Coup of the Month
A Jolly Good Coup
By Phil Smith

Have you ever found yourself in this situation: you've preempted on an utterly rubbish suit — no doubt you were non-vulnerable — and your left hand opponent ends up declaring in 3NT. You don't really want partner to lead your suit, but that is what he is odds on to lead. What's to be done? Well, one thing you might try to do is execute a Jolly coup on declarer. How do you do that, I hear you ask? Well it's really quite simple — you lead your suit out of turn. Now this is likely to have the following effect on declarer: after the director is called and the rights have been read, it is almost certain that the choice will be for your partner to be barred from leading your suit. Bingo!

Here is an example of the Jolly Coup working out well in a local club game. South deals and opens this hand 2H.

SK 6 4
HQ J 10 7 6 2
D9 6
C7 6

West lands in 3NT and the quick thinking South tries to lead the HQ. The director is called and after the options are read out, West insists on a non-heart lead. So North leads a spade and when the dust settles, 3NT-1 is scored. So what was the full deal?

Dealer S
SA Q 10 7 3
H9 5
DQ 5
CJ 10 5 2


S9 5 2
HA 8 3
DK 7 4 3
CA Q 9
SJ 8
HK 4
DA J 10 8 2
CK 8 4 3
SK 6 4
HQ J 10 7 6 2
D9 6
C7 6

Now as you can see, it's pretty easy to make ten tricks on a heart lead, but declarer had no idea that there was a second heart stop in dummy and South did seem awfully keen to lead a heart. So the heart lead was barred and five spade tricks were cashed.

This wonderful coup was executed, purely by accident, by Hurworth BC player Dennis Jolly. There was no forethought or malice intended. It seems that he was so keen for a heart lead that he just put one on the table, which adds some irony to the tale. However, for the less-than-ethical bridge player this is a tidbit that is likely to come up on a fairly regular basis. Well, if you preempt or overcall on pot-noodle dirty suits on a regular basis, anyway [If you think QJ10xxx is a dirty suit, I dread to think how filthy mine must be! —Ed].