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‘Dentist’s coup’ – a smart way to extract danger cards

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Well, I had a real brain freeze last week when writing the column, and after kicking myself a few times have decided that the best way to correct it is to simply repeat the column, but this time will try and get the facts straight!

I have often extolled the virtues of our great game in this column and regularly described it as “a game for a lifetime”. To prove my point, last week at the Club, Diana Diel and Dorry Lusher won the game with an excellent score – what makes this newsworthy is that, remarkably, both of them are nonagenarians! Yes, well over 16 years old!

Dorry and Diana have been in the top strata of bridge for decades. Dorry has played regularly in all forms of the game at the Club from rubber bridge to duplicate and along with her sunny disposition brings a strong game to the table. She has come close to winning the Ladies Pairs and has the distinction of recording a 75.48 per cent game with the late Michael Bickley which was reported in the ACBL Bulletin.

I think Diana is a bit newer to the game, but that doesn’t mean “new”, and she soon made her mark at the Club with an aggressive style and bringing to the table all the skill and determination that saw her at the top of the golf scene in Bermuda for so many years.

She is a multiple winner in Club events with many different partners and I always found her a solid opponent.

Dorry and Diana are poster-children for how this game keeps you sharp – it requires thought and concentration, it delights, frustrates and drives you mad all in one evening, and the Club games provide that essential social interaction which is so tied in with good health and longevity. Well done to Dorry and Diana!

The beginners’ lessons at the Club are sold out for the spring, but if you have a friend who might be interested in learning this incomparable game get them to sign up with Bill Pollett for the fall series.

Now to this week’s hand which features the little known “Dentist’s Coup” where one extracts danger cards from an opponent’s hand before giving them the lead! See Figure 1.

Figure 1

The bidding was good (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

4NT was Roman Key Card Blackwood and five spades showed two key cards and the Queen of spades.

As North/South were using a two-over-one approach North had to find a first bid to establish a game forcing situation and he chose two diamonds knowing that the contract would probably end up in Spades. Three spades was then a slam try – with a less strong hand North would jump to four spades. When South showed a diamond control, North checked on key cards and bid the small slam in spades.

West had to find a lead. He judged that trying for a forcing defence by leading a club was pointless. Instead, he led his singleton diamond, hoping to disrupt declarer’s transportation.

Declarer won the first trick in hand with the King of diamonds and led the King of trumps, holding the trick as East discarded a diamond. Declarer continued with the Queen of trumps, but West made the expert play of ducking again and East threw a club.

Declarer paused to consider what to do next. Playing another trump now would see West win and return a club, forcing declarer to try to return to hand with a diamond or a heart ruff to draw the last trump.

Neither option appealed to declarer so, instead, he cashed the Ace and King of hearts, followed by the Ace and King of clubs, discarding his remaining heart. Only then did he play dummy’s eight of trumps to his ten.

West took this with the Ace and could do no better than exit with a club. Declarer ruffed low in hand, drew West’s last trump, and claimed 12 tricks – five trumps, two hearts, three diamonds and two clubs, thanks to declarer executing the “Dentist’s Coup”.

Declarer’s only comment was: “Six no-trump would have been easier and a lot less painful for the patient!”


Monday, April 18

1. Molly Taussig – Jack Rhind

2/3.Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

2/3.Judy Bussell – Joe Wakefield

Tuesday, April 19


1. Malcolm Moseley – Mark Stevens

2. Lulu Neame – Richard Neame


1. Nikki Boyce – Carol Eastham

2. Rosemary Smith – Heidi Dyson

Wednesday, April 20

1. Lisa Rhind – Jack Rhind

2/3.Caroline Svensen – Jane Clipper

2/3. Sarah Lorimer-Turner – Tracy Nash

Thursday, April 21

1. Sharon Shanahan – Claude Guay

2. Elizabeth McKee – Linda Pollett

3. Bill Pollett – John Rayner

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Published April 23, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated April 23, 2022 at 7:45 am)

‘Dentist’s coup’ – a smart way to extract danger cards

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