The Crocodile Coup by Carlos Hoyos, Jack Smith, Gonzalo Rubio & Fernando Lema

The Crocodile Coup is a defense coup, specifically by the second hand that’s playing the trick. The second hand must play a card higher than necessary to win the trick, getting the lead, and so preventing his partner to be endplayed.

After the semifinals of the Brasileiro Pairs Championship, Bahia 2013, a group of players met to discuss the most interesting boards of the session, when this gem appeared: a defense by Joaquin Pacareu (SM) and his partner Gonzalo Rubio (M) both from Chile.

Pairs, Dealer: East, All Vunerable

  Q J 5 4 3
7 5 3
J 5 3
 A K J 
 K 8 7 6          J 10 7 4 3
  A 10 9 6
Q 10 9 6
10 9 4
K 6
  K 8 7
8 4 2
A Q 2
9 8 5 2
West North East South
G. Rubio   J. Pacareu  
Pass Pass
1 1 1NT 2
Pass Pass Pass  

Lead: 10

After the 10 lead, dummy played a little heart and Gonzalo won the trick with his K to switch to the 3 showing an odd number of cards….

Gonzalo: When I played the 3 Joaquin must have thought that I had: 5 clubs, a trump singleton and 7 red cards.


Now declarer, with confidence, decided to try the club finesse, bad news… Joaquin won with his K and played another club, dummy played a club and Gonzalo played his 4, showing diamond interest, declarer won with his A.

North played the J, winning the trick and continued with the 3, Joaquin played the 9, declarer the K and switched to a club, his intention was to ruff with a little trump, but Joaquin overruffed with his 10, played the A and switched to a heart.

Gonzalo won with the A and played the J. Declarer ruffed with his last trump and played the 8. With Q 9, Joaquin played his Q preventing his partner to be endplayed. The Crocodile Coup!

At the end Joaquin won the 9 and returned a diamond. Declarer had to lose the K for three down.

By ferlema