Passion of The Game of Bridge

Trump Coup: When Finesse is No Longer an Option

Trump Coup: When Finesse is No Longer an Option

How do we draw the rest of the trump without finesse and without give up a trick? The answer is a technique called “Trump Coup”. We need this technique usually when the remaining trump is not evenly distributed, but we cannot do another finesse on a trump suit as we don’t have another card over the bridge. Put simply, this is a finesse without lead the trump itself.

The Trump Coup

Let see the partial distribution as below:

Trump Coup in Action 
3 Dealer: South
KJ5 4 – Vul: All
J e[n/s]w 7652
K 6
T32 86

The contract is 4 by South and defender already claimed 3 tricks. So, declarer cannot afford any losing trick to make the contract. After winning the previous trick West come up with the best return, K. Any other return will make the hand simple enough: finesse and claim. South know exactly that West has 2 cards trump QT. East’s holding is immaterial.

How do you play if you were the declarer, to get the rest of the tricks ? The score is either +620 or -100!. Which one you choose?

Just try to play it yourself in you mind before scrolling down.

Summary of Trump Coup


  1. Location: The opponent’s trump need to be before our trump. (If the trump that need to be couped are with your left hand side opponent (W), then our trump card should be with dummy (N). Or, if the the trumps that need to be couped are with right hand site opponent, then your trump should be held by you – not dummy)
  2. The rest of your card practically winner and can be cashed with being trump.
  3. There is still communication between dummy and Declarer (entries for both way are available)

How to execute

  1. Reduce your trump holding to match the opponent (if opponent hold 2 cards, then make sure you have 2 cards as well
  2. Cash all remaining winner until only the trump left finishing on the hand opposite the trump (be careful not to be trumped by opponent)
  3. Lead from hand. Opponent will trump, you overtrump and cash the winner. That’s the coup !

So, in above example: Declarer ruff K on hand with 3, then ruff A on dummy (reducing the trump), back to hand with A. Continue Cashing the Q and K to reach this position:

Trump Coup in Action 
Dealer: South
KJ 4H – Vul: All
e[n/s]w 76

And let’s do the coup! Lead K, if West ruff with T, overruff with J then cash K – easy now…

You will find this technique more often than you probably predict. So, get those extra trick when everybody else cannot meet the contract !

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