A Trump Coup
LHO opened 2♠ at a club pair game and it went pass, pass to me:
I balanced with 3♥ and pard took a while before he passed. He was probably considering 3NT. I got a low club lead which I ducked to the ♣K and a spade was returned--obviously a singleton.
I won on the board to start trumps. I led a low heart to my king and the jack fell on my left. Hmmm...looks like a 5-1 break. I confirm this by leading a heart to the 10 with LHO showing out and RHO winning the ace.
She returns a diamond to her partner's honor and he, luckily, returns a diamond to her honor. She returns a club and these are the remaining cards:
I can't play hearts myself as RHO has 8xx and would win a heart trick. I need to coup her trump. I start by leading another club and LHO shows out. Now I have a complete count on the hand. RHO started with 1 spade, 5 hearts, 4 clubs and therefore, 3 diamonds. She has the following cards in her hand: no spades, 8xx of hearts, 1 diamond and 1 club. The stage is set for the coup to succeed.
I cash the last club, pitching a spade from my hand and then play a diamond, pitching the ace of spades. My RHO and I are now down to all hearts (She has ♥8xx while I hold ♥Q97) and anything I lead from the board will allow me to score the rest of the tricks. Plus 140 is a tie for top.
Here is a definition from Bridgehands.com: Trump Coup - An unusual play tactic requiring declarer to reduce the number of trumps in hand to that of the threatening opponent holding the same number of trump. The declarer cleverly plays winning tricks in a side suit and if the declarer's Right Hand Opponent ruffs, the declarer overruffs; otherwise the declarer sluffs losers in side suits. If the declarer sluffed losers on the side suit before reducing trump and the RHO refused to ruff, the declarer would have to ruff a card in dummy; then the declarer would become endplayed, having to lead a trump to one of RHO's higher trump cards.
As noted in the definition, for the play to work, the declarer must have parity, an equal number of trumps as the opponent. Often that requires declarer to maneuver ruffs in her hand in order to achieve parity. In the hand given, this was not necessary as we had parity from the start.
See you at the table!