Definition: The deliberate sacrifice of an honor with the object of knocking out an entry

Reproduced from The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge

This coup was named after the Merrimac, an American coal-carrying ship sunk in 1898 in Santiago Harbor in an attempt to bottle up the Spanish fleet.  Here is an example:

Dlr: South
Vul: All

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

South is the declarer at a contract of three notrump.  West leads the jack of spades which East wins with the ace. 

East at this point sees that the diamond ace is dummy's only entry to the clubs after the ace has been knocked out. 

In order to destroy this entry, he leads his diamond king, sacrificing a sure trick, but ensuring the defeat of the contract.  South gets an extra diamond trick but can take only 2 club tricks.

For another example, try this site

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