Reading Eagle – 2 Sep 1932

Some players regard the making of the Grand Coup as the greatest achievement in the play of a hand at Bridge. While this play, which involves the trumping of good cards in one hand in order to shorten the trump length in the Declaring Hand to the same as that held by the opponent to the right, is extremely spectacular, it is actually much easier to plan, than plays involving eliminations and squeezes. The posicion of adverse trump strength and the definite measure of that trump strength is known. Hence the Declarer, if he is to make his contract, must rely upon the coup alone, while hands of other types sometimes present alternative methods of play, either one of which may prove effective. An interesting example of the perfect play of an overbid hand was given recently in a match game by Edward Hymes, jr. playing with Louis H. Watson. Mr. Hymes held the North hand pictured below:

North—Dealer. Neither side vulnerable.

The bidding:

2 (1) South rightly decides to show his own six-card suit before disclosing the fact that he has no losers in, diamonds.

3 (2) Still further information which may be vital in the bidding of Slam.

3NT (3) North probably should rebid spades again.

4 (4) Now showing the fact that his hand contains no diamond losers.

5NT (5) Up to this time North has made nothing but minimum responses to South’s strong bidding. Mr. Hymes reasons that by no other bid can he convey the picture of double stoppers in the diamond suit. Personally, I prefer a Rebid of the spades.

6 (6) As a matter of course, although the knowledge of duplication of values in the diamond suit produces a slight element of uncertainty.

Lead: 3

East unwilling to lead toward the probable major tenace in diamonds in the declaring hand, chose as his Opening the club trey. The Queen was played from Dummy, and held the trick, and a small spade was led, West playing low, and North finessed. When East failed to follow, North had the assurance that West has held originally four spades, and as he had other losers in his hand, he could not utilize dummy’s three trumps for the purpose of leading through, unless he was able to establish a suit in Dummy, upon which he might discard his losing diamonds.

In order to do this, a finesse in the heart suit was essential. Therefore, after winning the first round of trumps. Mr. Hymes led the 10, East did not cover, and West won with the Queen, correctly returning his top diamond. This was won with the Ace and a second round of hearts led, the Knave being finessed.

This finesse was essential to the making of the contract. When the finesse held, the success of the contract was assured. The Ace of hearts was laid down, and West was in difficulties. To ruff would be useless, and to discard equally futile. The club Ace was still an entry to the Dummy, and North, by most excellent play, fulfilled his contract.

While as actually played, the true Grand Coup situation did not develop, North, by his correct appraisal of methods of play, had found the only road to assure him of success.