Source: Malta 1999: 44th Generali European Championships  (Bulletin 15)

Sunday was a bad day for the Hungarians, for they scored only 1 VP in their matches against Ireland and Great Britain. However, Miklos Dumbovich, 30-year old electrical engineer from Budapest, salvaged some honour for his team by making a play which must surely put him in line for the BOLS Brilliancy Prize.

This was board 26 from the match against Great Britain:

Dealer East All Vul

A 10 6 4
Q J 3
K Q 9 8 2
Q 8 5
K 9 4
8 3 2
A 7 5 4
J 7
8 7 6 4
A Q J 10 9
10 3
K 9 3 2
A 10 2
K 7 5 4
J 6
West North East South
Rodrigue Lincmayer Priday Dumbovich
Pass Pass
Pass 1 1 1
2 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 End

In the Open Room the British declarer had played in the same contract and lost the four obvious tricks, one in each suit. British supporters were not to worried.They expected a stand-off or, at worst, a small part-score for the Hungarians. Dumbovich, however, had other ideas.

First he made sure that his partnership reached 4. His bid of 3was a game try, which Lajos Linczmayer was only too happy to accept. West led 8, and East won the ace, switching to 7. The king won and West cashed A before exiting with a heart, taken in dummy.

Dumbovich played off K Q, East discarding 8 on the second while declarer threw A. Dumbovich ruffed a heart, cashed K, ruffed a diamond and ruffed a club, arriving at this classic Devil’s Coup position:

A 10 6

Q 8 5

J 7

K 9


Dumbovich led a diamond from hand and the defenders conceded gracefully.

Dumbovich, I understand, is renowned for his poker face. Not even a flicker of pleasure creased his lips after executing this fine play. If he wins the BOLS Brilliancy Prize, however he might well hasten to buy  East a large Tokay. For if East had made what his impertinent younger team mates call the “standard defence against the Devil’s Coup” by discarding diamonds in  the third and fourth rounds of clubs, not even Dumbovich could have prevailed.