An idiot coup is a defensive play that invites declarer to literally play the hand as if the defenders were idiots.

In the following layout, imagine that declarer needs 5 tricks from spades. He starts by leading a low spade toward dummy:

Dummy
AKT93
WestEast
J5 Q2
Declarer
S8764


West follows with the SJ as if he were a blockhead ostensibly splitting his spade honors. If the coup works, declarer will win this trick in dummy, cross back to his hand in a side suit, and lead a second spade toward dummy. West will play low, declarer will finesse, and East will win the SQ. Idiot!

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