Goren bridge | Society

Vienna coup

East-West vulnerable, South deals

Some plays in bridge have been given exotic names. One of these is the Vienna Coup. Legend has it that it comes from “the greatest whist player in Vienna.” In reality, it is just a sexy name for a simple unblocking play.

South in today’s deal was Ginny Swift, of Gulfstream, Florida. She was playing in the World Mixed Pairs in Orlando this last October. She treated her excellent 17-point hand with a five-card suit as worth 18 points. Most experts would agree, but it landed her in a difficult contract.

She ducked the first two hearts before winning the third with her ace, discarding a spade from dummy. The king of diamonds held the next trick, but East captured the queen of diamonds with his ace and led a heart to West’s king, as dummy shed a club. West exited with the deceptive jack of clubs. Swift won with dummy’s king and made the essential play of leading a spade to her ace — the Vienna Coup. She ran the diamonds and West couldn’t defend the position. In the two-card ending, West couldn’t keep the king of spades and two clubs, so he had to give Swift a ninth trick.

Note the importance of cashing the ace of spades. Had Swift not cashed the ace, West would have defended the position because he discards after South. Should South bare the ace of spades, West could safely bare the king. The ace would drop the king, but there would be no entry to dummy’s queen. Nice play!

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 5:08:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/vienna-coup/article28583260.ece

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