From 25th April, 2007, Board 24
Theme Squeeze Technique
Difficulty * * * *
Dlr West None Vul Hands Rotated
The auction was not a great success, 6♦ would have been a better spot. However, you are in 6♣, West leads the Spade Six, and your job is to make 12 tricks.
Itís safe to assume from the lead and the bidding that East has ♠KQJ and the K♥. He probably also has the Q♦ though this is not a complete certainty.
If you assume that you have 6 Club tricks then there is a total of 10 top tricks. Two more tricks could come from a successful Diamond finesse, but thatís unlikely to work, it would surely be better to play East for doubleton Queen.
Another possibility, after drawing trumps, is to cash the AK♦, and, if the Queen does not fall, to concede a Diamond to East. Now youíll have 11 tricks. Can a 12th be made on a squeeze? Actually, no, the threats in both Hearts and Spades are in the South hand, in front of West, and the squeeze does not operate.
So far, the best we have come up with is to play for the Q♦ to drop in two rounds. Can you think of anything better?
Itís frustrating to have threats against East in three different suits and yet, seemingly to be unable to find a squeeze against him. Well, there is a squeeze, though itís far from obvious and not without risk. Consider what happens if you duck the first trick! The risk is that East has 6 Spades and will return one at Trick Two, potentially promoting a trump trick. But, if that does not happen, the contract is cold! Letís say that East wins the first trick with the J♠ and returns a trump, won with Dummyís Ten. The A♣ is cashed, then the T♠ is led, covered by the Queen and ruffed. The last trump is drawn, then over on a Diamond for another ruffing Spade finesse. Eventually, West will be squeezed in Hearts and Diamonds.
This is the position after the second Spade ruffing finesse:
Immaterial ♠ 54
Declarer cashes the last Club, pitching a Diamond from the board, with West pitching a Spade. Then, over to the A♦ and, when Dummyís Spade winners are cashed, West is squeezed in the red suits.
Keys to Success
- Realizing that the Q♦ is likely to be with East
- Realizing that a Spade-Heart squeeze against East will not work (East sits over dummy's threat
- Going after the 11th trick in Spades, which requires the slightly risky duck of the first trick
- Cashing the last Club before crossing to Dummy to cash the Spades
Just to reiterate, even though East had to protect all three side-suits, the reason that this squeeze was so hard to organize was that East was sitting over our own threat cards, and, if the squeeze card were to be the last trump then Dummy would have to discard first. The Spade ruffing finesses not only set up the 11th trick, it also allowed the last free winner (the "squeeze card") to be a Spade played from the board. Now Declarer's Diamond threat is over East and the squeeze takes effect.
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