Join Bridge Winners
Which Squeeze MXI
(Page of 8)

West
North
43
AJ87632
AJ64
East
South
KJ109875
9
Q
KJ104
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
3
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
2
A
4
2
0
1
A
5
6
3
2
0
2
2
K
Q
4
3
1
2
3

This deal is from a recent declare-only tournament, with an all-robot auction. Go ahead and click through the first 3 tricks.

Now, how do you continue?

West
North
AJ8763
AJ64
East
South
J10987
9
Q
KJ10
W
N
E
S
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
5
3
3
3
1
0
10
6
6
7
3
2
0
Q
K
3

You have 9 tricks in and could easily establish a club for your 10th. But, you can just as easily establish a diamond for your 10th trick, and this at least has some possibilities for an 11th.

At the table I cashed another couple of spades (defenders pitching low clubs) before playing Q.

Our robot West covered with K.

Now what?

Ducking is no good, so win, cash J (club pitch) and ruff a diamond back to hand. You'll reach this 5-card ending:

West
North
AJ87
AJ64
East
South
987
9
Q
KJ10
W
N
E
S
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
K
A
2
1
1
0
J
7
10
3
1
2
0
4
8
7
5
3
3
0
3

We're pretty sure RHO has the protected Q, but either or both opponents could be stopping the red suits right now.

What is the best play to take the rest?

West
North
AJ87
6
East
South
98
9
KJ
W
N
E
S
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
9
5
7
4
3
1
0
8
9
8
10
3
2
0
2

No possibilities are lost if we just finish spades pitching hearts and then take stock in this 3-card ending:

North
AJ
6
South
9
KJ

Both opponents have followed to 1 club, 2 spades, and 3 diamonds, and had to pitch on 4 more spades. West pitches 3 clubs and a heart, while East pitches 2 clubs, a heart, and a diamond.

What now?

It basically plays itself, what can you do besides cash K? If West pitches a diamond, you’ll know what to do, and if not then the 6 is never going to stand up so you can pitch it. Maybe the Q will drop, but if not you’ll have nothing to do except try hearts, which in practice come in.

West
Q10
9
North
AJ
6
East
K
Q8
South
9
KJ
W
N
E
S
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
10
6
8
3
1
0
9
Q
A
K
1
2
0
J
3

As the discards were described, East was already squeezed twice out of a second heart and a diamond stopper, so the K effected a simple red-suit squeeze against West in the final ending.

Note that there were a couple of traps to avoid to get to this ending. Pitching a diamond early would be fatal, because you needed to ruff it to get back to hand. And all of dummy's cards are busy, so cashing the K before finishing spades would also ruin the ending.

The full deal:

West
Q6
Q105
K953
9652
North
43
AJ87632
AJ64
East
A2
K4
10872
AQ873
South
KJ109875
9
Q
KJ104
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
3
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
2
A
4
2
0
1
A
5
6
3
2
0
2
2
K
Q
4
3
1
2
J
5
3
3
3
2
2
10
6
6
7
3
3
2
Q
K
A
2
1
4
2
J
7
10
3
1
5
2
4
8
7
5
3
6
2
9
5
7
4
3
7
2
8
9
8
10
3
8
2
K
10
6
8
3
9
2
9
Q
A
K
1
10
2
J
13

Could the opponents have discarded better?

Yes and no. In the 5-card ending with RHO having Q and at least one heart honor, there was no defense to defeat accurate card reading.

West
Q105
9
9
North
AJ87
6
East
K4
10
Q8
South
98
9
KJ
W
N
E
S
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
9
5
7
4
3
1
0
8
9
8
K
3
2
0
K
9
6
8
3
3
0
9
10
4

This is a classic guard squeeze ending (though the 3-card ending is the one to learn). East is shown with stuff in all 3 suits, but can't pitch any clubs or the J is good, can't pitch 2 hearts or a heart finesse is established, and so must pitch one in each red suit to reach the earlier ending. That's not best at single-dummy though as it presents no card reading challenge. But, different pitches (illustrated in diagram) would present a guess.

Basically, West should pitch a heart as before but then a diamond to keep a club, and East should pitch both hearts even though it exposes the finesse. Now, when we cash K, both follow low. We lead a low heart, and West follows low. You can follow along by hitting next in the diagram above.

We're at trick 12.5 and we still have a guess. The Q is a certainty given the auction, but at least not proved by the defenders' plays. If the cards are as above, we've completed a pentagon guard squeeze and must take the finesse. However, they could have been like this:

West
105
109
9
North
AJ87
6
East
KQ4
Q8
South
98
9
KJ
W
N
E
S
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
9
5
7
4
3
1
0
8
9
8
K
3
2
0
K
9
6
8
3
3
0
9
10
4

If this was the layout, we've completed a mere simple squeeze (& against East), though played as a double (i.e., it would still work if J and 10 were switched, since West had to pitch a heart). Unfortunately, we have to guess. In this position, we would need to play A.

Careful readers will note that I asked about discards. Could the opponents have defended better?

Yes. After the opening lead, the defense was accurate to win and play 2 trumps, but covering the Q was a mistake. If the Q holds, we can cross to A and cash A (the original plan for a sure 10th trick after all), but then the hands are severed. We can also try running trumps as before, but the ending is not as tight:

West
Q105
K9
9
North
AJ8
AJ6
East
K4
10
Q87
South
87
9
KJ10
D

This time, East has an extra diamond to pitch and so can retain its heart stopper.

This leads me to think 2 things:

One, perhaps I should have advanced Q at trick 4 to make it harder not to cover.

Or, if I could count on the Q being covered, maybe I could have played for a simpler squeeze? I’ll switch Q and J, and to be sporting also strengthen the opponents' hearts. Indeed there’s another possible squeeze, though whether it’s simpler or not depends on your definition:

West
QJ5
K953
96
North
A10873
AQ64
East
K42
10872
Q8
South
J1098
9
J
KJ10
W
N
E
S
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
6
3
2
3
1
0
10
9
7
7
3
2
0
J
3
Q
8
1
3
0
A
10
10
5
1
4
0
4
2
8
9
3
5
0
9
5
8
4
3
6
0
K
J
6
8
3
7
0
9
Q
A
K
1
8
0
10
9

On the next two spades, West can pitch clubs, North hearts, but what does East pitch? A club is obviously no good, but coming down to 2 hearts or 3 diamonds is no better. Say a diamond is pitched. Now we take the diamond finesse (overtaking even if not covered!), cash A (club pitch) and ruff a diamond. Now with diamonds isolated, our last spade and K squeeze one opponent and then the other. A heart pitch on J10would fare no better.

This is a compound squeeze relying on trumps for transportation. The third heart and fourth diamond are both necessary for that purpose, since either Ace may need to be retained, you need a possible ruffer in each suit. Compared to the earlier guard squeeze, it has the advantage of working against any heart layout-if we can read the position-but the disadvantage of being a bit harder to read. Some might say the guard squeeze is more complicated almost by definition, but in practice the endings are smaller and often play themselves.

In any event that was changing the layout. The original question was, without changing the N/S layout, was there a different squeeze to play for?

There are a variety of layouts that might make 11 tricks. Perhaps the KQ is tight and can be ruffed out. In the "too loose" 6-card end position (where West ducked Q), if we switch 9 and 4, we have a red suit squeeze.

Or, what if the holder of the Q has honor-third in hearts and 5 diamonds? This is basically impossible for East, not only because it’s refuted by the auction, but also because it wouldn’t work anyway. But, if West has all that stuff, something interesting happens:

West
Q6
Q105
K9532
Q65
North
43
AJ87632
AJ64
East
A2
K4
1087
A98732
South
KJ109875
9
Q
KJ104
D

All I did was switch the location of the Q and swapped the 2 with the 2. Now after A, A, K we stay off the Q and resort to an obscure tactic: run a bunch of trumps.

West
Q105
K95
Q6
North
AJ87
AJ64
East
K4
1087
987
South
987
9
Q
KJ10
D

With 8 tricks to go, we have 6 obvious winners, and the possibility of a diamond finesse for a 7th if we can untangle it. But, we don’t really need that trick. The next trump crushes West. A red pitch allows us to ruff out that suit for 2 long winners, and a club pitch allows us to drop Q and establish J10. A non-repeating 2-trick triple squeeze.

But wait, there’s more! We didn’t really need the diamond finesse in this ending, so what if we change some diamonds around?

West
Q6
Q105
KJ532
Q65
North
43
AJ87632
A1064
East
A2
K4
987
A98732
South
KJ109875
9
Q
KJ104
D

After a club lead, what’s the key play for the defense to break up this squeeze?

.

.

.

.

East has to duck trick 1. If, for example, declarer wins cheaply, ruffs a club, and plays a spade, now win A and give partner a club ruff.

So maybe we did need that diamond finesse.

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