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2015 Italian Open Team Championship: The Bocchi’s Grand Coup

Posted on 03 May 2015

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Norberto BocchiThere is in Italy an important book published in 1941 and never translated in English: it is “Il Gioco di Compressione nel Bridge”, di Adolfo Giannuzzi (translation: squeeze play; but this article is not dealing with squeeze). In the first pages the author explains that there are six main techniques to make tricks in declarer play; three basic and three advanced. The three basic are finessing, ruffing and suit establishing (“basic” is by no means synonym for “easy”, but this is another story).

The three advanced techniques are elimination and thrown in, the squeeze, and the Grand Coup. The last technique is rare and is deemed the most difficult to see and to realize.

Norberto Bocchi saw and realized it this morning in the last round of the 2015 Italian Open Team Championship, won by him with Lavazza-Allegra; he played with Madala and against Colarossi-Severini of the Team Pacini from Pisa. (Round 9/9 Board 12)

The hand:

2015 IOTM a

Severini led ♠Q, taken by dummy’s ace, then ♣K won by East, who returned spades for dummy’s king. Now Bocchi moved spade again, ruffed and played the trump queen, discovering the unlucky break. Unlucky but not hopeless; there is a way to catch the club ten: this is to go to a final of trump only and the led on dummy, making an automatic ruff finesse. This is the final Bocchi envisaged:

2015 IOTC b


Let us count: Bocchi started with seven trumps; Colarossi with four, therefore to enter this final Bocchi had to shorten thrice by ruff. He needed four entries in dummy: three to ruff and one to get the final position with the lead on the duly side.

First entry: the second spade played by Severini after he took by ♣A. First ruff: the third dummy’s spade. Bocchi now played club queen, discovering the 4-1 break; he just exposed his cards and called made, explaining at the table his playing plan. The hand ended, and tens of kibitzers complained against the poor vugrapher because she result the scored, that is made (instead of -1, as kibitzers thought) . Let us continue the analysis.

Second entry: the hearth ace (not diamond!). Now it must be played hearth king too and cast a diamond; the diamond is winning, but Declarer only must shorten himself. Second ruff: the third round of hearth.

Third entry: diamond ace. Third ruff: another hearth. Note that even this hearth is winning, and this is the second winner Declarer wasted; that is why the “Grand Coup” is so called: in his march toward the trump equality, any richness can be cast save entries.

Fourth entry: diamond king and we arrived to the two card final and dummy on lead. Note that if East led or returned diamond he would have forced Declarer to use an entry untimely, defeating the contract.


Paolo Enrico Garrisi



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