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Morton's Fork Coup - A choice offered by the declarer for the defender to possibly win a trick with a low card, allowing declarer to subsequently promote the suit.  Should the defender refuse to take the trick, the declarer discards the losing honor on a winner in a side suit.

The English Cardinal Morton, a Chancellor under King Henry VII, used a "forking" logic to enrich the King's coffers using the following logic:

A spendthrift must have funds available for tithing and donations

An extravagant spender must have considerable (discretionary) funds available for tithing and donations

Ergo, everyone has funds available for tithing and donations

Here's how Morton's Fork Coup comes into play by a defender (West here):

  K Q J x
K x x
A K Q J
K x
 
x x
A J x x x
x x
x x x x

Contract: 6S

Declarer: South

x x
T x x x
x x x x
J T x
  A T x x x
Q x
x x x
A Q x
 

West safely leads a Spade, won by South with the SA who plays a second trump to the SJ.  South then plays a low Heart to the King.  West is a victim of Morton's Fork Coup, with a difficult decision to play the HA, HJ, or Hx.  However, if West does not go up with the HA, West will not receive any tricks -- South could then discard a losing Heart on the Dummy's fourth Diamond, making 13 tricks (5 Spades, 1 Heart, 4 Diamonds, and 3 Clubs)

Also see Coups, Crocodile Coup, Robert Coup, Vienna Coup and books on Coups, End Plays, Squeezes
 

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