Perhaps the most famous example of an Emperor's Coup occurred in the 1982 World Championships in Biarritz, France. Sitting East was the late Swiss expert Jean Besse, who earned the year's Bols Brilliancy Prize on this deal.
North-South were playing a weak no-trump, so South opened his strong hand with
South called for dummy's
Besse read his partner's low club as a suit preference signal, so he made the spectacular discard of the
Note that South could make the contract by playing a low club from dummy at trick one. That would have established the
The following two examples of the Emperor's Coup are from Guy Levé's book, "The Encyclopedia of Card Play Techniques at Bridge". The first hand is similar to the 1982 Biarritz deal.
"South plays 3NT; West leads a spade. Declarer ducks East's
The second example by Levé:
"South plays 3NT; West leads the 10. East takes the ace and returns the
"If declarer ducks without thinking, West overtakes the
The Emperor's Coup is named after the last Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai, who supposedly executed the play many years before Besse. That deal is recounted in Victor Mollo's book, "The Other Side of Bridge".
"Introducing an opponent of impressive weight and strength, meet Jacques Blaizot, one of France's greatest players in the immediate post-war period. The Emperor Bao Dai was still on Indo-China's throne when Blaizot cut him as partner during a rubber at the Dalat Palace. Blaizot, West, dealt, with his side a game up.
"'I led the
"The bystanders looked at each other incredulously. Had the emperor lost his senses?
"On the contrary, he had found the only defense to beat the contract. So long as he held those aces, whether declarer played on spades or diamonds, he could hardly fail to come to ten tricks. Finding Blaizot with stoppers in both suits was the only hope."
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