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An Entry Coup

Submitted by Marc van Kreveld

9 4 3
9 2
10 9 6 4 2
10 9 7
K J 10 8 7 6
K Q 5
K 8 2
10 7 5 2
Q 5 3
J 8
Q J 5 4
A K J 8 6
A 4
A 7 3
A 6 3
South ended up declarer in 2 on this hand.
West led the J, which South won. Declarer then played off the top two trumps, to find the unfortunate split. Looking at five losers in the other suits, declarer needed a way to score all five of his trumps, yet he had no entry to dummy to take the marked trump finesse. East (Marc van Kreveld, who reported this hand) was confident of his trump trick.
Marc was to find that his confidence was unwarranted.
Declarer exited a heart, and the opponents led clubs. Declarer won, and exited a club. The opponents took their two clubs, then exited a diamond to declarer's ace. Declarer exited in diamonds, and the West took two more diamonds, yielding this position:
10 9
K 8 7
10 7
J 8 6
West led a heart and declarer played the trump nine from dummy, pinning Marc mercilessly. If Marc pitched the club, declarer would underuff and execute a coup on the lead of the diamond. If he ruffed, either high or low, declarer would easily score the trumps in his hand.
Marc asks, "Can East and West beat the contract somehow?"
No. All declarer has to do to create this endplay is to play the ace and king of trumps plus all his side aces, then exit in any side suit. If the defenders don't take all their tricks before giving declarer a "ruff-sluff", they will let declarer pitch a loser from hand. And if they take their winners, they reach the end-position above. Since declarer can play the first five tricks in any order, it doesn't matter what is led on opening lead.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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