Ross Taylor

Miami end play

I don’t know who coined the phrase “Miami end play”, nor do I know if the term is popular outside my own small sphere. So to explain and enlighten, a Miami end play arises when declarer totally misreads the end position, and either throws the wrong guy in; or in the most spectacular case – throws in someone who promptly claims !

Last week I was privy to just such a play – in fact, I like to think I had a hand in orchestrating it. The setting was our weekly money pairs game.


Dealer: South

Vul: Both

Dave Colbert Ross
KJ87 9
865 1092
107654 J92
9 KJ10854


South opened 1 heart, and North responded 1 spade. South rebid 1NT, which North propelled to 4NT – inviting a slam. South declined so the contract was 4NT by South. Dave led his lowest diamond.

South won the diamond in dummy and quickly played a spade to the queen, losing to Dave’s king. Back came another diamond. South could count ten top tricks, plus whatever was coming to her in spades.

Most people would continue the assault on spades, leading a spade towards dummy, intending to finesse the ten. Had South done this, she would have increased her trick count to 11, and on this layout, simultaneously noted spades split poorly.

She would then cash her Ace of clubs in dummy; cash the last diamond winner; and then run hearts. If her LHO had been blessed with the club king along with the four spades, a simple black suit squeeze falls into her lap, and twelve tricks would be there for the taking. If not, then +660 is a fine result.

Our South tried a different variant on this line of play – we’re not sure if she was preserving more options, or perhaps just a bit confused with her dummy technique. (not to mention trick count)

She did not try a second round of spades. She cashed the club queen immediately – a Vienna Coup play I suppose. She ran off her winners, coming down to….



Declarer then took a very deep view on this hand.

Granted, I as East, was pitching like a guy with the guarded jack of spades and the king of clubs. My last two pitches were the 8 and the Jack of clubs (hiding the ten and the five)

She decided her path to glory was to exit with the queen of clubs and force me to play a spade into the A10 tenace in dummy.

Instead, you could hear her sharp intake of breath when Dave showed out on the second round of clubs, and I cashed out two more hidden clubs for down 1 in 4NT.

We were all far too gracious to even crack a smile – only North fell from grace, since as dummy he woke up just in time to see the defense claiming and he began to sputter in confusion.

But get this, as East West, our +100 only matchpointed to 5/12 by the end of the evening !!

But we did have a funny story.


Dave Memphis MOJODecember 3rd, 2009 at 12:02 am

Cute story.

[…] I went down in. While I often make excellent declarer plays, I have successfully executed several Miami endplays […]

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