North-South, playing modified Precision, open the bidding with a 14-16 HCP 1NT but stop in 2NT. Partner leads the
You cover with the
A count of the hand may help here:
If this is the full deal, then you should return a passive heart:
Declarer wins your
However, if West holds the
Declarer is forced to win with dummy's ace (ducking would only cause you to lead another spade). South must then return to hand via a heart and try another club finesse. Now that West's
A low spade instead of the K would not work; South would insert the
The subtle clue to this hand occurred at trick two. West knew all his remaining diamonds were good, so he could signal with any of them. With dummy's club suit being a clear threat, a high diamond at trick two would ask for a spade return, while a low diamond would suggest a heart return.
Note that a Deschapelles Coup is very similar to a Merrimac Coup. Both plays involve the lead of an unsupported honor by the defense. However, the Merrimac Coup is used to destroy one of declarer's entries, whereas the Deschapelles Coup is used to create an entry in partner's hand.
The Deschapelles Coup is named for a 19th century chess whist player, Alexandre Louis Honoré Lebreton Deschapelles of France. Deschapelles was one of the strongest chess players of his time; he lived between 1780 and 1847. Against fellow experts, he commonly gave a pawn's advantage and one or two moves. Most colorfully (or perhaps sadly), he lost one hand while fighting in Napoleon's army and also sported a sabre scar from eyebrow to chin.
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