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It Rains on the Shower Coup
I am a bridge scavenger. I have not invented one brilliant bridge theory in my 40+ years of play. I merely pick and choose among the innovative new conventions debuted by the Rodwells of the world.However, I have contributed to the bridge world in terms of lexicon. The most recent is a nod to Pfizer’s most profitable drug.

Since their financial bonanza, it seems natural to dub the stiff King the Viagra card. Perhaps this acute perception is a symptom of my ever advancing age. I have never deigned to also call the stiff Jack a “Viagra card”, although I suppose it might almost be acceptable in oversexed circles.

7222 distribution has long been known as the “train” hand – so named because the sounds, “two, two, two” can sound like they come from a train -- especially if you do so in a high-pitched Frankie Valli falsetto. Therefore, I call 7330 hands the “locomotive “ hands.

Almost as soon as Rodwell’s support double convention garnered popularity, I did not hesitate to dub it the “bra convention.” I will leave it to your imagination as to what I thought about when its sibling, support redoubles, hit the circuit.

My other contribution to bridge lexicon made a rare emergence on the first hand of the Regional Swiss in Riverside on Sunday. A common declarer coup is to duck (hopefully, smooth as silk) when your LHO leads the King and you hold AJx. This is called the Bath Coup, since it first took place in Bath, England during a hand of Whist.

Accordingly, about 35 years ago, I dubbed the following situation the Shower Coup: The Shower Coup occurs when LHO leads the Q of a suit and you duck from AK10x. Unfortunately, this stratagem occurs with about the same frequency as a lunar eclipse. So, imagine my excitement when I am declaring 1 No Trump with the following hands.

West
K9643
Q97
5
QJ93
Dummy
A105
862
K10832
82
East
J82
A104
AQ76
754
Me
Q7
KJ53
J94
AK106
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
2
7
6
0
0
1
3
5
8
Q
3
1
1
J
5
2
Q
2
1
2
J
7
4
10
2
1
3
2
3
K
A
1
2
3
10
7
9
3
1
3
3
6
4
J
Q
0
3
4
5 tricks claimed
N/S -100
7


After my RHO’s initial pass, the auction was a short and snappy 1-1-1NT with no intervention from the opponents. I could barely contain my ecstasy on the Q lead, but then reality bit.

It could easily be right to win Trick 1 and go after diamonds right away with only one outside dummy entry. My RHO played the 7, so I stalled and asked about their carding to try to solve my dilemma. “Standard” came the reply. Finally, I decided fate had come knocking on the day’s first board, or as deceased San Diego expert, Marc Rothblatt, often said, “Play for the story.”

Follow the play with the next button in the above diagram.

I played for both the story and the honor of the Shower Coup. The little old lady on my left shifted to the 3 at trick 2 from K9xxx. I played low from dummy and RHO stuck in the 8 from J8x.

I lost a diamond finesse at trick 3 and the J came winging back at trick 4. I ducked and discarded a heart on dummy’s A at trick 5. I now played the 10 off the dummy at trick 6, which RHO ducked, I played the 9, and LHO pitched a club. If I could guess the heart, I would survive. Of course, I had no inkling that my LHO had not lead an unbid 5 card spade suit. RHO, a passed hand, had already shown up with 7 HCP so I guessed to play him for the Q. Wrong! My LHO had the Q and RHO had the A.

I went down 2 tricks on a hand that I could have made in multiple ways. I guess there is truth to the adage, “When it rains, it pours” especially as it pertains to the Shower Coup. My LHO said she did not lead a spade because she had no sure outside entry. Hmmmmm. The Bridge Gods did not further punish me for paying homage to the Shower Coup that day as we managed to win. But that is not important. What matters is that you know who the “go to” guy in the bridge world is when you need a catchy buzz phrase.

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