Source: The Devil’s Coup – well, almost
Today’s deal from the final of the NEC Cup 2010 featured something akin to the Devil’s Coup. The final had two Italian pairs on the Lavazza team faced their compatriots on the Zimmerman team, and this was the hand.
Both North and South would open the bidding, and received wisdom is that an opening bid opposite an opening bid makes a game. Any game contract on the North-South cards is in the abstract a poor one, and North-South for Zimmerman judged well when they stopped in three clubs. At the other table, the bidding was:If West had led a trump, even Giorgio Duboin would have had no chance at all in his ambitious contract, but a trump lead from three to the jack is not the most appealing prospect. The actual opening lead was a spade to the jack, queen and king, and declarer played the king of hearts to West’s ace. He won the spade continuation with dummy’s ace, cashed the queen of hearts to discard his spade loser and embarked on a cross-ruff. A heart was trumped in the South hand, the ace of diamonds and a diamond ruff were followed by a spade ruff, and with five tricks remaining declarer ruffed a third diamond on the table. It would have done the defenders no good to put in any of their high trumps up to this point, and the position was now:Needing three of the last four tricks, Duboin led a heart from dummy and ruffed it with the queen of clubs. A diamond forced West to ruff with the jack, but declarer over-ruffed with the ace and led a heart, ensuring another trump trick with the combined 109 of clubs. 6 IMPs to Lavazza, who won the match by 2 IMPs.