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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2012 5 years ago

Bridge Bites: The Scissors Coup

by: Brian Gunnell

This week’s deal features the Scissors Coup, so-called because it cuts communications between the two defenders.

East’s 4♦ was pre-emptive, showing long Diamonds and not much else.

As West, what’s your opening lead? It would be reasonable to lead K♣, attempting to set up a Club trick while you still have the A♠ entry. That doesn’t work on the actual deal because of Declarer’s Club singleton. A more promising plan might be to lead the singleton Heart, later winning the A♠, then under leading the A♦ to East’s hoped for K♦ and getting a Heart ruff for down one. As you can see, that plan is the winner. Well, not quite, because there is a clever counter-measure. How can Declarer deprive West of his ruff?

Enter the Scissors Coup. Declarer wins the Heart lead in Dummy, and before touching trumps, she cashes A♣ and leads another Club, pitching a Diamond when East plays low. By this maneuver Declarer trades a Diamond loser for a Club loser, in the process thwarting West in his plan to reach East with the K♦. Now with the defensive communications snipped, Declarer loses only the A♠ and a Club (but there is no Diamond loser and no Heart ruff).

Post Script: As West, you no doubt found that well thought-out Heart opening lead. Then, as Declarer, you made a clever play to bring home the 5♠ contract. Next, imagine that you hold the East cards but with the 6♣ replaced by the J♣. Now, after Dummy’s A♣ has been cashed, when a second Club is played, we are quite confident that you would alertly hop up with that J♣ foiling the Scissors Coup. Nice play!

Visit for more about the game of bridge or email [email protected].

Contact Brian Howard, owner/director of the Bridge Center of Bradenton, at 795-8981. 

Click here to see this week's bridge hand. 


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