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Guard Squeezes Simplified, Part II
(Page of 2)

North
A432
A
AK10
AKQ32
South
K65
KQ32
32
J1054
W
N
E
S
2
7NT
P
P
P

Last time in Part I we saw these N/S cards but faced a 2 opening by West and a 2 opening by East. Today, we face...

Problem C: East opens 2, and West leads a diamond.

Last time, we came down to Ending 1 regardless of the preempt. Will that work here?

North
2
K10
South
Q2
2

If East has spades, and both opponents started with red-suit stoppers, this squeeze will fail for lack of a basic menace. West keeps hearts while East keeps the pointed suits, and Q will squeeze dummy before East.

So, we need another tack. What do we do?

Instead finish hearts before clubs, pitching spades from dummy, to come down to:

(Ending 2)

North
2
K10
2
South
K5
2
2

We still follow the basic prescription of keeping winners and throwing losers, but some care is needed to choose which loser to throw. On the last club, pitch a spade from hand unless it will set up (we have a count from the auction and/or West’s play to A). Then K, take heart if good, otherwise play a diamond, hooking if RHO pitched an honor. This will make so long as diamond honors are split (as well against some other layouts).

The principle guiding that pitch is that we’ve already finished squeezing East, and they will continue to stop the 5 (crowding out other stoppers they might otherwise hold) even after we pitch it and even after we cross to K. Our 2 might still pressure West, though, and needs to be retained.

This ending differs from problems A & B (from part I) in that the guard menace is not accompanied by any other menaces. On the one hand, this removes the need for recessing (the heart Qx/- in Ending 1), but it makes the squeeze positional: the squeeze card (here, a club) must be played from the hand with the guard menace, and, after East plays, a careful discard made from the hand opposite. Actually, the previous club was also a squeeze card, potentially. But we shouldn’t really care about that.

In any event, the requirements are fundamentally the same. We have a guard menace (diamonds) where we threaten a finesse after the squeeze (thanks here to K entry to lead a diamond). We also threaten to squeeze West in hearts and diamonds. The magic of the guard squeeze assures us of that chance if nothing easier develops: in the 3-card ending, East will still have 2 spades and a stiff diamond honor, thus West will indeed have sole charge of the reds.

So that’s two positions worth knowing. What’s the half? Guard squeezes often have “twin entry” guard menaces, such as K10x/Ax with a guarded honor onside and Hx(x) offside (sometimes it must be doubleton for the squeeze to work, like Problem A where West opened 2). With the earlier ending, that won’t be necessary, though it can be useful for access to the hand opposite the guard menace after finishing the free suit. I don’t count that as even half a position.

With ending 2, though, a twin-entry guard menace could serve the same transportation requirements met above by the K. It would look like:

(Ending 2.5)

North
A103
2
South
5
2
K2

On the 2, if East retains Hx to prevent a finesse, they will only keep at most one major stopper. Pitch the major they still stop (known to be spades in our recent example) and West will be squeezed between diamonds and the other major. If it is possible for West to stop both majors while East stops the third round of diamonds, then there was never any basic menace and never any squeeze.

For fans of Love’s treatment of double squeezes, that would be akin to a B1-Twin Entry ending, while problem C is akin to an “RFL”, where our last link is in the basic menace suit (L). The key is that the 5 exerts pressure on East even after it’s pitched. This can happen if we meet our subsequent transportation needs in suits East stops, but not if we try to do so in suits only West stops.

Could we have played this way in problem A, with diamonds as the basic menace? Yes, but we would have to read the position. The spade suit allows us to place a menace in either hand. How to select where is best is slightly beyond the scope of this article.

Finally...

Problem D: West opens 2.

Now we have a basic menace against West in spades, but the guard menace is against East. East cannot be triple squeezed, so no guard squeeze will result. It’s probably best to play East for 5 hearts and aim for an ordinary double squeeze (or potentially, “as a double” squeeze) around diamonds. Or, wait for Clash Squeezes Simplified (forthcoming) where we move the 10 to South and West leads Q with 6430 shape.

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