Here one defender is squeezed in three suits, not the usual two. Sometimes, a Triple Squeeze will produce two extra tricks, the so-called Progressive Squeeze.
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The final contract is 3NT. Looking at all four hands you can count 11 tricks if you guess the Spades correctly. But if Westís opening lead is a low Club then there will be no guess! Look what happens:
Low Club, low from Dummy, Jack, Ace
Diamond to Dummyís Queen
Diamond to Westís Ace
Club to Dummyís King
Spade to Declarerís King
Diamonds are cashed
Here is the position with one Diamond left to be cashed:
♠ T85 ♠ J
♥ KJ ♥ T954
♣ Q ♣ 7
When the last Diamond is led what should West pitch? He knows from the bidding that Declarer must have the ♥Q, so pitching a Heart is out. He also knows that pitching a Spade will give away that suit. And depending on how sophisticated are the E-W carding agreements, he may or may not know where the ♣9 is. If West is an optimistic fellow, and is not sure of the whereabouts of the ♣9, he might dump the ♣Q, which turns out to be doubly fatal! Now Declarer cashes the ♣9 and West is squeezed in the majors! 12 tricks on a (pseudo-) Progressive Squeeze!
When that last Diamond was played, West had to pitch a Spade. That gives Declarer her 11th trick but there is no 12th, as West is sitting over Declarerís Heart and Club holdings and is not further squeezed on the run of the Spades.
Declarer made a good play at Trick 1! By ducking in Dummy, East was forced to play the Jack, meaning that now only West could guard the Club suit. If Declarer had won the first trick on the board then there would be no squeeze and Declarer would have to guess the Spades correctly for 11 tricks. Well, not entirely true, because if Declarer guesses wrong and plays the Spades from the top then West can be thrown in with a Spade and forced to lead a Heart!
3NT by West is held to 10 tricks by that Spade lead but, with East at the helm, 11 tricks can be made in exotic fashion. South leads a Diamond won by Declarer (he must not duck, he cannot afford a Spade switch). Now Declarer leads the ♥K to Southís Ace, wins the Diamond return, cashes the ♥QJ, then ♣A, ♣K, Club finesse, and the remaining Clubs. This is the position with one Club left to play:
♠ A8 ♠ Q3
♥ 7 ♥
♦ 8 ♦ 5
♣ ♣ 4
When the last Club is led, South has these unpleasant choices:
- Pitch a Diamond: Thatís the worst choice as South now falls victim to a progressive squeeze (Declarer cashes the Diamond next, squeezing South in the majors), and Declarer has no fewer than 12 tricks!
- Pitch a Heart: That allows Dummyís Heart to become the 11th trick.
- Pitch a Spade: Well, at least that gives Declarer a guess for his 11th trick Ö he can either throw South in with a Diamond, playing him to have two Spades and no Hearts left (scoring just 10 tricks), or he can guess right and take his Spade tricks.
In the featured auction that 4♦ was a Texas Transfer.
If North is on lead she will no doubt start with the A♠, after which a simple Spade ruffing finesse nets 12 tricks. But, suppose that South is on lead and she somewhat randomly starts with a Diamond. Now, itís 13 tricks for Declarer! Yes, North is caught in a Progressive Squeeze Ö Declarer has 11 top tricks, but North is squeezed in 3 suits on the run of the trumps. Dummy wins the opening Diamond lead, and cashes 7 Hearts. Ouch for North! She must come down to 5 cards and all variations lead to North being squeezed out of not just one, but two tricks. Making 7!
Time for a reality check! That Progressive Squeeze is pure fantasy, of course. If the Spade honors are split, and likewise the Club honors, then this line of play is good for just 11 tricks. The realistic line of play after the Diamond opening lead is to draw trumps, pitch a Spade on the Diamonds, concede a Club, and ruff the third round of Clubs on the board. How mundane, the Progressive Squeeze was much more fun!
East will probably lead a Spade, ducked on the board, won by Westís Jack. The Q♠ is played, won by Eastís Ace, followed by a 3rd round of Spades won on the board. With the Diamonds 2-2, Declarer has 10 cashing tricks at this point, but thereís a chance for a nice play. Yes, Declarer must cash his A♣ before running the Diamonds! In the 3-card entry, East will be squeezed in Hearts and Clubs and that will be 11 tricks for Declarer. Note that the squeeze does not operate without cashing the A♣ early (the so-called Vienna Coup).
It was obliging of the defense to cash two Spades and tighten up the position so that the squeeze could take effect. Is it better for East to duck the Q♠ continuation at Trick Two? No, itís even worse! Dummyís K♠ wins the trick, as before the A♣ is cashed, and 7 Diamonds are played. East is caught in a progressive squeeze now! He must come down to 3 cards, and is squeezed in 3 suits:
- If he bares the K♥, Declarer will score two extra Heart tricks
- If he throws his Spades, Dummyís Nine will be good, and when that card is played, East is squeezed for the second time
- If he throws his K♣, the J♣ is cashed and again East is squeezed for the second time.
In all cases itís 12 tricks for Declarer.
The way to hold Declarer to 10 tricks is for East to shift to a Heart or a Club at Trick Two, but thatís not an obvious defense. From Westís point of view, East might have the Ax of Diamonds, in which case it is essential to continue Spades and knock out Dummyís entry.
After Eastís 2♠ reverse, West had more than enough points and stuff in the unbid suits for 3NT. Northís obvious opening lead is a Club, won by Southís Ace. The Club return is ducked in Dummy and won by Northís Ten, at which point North cannot profitably continue the suit, so she shifts to a Spade won by Declarer. Now, Declarer can count 7 top tricks, with hopes of a 3-3 Heart break for 9. Also, there is a Diamond trick that can be established, and that should be done right away while Declarer still has the A♥ entry to hand. So, the K♦ is led, won by Northís Ace and another Spade comes back. Now what? Declarer is up to 8 tricks, and still hoping for a 3-3 Heart break. However, the best chance to make the contract (but giving up on 10 tricks) is to duck a Diamond next, which makes the contract whenever either red suit breaks.
But perhaps Declarer will decide to go for the gusto, playing on Hearts before Diamonds, risking the contract while trying for 10 tricks. After winning the second Spade return, he cashes three rounds of Hearts getting the bad news. Now it looks as if Declarer is down one, but look what happens, this is the position before Declarer cashes the third Spade:
♠ ♠ Q8
♥ ♥ 93
♦ Q97 ♦ 3
♣ KJ ♣
When that Q♠ is cashed, Declarer pitches a Diamond and North is squeezed in three suits! Whatever she pitches gives Declarer his 9th trick (and a 10th too if a Heart is pitched). A rare Triple Squeeze!
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