Source: Wikipedia

he Crocodile Coup is a play in the game contract bridge. It is executed by the defense: specifically by the second hand to play to a trick. It is the play of a higher card than might seem necessary, to keep a run of honors from being blocked by a singleton honor being in the other hand with either no entry back to the remaining tricks, or having to return the lead to declarer who can promptly dispose of his losers.

In the following example, West executes the Crocodile Coup:

South in spade needs 4 tricks



10 7
A 9 4


A Q
Q J 8

7 3
K
6 3
9

9 4
K 10
  • If West plays theQ, East is forced to win theK. If East then returns a heart, South ruffs and West is squeezed in the minors. If East returns a club, South wins theK and plays the9; again, West is squeezed.
  • If West plays theA, executing the Crocodile Coup, West then cashes theQ and holds South to three tricks. West opens the jaws of theA Q to swallow up theK.

If the East-West hands were reversed, it would take no special acumen for East to overtake West’sK and cash theQ.