The Pitt coup is a play, by which the declarer places himself in a position to lead through his left hand opponent in a suit, in which the dummy holds a Major tenace over the left hand opponent's Minor tenace.

This play technique frequently involves the unblocking of a trump suit in dummy, and also may include a deliberate higher than necessary ruff with an honor in the closed hand so as to be able to lead low through West.

Note: The name of Pitt is evidently arbitrary and perhaps even honorary. This term, along with Chatham was a colloquialism among Whist players, especially in publications and written articles, to designate particular players. The name of William Pitt, who was also the Second Earl of Chatham and also known as Pitt the Younger, was born in the year 1759, and died in the year 1806. He was the British Prime Minister (1783-1801 and 1804-1806). He accomplished the Act of Union between Ireland and Britain (1800) but was unsuccessful in his efforts to achieve Catholic emancipation.

Note: Mr. George Dibdin Pitt, born in the year 1799 and died in the year 1855, who was a British playwright and who also created the fictional character of Sweeney Todd, may have also been the person referenced by the Pitt Coup.

The following example is illustrated in The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, Third Edition, New, Revised, and Expanded, published by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, New York, United States, 1976.

South (D)   West   North   East
1   Pass   2   3
3 NT   Pass   4   Pass
Pass   Pass        

West leads the nine of Hearts, which is won by East, who returns the suit. South wins with the King of Hearts. The Ace of Spades is led, on which the declarer calls for the eight from the dummy (maintaining a two-way finesse situation against the ten).

East's Queen marked West with four Spades to the ten. The declarer leads the Ace and another Diamond, hoping for and getting the 2-2 split in the suit.

West wins the second Diamond, and returns a Club, with the dummy discarding and East winning the Ace. East returns the high Heart, which the declarer ruffs with the King.

The lead of the seven of Spades permits South to take a finesse, playing dummy's six. A further Spade lead through West enables the declarer to unblock the high Diamond from his hand on the fourth Spade lead, and win the balance of the tricks in the dummy.

A Pitt coup is also described by Mr. George Sturgis Coffin in his publication Endplays at Bridge published in the year c1981 by Dover Publication of New York, New York, United States. ISBN-10: 0486242307, LC: 81069898.


Quoted from the publication.


The trump suit is Clubs. West won the last trick and is on lead. When West plays a Spade, South should ruff with the Ace to be able to finesse West's trumps.

End quoted text.



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.