DESCHAPPELLES COUP

Definition: The lead of an unsupported high honor in order to establish an entry to partner's hand

Venue: 4th Generali Masters 1998

Poland's Apolinary Kowalski provided this tale of an imaginative switch by France's Claude Delmouly in the second session of the Men's event, but it was Norway's Geir Helgemo at another table who found the most accurate defense.

Dlr: East
Vul: EW
Scr: Pairs

North
s J 6
h.gif A J 10 8 3
d Q 6 2
c K J 8
West
s 5 4 3 2
h.gif Q 5
d J
c 10 9 7 5 3 2
East
s K Q 10 8 7
h.gif K 9 6 2
d K 9 7
c A
South
s A 9
h.gif 7 4
d A 10 8 5 4 3
c Q 6 4

Luis Lantaron (Spain) led a spade against Kowalski's 4D.   Declarer won and returned a spade to East. Delmouly found the good switch to the heart king. Declarer won this and also did well by leading the diamond queen, covered by the king and ace. When the jack fell from West, Kowalski tried to get back to dummy by playing a club. Delmouly won, put his partner in with the heart queen and received a club ruff to defeat the partscore.

Note that it does no good for declarer to duck the heart king when it is led. East will cash the club ace and play a second heart. Declarer wins and plays trumps: queen, king, ace, jack, but now he cannot get back to dummy. However, as Kowalski spotted, he did have a chance to make.   After winning the ace of trumps he must play a heart. West wins and plays a club, but now East is end-played into conceding an entry for the trump finesse.

This reveals a flaw in Delmouly's defense. He should have cashed the club ace before making the switch to the heart king - then declarer cannot succeed. And that is exactly how Helgemo defended against America's Dick Freeman after the same start. Freeman won the heart switch, began trumps by playing the diamond queen, king, ace, jack, but when he tried to get back to dummy with a club, Helgemo ruffed, put his partner in with the heart queen and received a second ruff. Two off!

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