Grosvenor Coup

Submitted by English Bridge Union on

QUESTION: Can you give a definition of the Grosvenor Coup? Do you have an example of where you have experienced it in real-life play?

ANSWER: A Grosvenor Coup may be defined as: "A defender deliberately making a clear error, giving declarer a chance that he will refuse to take because he expects rational defence".

Here is an example I myself perpetrated many years ago (although on this occasion the poor play was not deliberate). We were playing in a Swiss Teams against a well-known Hertfordshire pair:

N/S Vulnerable, dealer N:

                                    ♠          Qx
                                    ♥          xxx
                                    ♦          AQJxxx
                                    ♣         xx
            ♠          xxxx                                                   ♠         xx
            ♥          10x                                                    ♥       AKJxx
            ♦          10xx                                                   ♦          K2
            ♣         xxxx                                                   ♣         Qxxx
                                    ♠          AKJ10x
                                    ♥          Qxx
                                    ♦          xx
                                    ♣         AKJ


The contract was 4S by South, which had been reached after an auction in which North had opened a weak 2 in D and I had overcalled 2H. Partner duly led the 10H and we took the first three tricks with KH, AH and a H ruff. Partner then got off play with a trump.

Declarer won in hand and played a diamond to the J. “Good!” I thought, “this contract is off”. Imagine my dismay when I looked down at the table and saw the two of diamonds in front of me – I had pulled the wrong card!

I must have kept my composure reasonably well, as declarer did not notice my discomfiture. His next moves were to overtake the QS, draw the last trump, then lead a D to the Q. So the contract was down after all. Even better, there was now no entry back to dummy, so they ended up going 2 off.

When we scored up, we found that the same contract had gone 1 off at the other table. As we won the match by 2IMPs, my stupid mistake had converted a 9-11 loss into an 11-9 win. Bridge is a funny game sometimes.

By Robert Elliott, Essex Player

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