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:
♠ xxxx ♠ xx
♥ 10x ♥ AKJxx
♦ 10xx ♦ K2
♣ xxxx ♣ Qxxx
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