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Trump Coup Lands Doubled Slam

With Hurricane Elena far enough away to cause no concern, the Ft. Lauderdale Bridge Club hosted its first annual Labor Day Championship Tournament. The club’s manager, Richard Waugh, organized the four-day schedule to include a variety of special events, which were well received by the participants. The winners divided over 100 masterpoints, and also got their names inscribed on the club’s handsome permanent trophies.

One of the top winners was Betty McCoy of Ft. Lauderdale, who won the two-session Open Pairs. As South on today’s deal, she opened one heart and routinely rebid hearts on the next round. Then she listened as West and North played cat-and-mouse to the six level. West ended the auction with a double for no obvious reason.

6 H× S 3
H J 9 6
D A K J 6 5
C K 10 6 5
N-S Vul

West

1 S
3 S
4 S
5 S
Dbl


North

2 D
4 H
5 H
6 H
All Pass


East

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass


South
1 H
2 H
Pass
Pass
Pass
S A Q J 9 8 7 5
H
D Q 8 3
C J 9 7
Table S K 6
H 10 7 5 2
D 9 7 4
C Q 8 4 2
Lead: S A S 10 4 2
H A K Q 8 4 3
D 10 2
C A 3

West began with the spade ace and then shifted to a low club, which was ducked around to the ace. A spade ruff was followed by a heart to the ace, revealing the bad trump break. It was now apparent that declarer could not draw East’s trumps if she ruffed her last spade in dummy. As the cards lie, declarer could get home by establishing the diamond suit (either by ruffing or finessing), but this was problematic (not to mention mundane). Instead, she made her contract on a trump coup.

The top diamonds were cashed, followed by a diamond ruff, a spade ruff with the heart jack (East discarding a club), and another diamond ruff (East shedding another club as it would be suicide to ruff). Finally, a club was led to dummy’s king as East helplessly followed suit. At this point East held 10-7-5 in trumps and South held K-Q-8. With dummy on lead, it was a simple matter to win the remaining tricks by overruffing East as cheaply as possible.

And that’s how tournaments are won!

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© 9-15-1985 Richard Pavlicek