East-West vulnerable. North deals.


xA Q 6 3

uQ J 8

v9 4 2

wA 8 4


xVoid x5 4 2

u10 9 6 3 2 u7 5

vK J 10 6 5 3 vQ

wK Q wJ 10 9 7 6 5 2


xK J 10 9 8 7

uA K 4

vA 8 7


The bidding:


1w Pass 1x Pass

2x Pass 3u Pass

4x Pass 4NT Pass

5u Pass 6x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of w

The language of bridge is very colorful. It is derived from sports history, allusions of sex and almost every facet of life. The “Alligator Coup” is an example.

The auction is typical of a modern five-card major sequence. South’s hand did not meet either criterion for a jump shift but, after spades were raised, it became slam-oriented. Three hearts was designed to learn more about North’s minimum opener and, once North showed a sound opening, Blackwood led to the spade slam.

West led the king of clubs, taken with ace. A club was ruffed in hand, and a trump was led to the queen, on which West discarded a diamond. South ruffed another club, West parting with another diamond. The remaining trumps were drawn, followed by three rounds of hearts, ending in the closed hand while East discarded a club on the last. That gave declarer a complete count of the hand — East had started with three spades, two hearts and seven clubs, hence only one diamond.

The only chance for the slam was an endplay. To accomplish that, declarer had to hope that East’s singleton diamond was a high honor. A low diamond was led and, had West carelessly played low, declarer would have accomplished his goal.

But West also had a count of his partner’s hand. To foil South’s nefarious scheme, West rose with the king of diamonds to swallow partner’s queen and continued with the jack, and there was no way declarer could avoid losing a second diamond.

Why Alligator Coup? Because to win the day West’s jaws had to open wide like the alligator snatching its prey.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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