A Bridge Phantasmagoria




In a former N.E.C. world championship, the hands for the semi-finals in both the Open Series and the Womenís series were duplicated, so that the hand below was played at eight different tables. The hand featured the Merrimac Coup (twice) and the Deschapelle Coup (once). The Merrimac Coup is the deliberate sacrifice of a high card with the object of knocking out a vital entry to an opponentís hand. The Deschapelle Coup is the lead of an unsupported honour to create an entry to partnerís hand. It was invented by Guillaume Deschapelle in the days of whist.


S K62
H K973
D K104
C 1064


S A10
H Q54
D A98632
C A5


S J9854
H A86
D Q7


S Q73
H J102
D J5
C J9872


All East-West pairs declared 3NT but only one pair contrived to have the hand played by West. He won the heart lead from North with the queen, and a small diamond to the queen brought in eleven easy tricks.

Five Souths led a club and three declarers won the ace, to play a diamond to the queen. When two of the Norths ducked, ten tricks rolled in. The remaining North, Tor Helness of Sweden, went up with the king and bravely led the king of spades. This Merrimac Coup put paid to the diamond suit but East was able to play on spades for nine tricks. The other two declarers ran the club lead to the queen to preserve the two black aces as entries to the diamonds, and were able to establish four diamond tricks and again nine tricks were made. So we had one declarer making eleven, two making ten and three making nine.

At the last two tables the American Kerri Sanborn, in the Womenís Series, and Eric Rodwell, in the Open Series, were the only defenders to find the superior lead of the jack of hearts. The lady East ducked but won the continuation. A club to the ace was followed by a diamond to the queen. McCallum at North rose with the king and after scoring two heart tricks, switched to the king of spades - the Merrimac Coup once again. This sank the diamonds without trace, and three hearts, one diamond and one spade left declarer with but eight tricks.

The final declarer won the heart lead at once and ran the seven of diamonds to the ten. Mackstroth at North switched to the king of spades (the Deschapelle Coup). The Dutch declarer, De Boer won the ace and continued with the ten, but it was Rodwell who had the queen, and a heart through defeated the contract.

Well played the Americans.


by Carl Dickel