Source: “Play Bridge with the Aces” by Ira Corn

The Merrimac Coup is a fascinating play that involves the deliberate sacrifice of a high card with the object of knocking out a vital entry in an opponent’s hand.

Today’s hand is an example of the Deschapelles Coup. It is similar to the Merrimac Coup in that a deliberate sacrifice of a high card is made. However, its object is to establish an entry to partner’s hand.

Dealer North, all Vul

7 6 2
A 3
A J 2
A J 10 8 4
Q 10 9 8 4 3
Q 7 6 5
7 6
2
K 5
K 8 4 2
8 5 4 3
K Q 6
A J
J 10 9
K Q 10 9
9 7 5 3
West North East South
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 2NT
Pass 3NT Pass Pass
Pass

Opening Lead 10

West led the 10, East played the K and South ducked, hoping to sever communication in the spade suit. South succeeded in isolating West’s spade suit, but his problems were far from over.

Declarer could count two major suit aces, and four daimond tricks. He needed three club tricks to make his contract. He planned on two finesses into the East hand, hoping to keep West from gaining the lead.

At trick three, declarer finessed a club into the East hand. East won his queen and made the only play to defeat the hand. The K! Deschapelles Coup.

Declarer could win or refuse the trick to no avail. If declarer ducked, East would continue and then, when on lead with the K, would lead another heart to West’s queen. An entry was created to the established spade suit.

Like the Merrimac Coup, the Deschapelles Coup is an unusual and exciting play. Sometimes even amusing. Especially when declarer turn up with the missing honors.