DEVIL'S COUP

Definition: A disappearing trump trick!

Reproduced from The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge

The defenders' seemingly certain trump trick vanishes owing to a certain lie of the cards.  Here is an example:

Dlr: South
Vul: All


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

Declarer reaches an optimistic 6H contract, apparently off a spade and a trump trick.   West plays two rounds of spades, South ruffing the second.  He plays three rounds of clubs ending in dummy and ruffs another spade.  Ace, king and a small diamond ruffed in dummy is followed by a ruff of dummy's last spade, arriving at the following end position:




North
s ---
h K 10
d ---
c 8
West
s ---
h Q 6 5
d ---
c ---
East
s ---
h J 8
d Q
c ---
South
s ---
h A 9
d 5
c ---

South leads his diamond and East-West are helpless to prevent him from taking the remainder of the tricks.  If West trumps low, dummy overtrumps and declarer makes the last two tricks with high trumps.  If West ruffs with the queen, South overruffs with the king and East's jack is finessed on the return.

The Devil's Coup is very similar to the so called "smother play."

For a nice vugraph example, try this site.  It may take a few minutes to download, but is well worth it.

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