The DMZ Hand
            Broken Sequence
            The Bath Coup
           The Super Duck

One important aspect of Declarer play is communication. Either disrupting the Defenders' lines of communication with the use of the Hold-Up play; or establishing communication between the table and the closed hand with the Duck. In this month's hand we will consider both of these strategies. 
          The Hold-Up play in this month's hand will be a special type called the Bath Coup. You do not have to be in the tub to make this play. (If you do play Bridge in the bath tub, use  plastic cards.) Actually the coup was named after the famous Bath Whist Club in Bath England where the play was perhaps first used or at least noticed. 
        The Duck we will consider will not be the ordinary, run of the mill Duck, but instead a complex or Super Duck. This differs from the Double Duck, which is when you have to Duck twice. The Triple Duck is when you have to Duck three times. (Any more Ducks and you will be in the soup* which is called a Souper Duck.) The complex or Super (without an "o") Duck involves a Duck plus another ingredient. In this case a Finesse. Of course one should never confuse this Super Duck with Duck l'Orange or Peking Duck which are more of the culinary sort of Duck. 
         Enough of these Ducks, let's get on with the bidding. Quack, quack.

*Groucho Marx, who appeared in the movie Duck Soup, was an avid Bridge player.

What to open? Today most pairs play the No Trump range between 15 - 17 High Card Points (HCP). In this month's hand, South has 18 HCP. Should she open 1 No Trump anyway? Some  players might do this and it would not be a terrible lie. Call it a small Bridge fib. Partner, hopefully will use the Stayman convention asking for a Major suit and then get to game in that suit.
           Thus, in this month's hand South elects to tell the truth and opens with a bid of 1 C. North responds 1 D and now South will show her strength by jumping to 2 No Trump.
          What does the jump to 2 No Trump mean? South's hand of 18 HCP is  greater than the top of the 1 No Trump range (15 - 17  HCP) and is less than the bottom of the 2 No Trump range (20, 21  HCP). You might say that South is in between the 1 No Trump opener and the 2 No Trump opener. This is called no man's land or the DMZ (De Militarized Zone).
1 NO TRUMP 15 - 17
DMZ 18, 19
2 NO TRUMP 20, 21

And the way South indicates this DMZ hand is to jump to 2 No Trump when making her first rebid. 
     By indicating that she is in the DMZ, South's bid of 2 No Trump is forcing to game. So North bids 3 No Trump over South's 2 No Trump rebid. All pass.

West has a broken or incomplete 3 card sequence in Clubs. This is a sequence where the third card of a possible 4 card sequence is missing.  A K Q 7 is a 3 card sequence. A K Q J 7 is a 4 card sequence. A K J 7 is a broken 3 card sequence. (The Queen, which would have been the third card of a 4 card sequence is missing.) 
A K 10 7 is a 2 card sequence. 
         Against a No Trump contract the best opening lead is usually from the top of a 3 card sequence in a long suit. And the lead from an incomplete or broken sequence is permissible. So West should lead the K C. But South bid Clubs. Is it safe to lead a suit bid by Declarer? Maybe, since South might have opened with a 3 card Club suit; or a suit with zero or 1 honors. On a good day partner might have the A C or the J C. And besides, nothing else looks that appetizing and one lead in the Club suit cannot do that much harm. Or can it?
          West leads the K C and Dummy's cards are tabled. Declarer wisely spends a few minutes counting and planning and eventually calls for the 2 C. Partner, East,  plays the 7 C and Declarer from the closed hand the 6 C. Now it is West's turn to do some thinking. 

Where is the A C and the J C? Were they left out of the deck? Not likely, since every one counted 13 cards after the deal. Then, the A C and J C are distributed between East and South. West, a perceptive and astute player, notices that the 3 C has not been played. West thinks (could be trouble): maybe partner has the 3 C and is signaling me by playing a high card first. 
      This is called the Attitude (or Come-on) Signal. A high card encourages continuation of the suit, while a low card discourages. High card: I like it, I like it. Low card: I don't like it., I don't like it. From the missing 3 C, West concludes that his partner has the J C or the A C and that it is safe to lead the 4 C at trick 2. Table plays the 8 C, East the 9 C; and Declarer wins the trick with the J C. Ooops! West has just been Bath Couped.

PLAY           tricks 1 and 2 
Holding up with the Ace and Jack of a suit (either in the same hand or split between two hands) is known as the Bath Coup. This is South did. Normally West should refrain from continuing the suit as this would give a trick with the Jack. Note: if South or East were to lead the suit, the J C would be a loser. But South gave West a chance to go wrong by playing the 6 C, not the 3 C on the first trick. Sneaky, deceptive, disinfo, false carding.*
          West thought partner was signaling and wanted a Club continuation. Yes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. But actually West did not think the situation through to its logical conclusion. 
         If East had the J C he would have     known West is leading from K Q 10 x and would have played the J C. (Hoping partner had the 9 C or a 5 card Club 
        And surely if East had the A C he would have played it at trick one to unblock (get out of West's way); or to get the lead and return a Club through South's hand trapping the J C (if South had it). 
        West should have smelled that deception was in the air and returned a different suit, like the 2 S, at trick 2. Then the J C would never have been a winner.

* This type of deception is perfectly allowable in Bridge. What is not permited is previous partnership bidding, discarding, or opening lead agreements that are not standard and are not made known to the opponents.

Don't get smug just because your deceptive play of the 6 C fooled West and you successfully Bath Couped him. This doesn't mean you will make the contract. There is still work to be done. First, count winners off the top: 2 Spades; 1 Heart; 1 Diamond; and 2 Clubs. That is 6 winners. (Without the Bath Coup it would have been 5 winners.)
       Second, make a plan. Taking the Heart Finesse successfully will only produce 1 winner. Still short. The obvious way to get the three tricks needed to make the contract is from the Dummy's long Diamond suit. Most No Trump contracts are a race of the long suits. Defense has the slight edge because they are the first out of the starting gate with the opening lead. (In this case it was the Club suit.)
         The Diamond suit presents South with a few problems. First, the K D, J D and 10 D are with the Defenders. A Diamond Finesse (hoping to trap the K D in West's hand) is definitely called for. 
         The second problem facing Declarer, is that there are no entries to Dummy (other than Diamonds). Even if the Finesse wins, how will South get to Dummy (in the third round of the suit) to play the rest of the winning Diamonds? Answer: execute the entry creating play of the Duck. Here the Finesse and the Duck will be combined in the maneuver called the Super Duck. Ready? Let's see how the Super Duck quacks.

PLAY: South has just won the second trick with the J C. She now plays the 2 D from the closed hand. West plays the 6 D and Declarer plays the 3 D from Dummy! This is the Duck. East wins with the 10 D and returns the Q S. This is the top of a broken 3 card sequence. East hopes if South has the K S,  his partner West, will have the
S. Then the K S will be trapped (sort of sandwiched between the Queen and Ace) and the Defense will take 4 Spade tricks. Since the Defense already has won a trick with the 10 D, these Spade tricks will set the contract. But this is not to be.
         South wins the Spade return with the A S and puts the Defenders in the soup with the Super Duck. This is done by taking the Diamond Finesse. South plays the 7 D from the closed hand; West follows with the 9 D; and now South takes a deep breath; holds it; and plays the 
D from the table. East plays the. . . 
D. Whew! Made it! 
         Declarer is now in Dummy. She plays the A D, dropping West's K D, then rattles off 3 more Diamond winners. For some over trick icing she takes the Heart Finesse: a small Heart from Dummy to the Q H. This wins. Cash out time. When the smoke clears the winners are left standing: 2 Clubs, 5 Diamonds, 2 Hearts and 2 Spades for a total of 11 tricks. Bravo!

QUESTION: Is there any play that the Defenders could have made that would have set this contract?