Join Bridge Winners
Break it up
(Page of 4)

In the Swiss stage of the GNT, Open flight, your opponent makes a brave second-round double to get to a close game...will you beat it? 

 

North
AJ84
KJ83
6
10964
East
Q106
75
1042
AQ732
W
N
E
S
3NT
P
4
P
4
X
P
4
P
P
P

 

Partner's 3NT showed a solid 7-card minor with no outside A or K. This looked like probably down a few, so you chose to run to 4, pass or correct.

 

Your partner cashes a high diamond and switches to the 5, declarer following with the 8. Plan the defense. Post-mortem begins next page.

 

 

West
752
Q4
AKQJ973
5
North
AJ84
KJ83
6
10964
East
Q106
75
1042
AQ732
South
K93
A10962
85
KJ8
W
N
E
S
3NT
P
4
P
4
X
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

You know a lot about the hand. Partner appears to have a singleton club (and if he doesn't you have no chance anyway.) A club ruff is your third trick. Declarer is 2-3 in the minors. If his majors are 4-4, he can never make. If 2-6, he can never go down. The important case, and a likely one, is that he is 3-5-2-3 as shown. Is the spade loser then inevitable? No. If partner ruffs and returns, say, a diamond, declarer can ruff and run his winners, coming down to a classic automatic-squeeze position capitalizing on the split menace in spades, with AJ T in dummy and K9x in hand. You're squeezed down to Qx in spades; if partner had the 9 that would be ok, but if not the 9 becomes good. It's easy to prevent this, of course: just return the 7 to signal for a spade return. This breaks up the split spade menace needed for the squeeze. This is how the defense went at the table. Down one?

 

West
752
Q4
AKQJ973
5
North
AJ84
KJ83
6
10964
East
Q106
75
1042
AQ732
South
K93
A10962
85
KJ8
W
N
E
S
3NT
P
4
P
4
X
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

No. After a spade to the T and K, declarer ruffed a diamond, ran trumps without cashing the K, and eventually came down to 9x K in hand and A T9 in dummy. East kept two clubs and came down to stiff Q in hopes partner had the 9, but declarer had it and made 4. It was a perfect criss-cross squeeze, with no possibility of defensive falsecarding since the club position was known. So East couldn’t “break it up” after all, but it looks like he did all he could; he just needed the 9 from partner, otherwise he was helpless. Right?

West
752
Q4
AKQJ973
5
North
AJ84
KJ83
6
10964
East
Q106
75
1042
AQ732
South
K93
A10