face-up and places it on top of the deck. This card is the Information Card-- like the card turned-up previously as a possible trump, this card takes no part in the play of the hand. These two face-up cards together provide both players with information as to what cards are not in either players' hand.

After the draw, the Defender (the person who did not win the bid), may-- declare his intention to bid Nullo, if desired.  He may then declare his Honor Meld, if any.   Or he may just pass.

The Declarer (the person who won the bid), may then-- bid a Slam, if desired, and declare his Honor Meld, if any.

A Nullo bid is a bid to not to win even a single trick, and it is always played at "No-trump," i.e., without any suit as Trump. A Slam is a bid to win every trick. Like the Nullo bid, it gives the declarer a special bonus if he succeeds, or a penalty if he fails. Should the Defender declare Nullo and the Declarer bid Slam, the Slam bid overrides the Nullo bid.

Nullo and Slam bids are not common, as they require unusual hands to be successful. But their existence in Jo-Jotte provides plenty of excitement when a player does make one of these special bids.

Whether or not a player makes either of these special bids, he may declare for Honor Melds, as described below.

Honor Melds--

Honor Melds are special combinations of cards that give points to the person who shows them to his opponent. Honor Melds are declared and scored after The Draw but prior to the play of the hand to tricks.

There are two classes of Honor Melds:

       Class A          Four of a Kind     Scores: 100 points

           (Card rank for Trump Contracts:  J,  9,  A, 10, K, Q)
           (Card Rank for No-Trump Contracts: A, 10, K,  Q, J)

       Class B          Sequences

             Run of three (in same suit)   20 points
             Run of four (in same suit)     40 points
             Run of five (in same suit)     50 points

             (Card rank for Sequences is: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7)

BOOK_jo_jotte_cover_blue

1st edition 1937

In a particular hand, only one player may score for Honor Meld(s) in each Class. The player who has the higher meld in that Class gets to score. For Class A melds, if both players claim this, the player who states the higher cards (as per the above rank) is the one who gets to score. For Sequences, the player who has the longer run gets to score. If both players have the same length of run, the player whose highest card is higher gets to score.   If two sequences are of equal length and both have the same high card, the trump sequence, if any, wins. To determine who gets to score for melds, the players interrogate each other concerning the details of their melds in the order described in this paragraph, until it is clear who wins the declaration in each Class.   The winner then must display the cards constituting the meld(s) to his opponent.

Although only one player gets to declare in each Class, he may display and score for more than one meld in that Class. For example, if a player has more than one Sequence he could display and score for both of them in the hand.

It is not required that players display and score their melds. Melding has the advantage of scoring points, but the disadvantage of providing information to the opponent. There may be times when a player decides he would rather not show cards to his opponent and therefore passes up the opportunity to score honors.

The Seven of Trumps (aka the "Dix")--

If the suit of the turn-up card was accepted as Trump by either player, the player who holds the 7 of trump in his hand has the option of exchanging it for the turn-up card. He may do this any time after The Draw but before the play of the hand to tricks. He can only do this if he has not used the 7 of trump in an Honors Meld declaration.

Since the 7 is the lowest trump, this rule allows the player holding this card to improve his hand by exchanging it for a known trump. Where the turn-up is a high-ranking trump (like the Jack or the 9), holding the dix can be significant.

The Play--

After melds have been declared (if any), and the special bids Nullo and Slam have been declared (or passed), trick play begins.

The Defender (the player who did not win the bid) leads a card to the first trick. The other player then plays a card. The winner of one trick always leads to the next.

The rules of following a card to a lead are as follows:

         *  The non-leader must follow suit, if possible
         *  If he cannot follow suit, he must trump, if able
         *  A trump lead must be won, if possible

The rules of winning a trick are as follows:

         *  For two non-trump cards, the higher card of the suit led wins
         *  For two trump cards, the higher trump wins
         *  For a non-trump card and a trump card, the trump card wins

See the section on "The Deck" above for the relative rankings of cards in trump and non-trump suits.

Scoring--

J
o-Jotte features a Bridge-like scoring system.

do_you_play_cards_dahling

“Do you play... Jo-Jotte?”

All points are recorded as scored either above the line or below the line.  Only points scored Below the Line count towards the Game Score.

Each player's points for Honor Melds (if any) are scored in his own column Above the Line.

After all nine tricks have been played, each player adds his Trick Score and Honor Meld Score together. The Trick Score and the Honor Meld in Score added together are referred to as the player's Total Score.

You determine the Trick Score from cards won tricks, according to their point value in the chart below.

If the Declarer has the higher Total Score, he scores his Trick Score Below the Line (towards the Game total), and the Defender writes his Trick Score Above the Line. If the Defender has the higher Total Score, he adds Declarer's Trick Score to his own, and scores the total Below the Line. Only one player will score points Below The Line after any given hand.

On any Doubled contract, the player with the higher Total Score receives the two players' combined Trick Score, at twice their regular value, Below the Line. On any contract that was Redoubled, this same procedure is followed, but the combined Trick Score is rated at four times its regular value.

Trick-Score Count--

Cards taken in tricks have these values--

 

         --Points--

Jack of trumps

               20

9 of trumps

               15

Any Ace

               10

Any 10

               10

Any King

                 5

Any Queen

                 5

Winning the last trick (except at Nullo)

               10

Jo-Jotte (see below)

               20

ace_ten02

...10 points each...

These values are doubled in the cased of a Doubled Contract, or quadrupled in the case of a Redoubled Contract.

Scoring for Jo-Jotte--

The scoring declaration called Jo-Jotte is the King and Queen of Trumps. It is scored as part of the Trick Score.  This only happens if--

         *  One player has both these cards
         *  There is a trump suit
         *  These two cards are both members of the trump suit
         *  The announcement of "Jo" - "Jotte" is properly made

The player who holds the King and Queen of trump must do the following to receive the 20 points for them. He must play the King before he plays the Queen. When playing the King, he must announce "Jo." When playing the Queen, he must say "Jotte." If these announcements are not made, no points are awarded. The player does not have to win the tricks to which these cards are made in order to score the 20 points.

The Role of Honor Melds in Scoring--

What role do Honors Melds play in scoring? First, when a player wins the right to display a meld to his opponent, the points for those meld(s) are immediately scored to him Above the Line. Regardless of who wins the hand, these points remain in his column Above the Line and cannot be lost.

Second, remember that a player's Total Score consists of his Trick Score added to any points he scored as a result of Honor Melds prior to trick play. So melds play a key role in determining who has the higher Total Score and thus who wins the hand.

Scoring for Nullo and Slam Bids--

Nullo and Slam are special bids with their own unique scoring. Nullo is a bid to lose every trick at no-trump. Slam is a bid to win every trick using a suit nominated by the Declarer. If both Nullo and Slam are bid, the Slam contract takes precedence.

Special scoring applies to the case of a Nullo contract. All cards used in play are counted at their no-trump value (and the 10 points otherwise awarded for winning the last trick is not counted). These points are then put in prison (typically designated by writing them on the scoring pad in a circle). Points put in prison are won by whomever wins the next hand. This player must score them Above the Line.

The exact same procedure is followed in the event of a tie Total Score when a regular bid is made. Points are put in prison and won by the winner of the next hand, who scores them Above the Line.

Bonus(es) are also scored as a result of a Nullo contract. If the Declarer is successful and manages to lose every trick, he scores a bonus of 200 points. This goes in his column Above the Line. If he is unsuccessful in his bid, his opponent scores 200 points Above the Line for the first trick he forces the Declarer to win, and a further Above the Line bonus of 100 points for each additional trick won by the Declarer.

When a player wins a Slam (all tricks) but has not bid it, he scores an extra 100 point bonus. When a player bids a Slam and wins all tricks, he scores a 500 point bonus. If a player bids a Slam and loses one trick (or more), he has lost his bid regardless of the actual Total Scores. In this case, the Defender scores the combined Trick Scores of both players Above The Line. The Defender can only score points Below the Line if he actually attained a higher Total Score than the Declarer (very rare when the Declarer has bid a Slam).

Bonus points for both unbid and bid Slams are scored Above the Line.

Scoring Game and Rubber--

The first player to achieve 80 points across hand(s) wins Game. The first player to win two Games wins the Rubber. The winner of the Rubber scores a 300 point bonus.

Players typically play until one of them wins some previously-agreed-upon number of Rubbers.

More Information--

In contrast to Mr. Culbertson's tremendous success in popularizing Contract Bridge, Jo-Jotte died stillborn.   The game is sophisticated and great fun, but its creator did not put the same effort into popularizing it as he did Contract Bridge.

Culbertson led a fascinating life, encompassing everything from participation in the Russian Revolution, to single-handedly popularizing Contract Bridge, to testifying before Congress with a world peace plan.
Read his biography here

We've only seen a summary of Jo-Jotte in one English-language card anthology. This forces you to go to the original source for further information--
Jo-Jotte by Ely Culbertson (Winston: Chicago, 1937). This 160-page book contains a general description of the game, chapters on strategy and special bids, a tutorial including sample hands, and the Official Rules to the game. You can often find an original copy very inexpensively at any used bookstore on the web.

BOOK_jo_jotte_fly_leaf_two_pages
klaberjass sequence meld
Klabberjass

A sequence meld
for 20 points

on this page--
Jo-Jotte, Klaberjass, Quinto, Yukon, Pip-Pip!

Klaberjass is a quicker, simpler ancestor to Jo-Jotte. These brief rules are for our own modified form of Klaberjass. They summarize its differences from the Jo-Jotte rules above.

Goal--

A game is 250 points across as many hands as it takes. There is no such thing as a rubber.

The deal and bidding is the same as in Jo-Jotte. However, you can not double or re-double bids. Nor are the special bids for Nullo or Slam allowed. Thus you can only bid in a suite or at No Trump.

Honor Melds--

As in Jo-Jotte, only one player scores in each Honor meld class.  However, that person may score for more than one meld in that class, if desired and if possible. Honor melds are simplified as follows--

                         Class A (Sets)                                                    Class B  (Sequences)

Three of a Kind

20 points

Four of a Kind

50 points

Run of three (in same suit)

20 points

Run of four (in same suit)

50 points

Run of five (in same suit)

70 points

Run of six (in same suit)

100 points

For sets, the 3 or 4 of a kind must be face cards--  A, K, Q, or J.  You can not score for 3 or 4 of a kind with 10’s, 9’s, 8’s, or 7’s.  The card rank for sequences is: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7.

Scoring--

There is only one score for each player in each hand -- there is no above-the-line or below-the-line scoring.  Instead, points for cards won in tricks and honor melds are simply added together. If the bid winner scores more total points than his opponent, both players score their points towards the 250 needed to win the Game.   If the bid winner scores less than or equal to the points of his opponent for the hand, then the bid winner scores 0 for the hand, and his opponent scores all points won both by himself and the bid winner.

Enhanced Rules--  

Here’s what we’ve changed in our version of Klaberjass versus what you might see elsewhere. We’ve simplified bidding by eliminating the schmeiss.  A game is 250 points instead of 500. Points for melds vary somewhat in different versions of the game. We keep the 20 points for the Jo-Jotte (or Bella). We retain Jo-Jotte’s rule that you can exchange the Dix at any time before playing to the first trick, instead of requiring this be done prior to melding.  You might also see other minor differences with other rule books since this game is played in so many different cultures under various names.

Quinto
card-lineup

on this page--
Jo-Jotte, Klaberjass, Quinto, Yukon, Pip-Pip!

Quinto was invented by Angelo John Lewis (aka Professor Hoffmann, 1839-1919) around 1900. It appears in the English book The Complete Hoyle’s Games and a few other card game compilations. We believe this is the only rules description for the game on the web. (This game should not be confused with the board/card game invented a few years ago also named Quinto, the rules for which can be found here.)

Quinto deserves to be much better known. It’s a traditional trick-taking game... but with some unique concepts. Quick to learn, its surprising twists provide solid entertainment.

The Basics--

Quinto is for four players in two partnerships. Use a 52-card deck plus one Joker. Cards rank Ace down to 2.

Suits rank:  Hearts -> Diamonds -> Clubs -> Spades.

Deal 12 cards to each player.  The remaining 5 cards are left face-down as the cachette. The winner of the last trick takes the cachette as an extra trick.

Play--

After players examine their cards, beginning with the eldest, each may elect to double the value of the tricks for the hand. Their opponents may elect to re-double (quadrupling the value of tricks for the hand). A player may not redouble his partner’s double.

Eldest leads any card to the first trick. Opponents must follow suit if able, else they may play any card. The trick is won by the highest card played. Winner of a trick leads to the next.

The rank of the suits (Hearts -> Diamonds -> Clubs -> Spades) indicates their power as trumps when played out of suit. Thus, if a trick consists of all diamonds and I play any Heart, I win the trick with my Heart trump. Or, if the lead to the trick is a Club, and I play a Diamond, then you play a Heart, you win the trick with your highest-trump Heart.  If any trumps are played to a trick, the trick is won by the highest card played according to the trump suit ranking.

The Joker is unique. It has no trick-taking value and can be played by its holder at any time (regardless of the normal rules of following suit). If the Joker leads a trick, others may play any card they like, since the Joker has no suit and no trick-taking power. In this case the trick is won by the highest card of the highest suit played.

Scoring--

Each trick scores 5 points for the partnership that wins it. (This is 10 points if the scoring was doubled, and 20 if it was redoubled).

The Joker scores 25 points to the side that takes it in a trick.

Beyond this, five point card combinations called quints score points as follows:

Card Combination

Hearts

Diamonds

Clubs

Spades

5

20 points

15 points

10 points

5 points

Ace and 4

20 points

15 points

10 points

5 points

2 and 3

20 points

15 points

10 points

5 points

Angelo John Lewis,
aka Professor Hoffmann

professor_hoffmann

So, if your partnership takes a trick containing both the Ace and 4 of Hearts, you win 20 points. Taking the 2 and 3 of Diamonds in one trick yields 15 points.

You must take both cards of the same suit in a single trick to score.  5’s and the Joker can be taken in any trick for scoring, since they stand alone as point cards.

The first partnership to pass 250 points across hands wins the game. A rubber is best of three games. The winner of the rubber gets a 100 point bonus.

Quinto for Three--

Quinto is a great three-player game. Dealer gets two hands, his own and a dummy hand. He then plays against the other two players who are in partnership. 

The dealer only looks at one of his hands when deciding whether to double or redouble.

Before playing tricks, the dummy hand is exposed face-up on the table. The dealer plays both his own hand and the dummy hand. 

Since the dealer has an advantage, the opposing partnership gets an extra 25 points when the final score is totaled. Rotate the dealership so each player gets to play alone.

yukon
Yukon

on this page--
Jo-Jotte, Klaberjass, Quinto, Yukon, Pip-Pip!

Here’s another great trick-taking game that is published nowhere else on the web. (Do not confuse it with the solitaire called Yukon.) Yukon was played during the Klondike gold rush of 1898. It’s for two to five players, and it works best for four playing as two partnerships.   

Cards and Deal --

Use a standard 52-card pack. Remove one 2 if three play, or two 2’s if five play. Deal 5 cards to each player. Set the remainder face-down as the draw pile.

The four Jacks are called Yukons and are the highest ranking cards.  The spade Jack ranks highest of all and is called the Grand Yukon. Cards rank:  J - A - K - Q - 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2.

Play --

Eldest leads the first trick. Others must follow suit if possible. If they cannot follow suit, they must play a Yukon if they have one. Otherwise they may play any card.

For example, if the lead is an Ace of hearts, everyone must play a heart if they have it. (For this purpose, the Jack of hearts is not considered an eligible heart, it is considered a Yukon.) If someone does not have a heart to play, then they must play a Yukon if they have one. If they have neither heart nor Yukon, they may play any card.

In the event that a player leads a Yukon, everyone must follow to the suit of the Yukon. If they can not, they must play a Yukon if they have one. Otherwise they may play any card.

For example, if the lead is the Jack of clubs (a Yukon), the other players must play a club if they have one.  If they have no club, they must a play a Yukon. And if they have neither club nor a Yukon, they may then play any card.

A trick is won by the Grand Yukon if it is played. Otherwise a trick is won by any Yukon played (if two or more are played to the same trick, the first Yukon played wins the trick). If no Yukons are played, the highest card of the suit led wins the trick.

The winner of the trick now draws one card from the stock, followed by other players. He then leads the next trick.

When the draw pile is empty, players continue until all cards have been played. The first player or partnership to score 250 points or more as determined at the conclusion of a hand wins, as per this scoring chart--

--Card--

--Points--

 

 

Grand Yukon (Jack of spades)

     15

Yukons (other Jacks)

     10

Aces

     5

Kings

     3

Queens

     2

Tens

     10

all other cards

       0

How Do You Play It?

The above rules are based on the first card game book to contain Yukon rules, 50 Card Games for Children (original copyright 1933 by Vernon Quinn, and subsequently reprinted several times starting in 1946).  The only other book containing Yukon rules that I’ve ever found is Oxford A-Z of Card Games by David Parlett.

If there are any Yukon players out there, I have a question -- would it make sense that, if a diamond were led, one could only play the diamond Yukon if one has no other diamond in hand? Or, is a diamond Yukon playable to a diamond lead regardless of whether one has other diamonds in hand? If you play Yukon and could clarify this by emailing me at webmasterA at the domain of CardsAndDominoes.com, I would appreciate your help. 

I recommend changing the above rules with one we’ve found useful -- no one can lead a trick with a Yukon.  Otherwise, it is too easy to win tricks merely by leading a Yukon, since the only card that can beat a Yukon lead is the Grand Yukon (Jack of spaces). It makes for a more interesting game if Yukon leads are forbidden.

Similar Games--

Learn more about the history of Yukon and similar games at the highly recommended U.K. card games site.

miners_playing_cards

Yukon, anyone?

Pip-pip

on this page--
Jo-Jotte, Klaberjass, Quinto, Yukon, Pip-Pip!

Here’s a fast, simple trick-taking game that’s great for mixed groups of from 3 to 12. Best for 5 to 8 players. 

Cards and Deal --

Use two standard 52-card packs shuffled together. Draw to see who will be Dealer. High card is Dealer. It is also the initial Trump Suit for the hand. Dealer deals 7 cards to each player face-down. The remaining cards become the drawing stock.

The cards rank --  2- A - K - Q - J - 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3. So rank is as per typical -- except that the 2 is the highest card.

Goal --

The goal is to win the hand and the game by winning the most card points in tricks. Card points are as follows --

         2  --  11 points each
         A  --  10 points each
         K  --  5 points each
         Q  --  4 points each
         J  --   3 points each
         Other cards -- 0 points each
         A Pip-Pip! -- 50 points each (explained below)

Play --

Eldest leads the first trick. Others must follow suit if possible. If they cannot follow suit, they can either play a trump card or a discard. The trick is won by the highest trump played (if any), otherwise it is won by the highest card of the suit led.

If two identical highest cards are played, the second one played to the trick wins it.

After playing a card to a trick, each player draws a replacement card from the stock. The winner of one trick leads to the next.

Trick play continues until there are not enough cards left in the stock for each player to draw one. At that point, the final cards in the stock are turned face-up, and players play the remaining 7 cards from their hands to tricks. Then the hand ends.

Pip-Pip! --

What makes this game unique is that players can change the Trump Suit during play. The way this occurs is -- when a player acquires in hand a King and Queen of the same suit, he can call “Pip-Pip!” and place these two cards before him face-up. This changes the Trump Suit for the hand to that suit immediately upon the lead to the next trick. 

The player immediately scores 50 points for any Pip-Pip!. Pip-Pip! can only be declared if the suit of the King-Queen combination differs from that of the current trump suit.

If two or more players declare PIp-Pip prior to the next trick, each scores 50 points for his declaration. The trump suit is changed to the last one called.

Calling PIp-PIp! is optional. So a player might acquire a King-Queen pair and declare Pip-Pip! immediately, or he might wait to declare it at a more advantageous time (in order to win more tricks based on that trump suit). The 50 points is only awarded for Pip-Pip’s that are declared.

Cards laid on the table for Pip-Pip! are played to tricks just as if they resided in the player’s hand. A King or Queen can only be used in a single Pip-Pip! declaration (a card can not be reused for another Pip-Pip!). A player may call Pip-Pip! twice in the same suit if he has both Kings and Queens of that suit. A player may also call Pip-Pip! before the first trick in the hand should he be dealt appropriate cards. In this case the trump suit changes prior to playing the first trick of the hand.

Game --

The Game ends when each player has dealt an equal number of times.

More Information --

Pip-Pip! is described by George F. Hervey in his card compendium published by Hamlyn in the UK, as well as by the prolific author of card expertise, Hubert Phillips (1894-1961).  I’m unaware of any other published descriptions. Note that Hervey says for multiple Pip-Pip! declarations, the first suit called takes effect, whereas Phillips says the last one called supercedes the other(s).
 

londoners_in_blitz

I’ve been told that Londoners played Pip-Pip! during the 1940-1941 Blitz. True?

This photo shows Londoners waiting out a raid in a tube station.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

phillips_book_card_games
phillips_book_back_cover02

Covers of books by Hubert Phillips

hervey_book

Card Games Book by George F. Hervey

phillips_book_hoyle

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