THE "CROCODILE Coup" occurs when a defender wins a trick with an unnecessarily high card (opening his jaws like a crocodile) to prevent his partner being left on lead. An accurate enough description, but how would you term West's activities on this deal? An "anti-alligator coup" is the best that I can come up with.

South opened One Spade and West overcalled with Two Spades, a Michaels Cue-Bid, suggesting length in hearts and a minor suit in a poor hand. North, feeling too good for a direct raise in spades and unsure which minor West held, tried Three Hearts; at least this could not be taken as a suit! An exchange of cue-bids followed (24-#4; !4-25) and then South jumped to Six Spades to end the auction. West led 2Q against the slam, and the exact duplication of distribution, plus the near-certainty that the heart finesse was wrong, was bad news for declarer. He won the lead, drew trumps, and eliminated both minor suits.

It seemed certain that West had started with a 1-5-2-5 distribution and declarer had the bright idea of playing the ace and another heart!

West nodded knowingly - what else would declarer have played if his hearts had been Axx? If West tried to win cheaply, his partner would have to overtake with his now bare queen, concede a ruff and discard. So West went in with his king and was irritated when South was now able to claim.

You may think West unlucky, but he lacked faith in his partner. With !Qx, East would surely have dropped his queen under the ace, a play that could hardly lose, and would have solved all West's problems.

North-South game;

dealer South


4K Q 10 7 4

!7 4 2

#A Q 3

2K 5

West East

42 48 3

!K J 9 5 3 !10 8

#7 5 #10 9 8 4 2

2Q J 10 8 4 29 7 6 3


4A J 9 6 5

!A Q 6

#K J 6

2A 2