Country Life Every Week - - Books - An­drew Rob­son

One of the best play­ers in the world at both chess and whist was Alexan­dre Lois Honore Deschapelles (1780–1847). He would beat all com­ers at chess after giv­ing them a pawn ad­van­tage. He also ex­celled at bil­liards, which is ex­tra­or­di­nary given that he lost his right hand in bat­tle.

The coup that bears his name at bridge is the lead of a typ­i­cally un­sup­ported high card to cre­ate an en­try for part­ner. This he per­formed at whist, with­out a dummy. Amaz­ing!

Watch east find a Deschapelles Coup on our first deal. West led the three of Spades to east’s Ace, east re­turn­ing his eight of Spades, de­clarer fi­ness­ing the Knave. West won the Queen and cleared his Spades, choos­ing the nine as a suit­pref­er­ence sig­nal for the high­er­rank­ing Hearts, east dis­card­ing the two of Di­a­monds.

De­clarer won the King and led a Di­a­mond to dummy’s Knave, east win­ning the Queen. Key mo­ment. east had to find a way of reach­ing his part­ner’s hand and his two long Spades. There was only one card in his hand that would do it and east found it.

At trick five, east found the lethal switch to the Queen of Hearts. If de­clarer ducked dummy’s Ace, east would lead a sec­ond Heart to dummy’s now bare Ace and West’s King would be an en­try. At the ta­ble, de­clarer chose to beat east’s Queen of Hearts with the Ace, then lead­ing the King of Di­a­monds. east won the Ace, led over a sec­ond Heart and watched his beam­ing part­ner win the King and en­joy two long Spades. Down three.

Our sec­ond deal is a close rel­a­tive of the Deschapelles—mak­ing a dis­card to cre­ate an en­try for part­ner. In this case, it was a rather spec­tac­u­lar one. West led the five of Clubs ver­sus Three notrumps, east win­ning the Ace and re­turn­ing the four. West beat de­clarer’s Knave with the King and re­turned a third (low) Club, dummy throw­ing a Di­a­mond. What should east dis­card?

At one ta­ble, east looked no fur­ther than a Spade. After win­ning the Queen, de­clarer cashed the Ace of Di­a­monds. On this trick, east found the good un­block of the King. This en­abled his lovely part­ner to win the sec­ond Di­a­mond with the Queen and cash his Clubs. Down two. east was proud of his un­block­ing play, but his de­fence wasn’t per­fect.

At a sec­ond ta­ble, where east had again let go a Spade on the third Club, de­clarer did rather bet­ter. He crossed to the Ace of Hearts and led a (low) Di­a­mond from dummy. If east had risen with the King, de­clarer would have ducked and so es­tab­lished Di­a­monds with­out los­ing a trick to West, the dan­ger hand.

When, in prac­tice, east played sec­ond-hand-low, de­clarer rose with the Ace and led a sec­ond Di­a­mond, east (frus­trat­ingly for his part­ner) beat­ing the Queen with the King. De­clarer could win any re­turn and cash a plethora of Di­a­monds. Game made plus one.

By lead­ing the first Di­a­mond from dummy, de­clarer en­sured that east, not his part­ner, won the de­fen­sive Di­a­mond trick.

It was at the third ta­ble that east showed the way. On the third Club, he dis­carded not a Spade, but the King of Di­a­monds (key play). now de­clarer was pow­er­less to es­tab­lish Di­a­monds with­out los­ing a trick to West’s Queen and down he went.

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