BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
Allow me to present the Case of the Disappearing Trump Trick - part two. Even rarer than the Smother Play, recently covered, is the Devil's Coup. Again, the defenders' seemingly sure trump trick vanishes, courtesy of the lie of the cards. Taking a brief straw poll among my cronies, I failed to find even one who had brought off this coup at the table.

Some optimistic bidding by North and South sees South end as declarer in Six Hearts. West leads a top spade, and at first sight it seems that the defence must come to a trump trick in the fullness of time. However...

South ruffs the spade continuation, and appreciating that in order to have any chance, three rounds of clubs must stand up, proceeds to cash them, ending in dummy. That passes off peacefully, so now another spade is ruffed in hand. Ace, king and a diamond ruff allows dummy's last spade to be ruffed, East and West following.

This is the three-card ending: South: 9A9, 36. West: 9Q65. North: 9K10, 28. East: 9J8, 3Q.

Now for the coup. South plays his last diamond - and he cannot be stopped from taking the rest of the tricks. If West ruffs low, dummy overruffs, and the king and ace of trumps provide the 11th and 12th tricks. And if West trumps with the queen, dummy covers with the king, then finesses East for the jack on the way back.

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