A "Merrimac Coup" in bridge usually refers to the "suicidal" lead of a king, in order to force out an opposing ace before the opponent is ready to use the ace as an entry. If that hand (usually dummy) is short of entries, this might cause "transportation" problems in establishing and cashing a long suit.

Suppose I can see that dummy has a broken long suit, and a side ace. Would this be a good time to try the Merrimac Coup?

Suppose I am the opening leader, with a king. Are situations based on the bidding and my holding where I should try a Merrimac Coup before seeing dummy?

Are there situations where declarer was originally a responder, and might be short of entries, so that I should try a Merrimac Coup into the "closed" hand?

And can there be a Merrimac Coup with a card other than a king? Suppose I have A-Q of a suit as opening leader, lead the ace, and see a king (plus a long suit) in dummy. Would the lead of the queen to dummy's king constitute a Merrimac Coup?

2 Answers 2


It really depends. If you think declarer hasn't got enough tricks after your sacrifice of the K, and would absolutely need to establish dummy's suit, then yes, you could try it.

It is theoretically possible to execute the Merrimac on the opening lead, but the situation would probably be very rare. I haven't seen any, but I suppose given some time, we can cook up an example.

Yes, Merrimac can also be done on the closed hand, if you have a good enough read of the hand (which you should strive to, in any case).

And yes, using the Q to knock out the K can also be termed as a Merrimac Coup.

Not sure if I answered your question.

  • Pretty good answers to the question. Looking forward to more advanced examples (e.g. on opening lead).
    – Tom Au
    Sep 3, 2012 at 23:56

Merrimac coup is not just for defenders. Declarer can do it too. Supposing one opponent has preempted at the three level and your partner doubled and you bid 3NT holding two covers in the preempt suit with say AKx. Naturally they lead the preempt suit. You have a suit race- do they set up their long suit or do you set up all your tricks. You hope that the preempter has a particular ace or something like that holding Kx versus J10xx, you lead the king hoping that preempter has either to cash his trick or just surrender and let you keep the trick so you can add others in other suits to make game.

You can guess to have to do the Merrimac Coup for closed hand say the bidding goes 3C,-,3H,-,3NT, all pass. You have one stopper in clubs (or else you hope partner has a stopper) and then you or your partner wins the lead (unlikely for there to be chances any later than the first trick. Dummy has two suits covered well and a third suit not well covered. The third suit is the one you lead as its likely the closed hand has the entry to knocked out.This assumes that the long suit (clubs) is not immediately run-able- e.g. missing an ace or a king offside.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .