Practically every bridge book devotes an entire chapter to the squeezes, end plays, and coups. Nirmal Kumar Jain, a good friend of mine and regular tournament player, executed the ‘Trump Coup', considered a ‘difficult' and ‘advanced' play, in a recent Bridge-Base-Online game. He is a slight over bidder but he makes up for it by playing the dummy extremely well.

Watch him in action below:

No adverse bidding. Contract: four hearts by south. West leads the club two, lowest from odd.

Play: East won the first trick with the jack, cashed the club ace, and played a third club. Declarer ruffed, crossed to dummy in diamond ace, and played a heart to his eight. When it won, he continued with the king. West followed with the seven and east won with the ace. He then shifted to a spade which declarer won with the ace in hand. Play proceeded…. Declarer played the diamond queen and a third diamond to dummy's king, west showing out on the third round.

The last four-card ending was:

Declarer called for the diamond jack from dummy next. East discarded a spade and south ruffed the winner diamond! Declarer led the spade queen from hand next, overtook it with the king, and played the last diamond to produce the trump coup!

The full deal is:


Trump coup is really a trump-reducing play. The idea - as in the above diagram - is to finesse against a missing trump honour, without the necessary trump in dummy.

Declarer had to play east for 3-4-3-3 distribution to execute the trump coup. He succeeded in his attempt when the actual distribution was exactly as he had hoped for.

While most declarers played for a 3-3 break in trumps and perished, Nirmal Kumar played for a 4-2 break, for he judged correctly west's heart seven to be a true card, and succeeded.

If east exits in a spade or diamond instead of the third club, declarer can still prevail. I leave that as an exercise for you.

Since declarer ruffed dummy's winner to reduce his surplus trumps to the same number of trumps as east, this trump reduction play became extra special, a ‘Grand Coup'. had to have at least three diamonds in hand for declarer to bring about the trump coup. Since declarer ruffed dummy's winner diamond to reduce his trumps, the play become extra special, a grand coup!



Bridge: A thriller all the wayJanuary 20, 2010