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Alternate Worlds

I was playing in a Robot Reward Tournament yesterday when I had this hand come up:

Contract: 7N (Thanks to GIB for that!) LEAD: 9

North
A63
42
AQ10985
65
South
K42
AQ3
K32
AKJ2
W
N
E
S
3
P
P
X
P
5
P
6NT
P
7NT
P
P
P

West opened 3 followed by 2 passes to me. In a Robot Reward Tournament, scored by total points, I usually attempt to speed through the hands since there is a time limit of 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, the highest score wins. Attempting to bid fast is my only excuse for my bidding, although I actually took a minute or so in the play. As usual the auction was a bit contrived, but I was playing with GIB, and having a normal auction with GIB is not easy. The 7N call was ridiculous, but it appears to have some play... Anyway, West leads the 9, plan the play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, there are 12 top tricks: 2, 1, 6, 3, the trouble is finding the thirteenth. Diamonds split 2-2, so there is not a problem with transportation. Therefore we move onto the next part: There are three possible suits to squeeze an opponent in, finding the order of plays to make it work is the problem. There are a few possible cases, we know West has 7H, so they have the heart guard. There are a few situations to consider:

1) LHO has the Heart Guard & 4 Clubs

2) LHO has the Heart Guard & <4 Clubs, <3 Spades

3) LHO has the Heart Guard & 3 (or more) Spades

 

A good start is to cash the HA, and begin running diamonds.  On running diamonds, you can pitch the two hearts in hand, since the H4 is acting as a threat in dummy (LHO is known to have 7H at this VUL). LHO will still be pitching hearts, and RHO will be pitching spades. If RHO ever pitches a club, you know he does not have exactly 4C, the ending will look like this:

North
A63
4
8
6
South
K42
AK2

What now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As it turns out, there is a 100% line:

When LHO has the club and heart guards, they will be squeezed out of them by running diamonds, and cashing the spades ending in dummy.

When LHO has only the Heart guard, RHO will be squeezed in the blacks on the run of the diamonds.

When LHO has  the Heart guard, and a shared spade guard with RHO, we have a double squeeze.

Although there appears to be a guess, you can clarify the situation by cashing the SK. If option 1 is working, LHO will have started with no spades, and will discard on the spade. If option 2 is working, the squeeze will already have happened, and we will discover this after we cash enough winners. If option 3 is working, LHO will follow to the SK, and we know to play for the Double Squeeze to be in operation.

LHO cannot have 4C, 3S, 7H and 2D, so one of the above cases must be true.

The middle case will happen automatically, so we can just look at position 1 and position 3. Those are the cases where our play matters.

Now, the last diamond comes off dummy. Let's look at the 3 possible positions... Fast forward each diagram to see the 6 card ending and the fatal trick(s):

1) LHO has the Heart Guard & 4 Clubs:

Something went wrong with this article that can probably be fixed by editing it. Here's what I know: Sorry, I couldn't understand hand: d=n&a=-7ns&v=0&e=sqjt9875h8d74cqt3&n=sa63h42daqt985c65&w=hkjt9765dj6c9874&s=sk42haq3dk32cakj2&p=c9c5c3cjhah5h2h8d2d6dad4d5d7dkdjskh6s3s5d3h7dqs7dts8h3h9d9s9hqhtd8sts2hjsasjs4

West becomes squeezed on the second spade.

2) LHO has <4 Clubs & <3 Spades:

Something went wrong with this article that can probably be fixed by editing it. Here's what I know: Sorry, I couldn't understand hand: d=n&a=-7ns&v=0&e=sqj9875h8d74cqt73&n=sa63h42daqt985c65&w=sthkjt9765dj6c984&s=sk42haq3dk32cakj2&p=c9c5c3cjhah5h2h8d2d6dad4d5d7dkdjsksts3s5d3h6dqs7dts8h3h7d9s9hqh9d8

East becomes squeezed on the final diamond.

3) LHO has the Heart Guard & 3 (or more) Spades:

Something went wrong with this article that can probably be fixed by editing it. Here's what I know: Sorry, I couldn't understand hand: d=n&a=-7ns&v=0&e=sqj95h8d74cqt8743&n=sa63h42daqt985c65&w=st87hkjt9765dj6c9&s=sk42haq3dk32cakj2&p=c9c5c3cjhah5h2h8d2d6dad4d5d7dkdjsks7s3s5d3h6dqc4dtc7h3h7d9s9hqh9d8sjs2htc6c8cahjck

East is squeezed on the final diamond, and must release his spade guard. Then West is squeezed three tricks later after crossing to hand with a spade, cashing a club (West releases his last safe card: The HJ), and leading the final club winner from hand.

 

In all 3 of these cases, we took the same line up to the end of the diamonds. In one case, we already are home. However the fatal squeeze happens at different times, and on different opponents. The problem was to decide which line worked, and which did not. By cashing the SK, this makes the position clear.

 

There are many other lines that may also work in some cases, however this line is a 100% guarantee to make once you know LHO has 7H. At the table, I took a slightly less-optimal line, but succeeded since the actual deal was position #2. Of course I would have much preferred position #3, Non-Simultaneous Double Squeezes are more fun!

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