The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LXI: A Devil of a Coup
By Ray Adams
All bridge buffs are fascinated by the Devil’s Coup, a play in which a “certain” trump loser disappears. When players see this coup executed, it is almost like watching a magic trick. Porczouk Nograwowicz of Team Porcupine was recently called upon to use this technique to make an “impossible” contract.
Kowalski may have been a little aggressive after an off shape double, but – as usual – he had the utmost confidence in his partner’s play of the hand. West cashed the ace and king of clubs and continued a club, as declarer tossed a diamond on dummy’s jack. Nograwowicz came to hand with the king of hearts and advanced the queen of spades. West played low and this took the trick, East contributing the nine. Next came a spade to the ten as East threw a heart. Things now looked bleak for South, as it appeared as though he had a diamond and a trump loser to go with the two clubs he had already lost.
Nograwowicz had a wild look in his eye, though, and refused to give up. He cashed the ace of hearts and ruffed a heart. Next came the ace and king of diamonds and a small diamond. East won his queen as West discarded his last club. East now had to lead either a club or a heart and it mattered not which suit he chose.
Declarer would ruff either suit with the jack and West was faced with a terrible choice. If West overruffed with the king, this would be overruffed in dummy with the ace. The eight of spades would then take West’s last trump, the four. And if West did not overruff, the jack would win and the ace of spades would take the last trick. Either way, Nograwowicz’s Devil Coup had brought home the contract.
The other declarer was not as skillful as Nograwowicz and was in 3♠, making only three. This was a nice seven imp pickup for Team Porcupine and helped them win a close match.