A play made with the object of cutting the entry of the opponent, known as the Merrimac Coup, or the entry of the declarer, known as the Scissors Coup, to a particular hand. The following illustrations should clarify the concept.

Q84   K93

South, as declarer, leads a small Heart to the dummy. In order to make the Entry Killing Play, West must play the Queen, and not Second Hand Low. This type of play allows the declarer to make only one trick in the Heart suit, barring all other side entries.

K104   Q863

South, as declarer, leads a small Heart to the dummy. West must again play the King of Hearts to ensure that declarer only takes one winning trick in the Heart suit. If West, on the other hand, plays second hand low, then South, upon regaining control, can finesse from his hand to the Nine of Hearts.


An illustration of an Entry Killing Play is illustrated in the following example, which appeared in the bridge column Kibitzer and is by Mr.Michael Linah. The publication was The Tech, Vol. LXXXII, No. 20, October 24, 1962, of MIT. Mr. Michael Lenah wrote these bridge articles during his days at MIT during the early 1960s.


Commentary: Experience plays a key role in the making of a bridge player ,especially in making his defense top-notch. Even the most innocent looking hands are transformed by an expert into opportunities for beautiful plays, most often because the expert can remember that a certain play works. If that play is bizarre, chances are the beginner will never even think of it, while the expert can remember having seen it many times.

Take today's hand. First put a beginner in West's seat. Declarer wins the opening Club lead on the board with the Ace, and leads the Queen of Diamonds for a finesse, losing to the King. West leads another Club, forcing the King. Declarer now runs nine tricks: four Diamonds, two Hearts, two Clubs, and one Spade. Innocent looking hand, isn't it? Wait!

Now let's put an expert in West's seat. Same Club lead, and same lead of the Queen of Diamonds from the board for a finesse. But now West DUCKS THE TRICK, letting the Queen win.You say he's crazy! Look what happens. First, declarer smiles knowingly at East. then at his partner, talking fondly about overtricks. Then he leads the Jack of Diamonds for the marked finesse. Then West takes his King, and then South goes down two tricks, since he is now locked out of dummy when East shows up with both of the missing Spade honors.

Declarer, of course, played badly, but who can blame him? West's play made it easy to go wrong. South should, in order to insure the contract, win the first Club in his hand, then lay down the Ace of Diamonds, continuing the suit to force the King out. He wins the return, and now has the Club Ace as an entry to the Diamonds. Familiarize yourself with the duck.

Everybody knows enough to hold up a couple of rounds at a notrump contract when the opponents knock out your only stopper in a suit. That hold up play is essentially an entry-killing play, primarily designed to isolate a long suit in a defender's hand, hoping that he will have no entry to it. The defenders have their counterpart to the hold up play, the duck, as illustrated in today's hand. Let's see if the point has gotten across: sit East now, holding today's hand with one exception, you hold the King, four, two of Diamonds, and your partner has two little ones. Declarer wins the opening Club lead on the board, and leads the Queen of Diamonds. Cover an honor with an honor, you say? Wrong. Stare declarer straight in the eye and play low, play low again when he leads the Jack. Play the King only when you have to, on the third round, then score declarer for down one at three notrump.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.


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