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All comments by Stefan Ralescu
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If declarer’s hand is (say) x, QJxxxx, Jxxx, xx (without the 9 of diamonds), I think that if North switches to a diamond at trick 2, declarer can’t score more than 2 diamonds and 3 trump tricks, therefore going down 4.
July 21
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Assuming East is 1=4=4=4 with the (expected) king of hearts, win the SK, DA, H8 ruff, DK, D ruff, S10 squeezing East in 3 suits. Nice ending if that’s what you had in mind.
June 29
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Knowing that South has played the H2 at trick 1 (giving suit preference), low heart seems right.
April 2, 2018
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I don’t like the presentation of this problem.

Anyway, I return a club, playing partner for something like Qxxx, Qxxx, Ax, xxx (where the x’s are low cards).

Why?

If I return a diamond, declarer can easily score 8 tricks, most likely 9. On a heart return, declarer ruffs in dummy, crosses to the ace of clubs, draws trumps (pitching diamonds from the table), finesses the club jack and claims.

The club return is the killing defense in this scenario.
April 1, 2018
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Not a good idea to show full deals with x’s, especially since one of them could be a relevant card. To see my point, assume South is 2=3=7=1 with a club honor and East holds the 10 of clubs. In this scenario, once the DJ wins trick 1, a low club at trick 2 would be a mistake. Instead, declarer plays a top diamond at trick 2, and follows with the CK and a club to the 10, making his contract (this play would have worked on the actual deal too).
March 16, 2018
Stefan Ralescu edited this comment March 16, 2018
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“The winning play is to RUFF A LOW CLUB….Instead, suppose East overruffs with the jack and plays the high diamond, ruffed and overruffed…”

No, West (with an initial 2=4=2=5 shape) should NOT overruff. Since declarer has already lost three tricks (the DA, a diamond ruff and a club overruff), to defeat the contract West should PITCH a club at trick 10 and the defense is guaranteed to take the last three tricks.
Feb. 13, 2018
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Give West a 6=4=0=3 shape with AJ10432 of spades and 3NT is down on a spade opening lead.
Oct. 2, 2017
Stefan Ralescu edited this comment Oct. 2, 2017
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No, after four rounds of diamonds, West is left with AJ2 of spades and East with three spades. If you give up a club you will lose 5 tricks: 3 spades, a club and a diamond (if West wins the club, he plays ace-jack-deuce of spades).
Oct. 2, 2017
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Suppose West is 5=4=1=3 with AJ1032 of spades and leads the spade three. If South starts cashing diamonds, on the second and third diamonds West can discard hearts and on the fourth diamond West pitches a middle spade.

If South plays a spade at trick 2, West can lead a high heart at trick 3.

There is no squeeze.

I guess you overlooked the fact that when West has 1 diamond, East has 5.
Oct. 2, 2017
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“If ”West has the rest of the deck“, and 3 clubs, then 3NT is cold on a Hearts-Clubs simple squeeze.”

I don't think this is correct.
Oct. 1, 2017
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Very nice.
This is probably a Hedgehog Squeeze first analyzed by Hugh Darwen in the late 60th. Actually, a spade opening lead would indeed kill the squeeze, but a heart will not do the job. On a heart lead, you win the ace, run diamonds and on the penultimate diamond, West is triple squeezed.
May 10, 2017
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Sorry Garry, you are miscounting, the defense will not be able to collect two club tricks.
April 12, 2017
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BTW, I should have pointed out that when East ducks the club at trick 5 and South runs his remaining trumps, the last trump catches West in a Wombat!
April 11, 2017
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No, I don’t thinks so. If East ducks the club, South plays all his remaining trumps, keeping Axx of clubs and the ace of hearts, while North remains with Q-x of hearts, the diamond ace, and the jack of clubs.
What are West’s four remaining cards?
April 11, 2017
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If East ducks the club, it appears the ten tricks is a maximum. However, you can overcome this defense by running the remaining trumps. The play of the last trump inexorably squeezes West in the rounded suits, as he will be compelled to find a discard from K-x of hearts and x-x-x of clubs. If West parts with a club, concede a club and win the rest. Alternatively, if West pitches a heart, cash the heart ace and endplay East with the king of clubs.
April 11, 2017
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Well done trying for a smother play even if you weren’t successful.

Let’s make an adjustment to the full deal shown on page 2, giving North
AQ3, KQ2, J74, AK106 and East 8, A1054, Q10983, Q95 (with the West and South hands remaining unchanged). Assuming the same defense, South doesn’t have 10 ‘straightforward’ tricks via a dummy reversal and it appears that he is bound to lose a trick in each suit. In this variant the conditions are such that a smother play must be used to make the losing trump trick disappear.
Actually, quite a few trump layouts are subject to this type of coup. If you enjoy investigating such variations, you may find them entertaining and instructive.
April 4, 2017
Stefan Ralescu edited this comment April 4, 2017
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Nice deal and analysis. In the five-card ending, when the heart is led from dummy at trick 10, East is under attack by a ruffing Hippopotamus, threatened by a split vise menace in clubs.

Barry Rigal and I wrote a series of articles (titled “Hippopotamuses”) on this kind of squeezes. The first installment is scheduled to appear in the June issue of The Bridge World.
Feb. 10, 2017
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This is a summary of the play at the table: diamond ace, spade queen, diamond king, spade ace, diamond queen, club king, club ten, spade king.

“Suppose East started with king-doubleton of hearts”, writes Kit. “You ruff with the 8, and West overruffs with the 9. But you will be okay since East's king will drop.”

What did Kit apparently miss?
Dec. 29, 2015
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Ruffing choices ?

On the line described, I don’t see how ruffing with the 8 could be more beneficial than ruffing with the 10.
Dec. 27, 2015
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After A-K-Q of clubs and a spade return, why not play spade ace, diamond ace, spade ruff, diamond king, heart ace, spade ruff. If the king drops, draw trumps ending in dummy and claim. If the king doesn’t fall, you have a complete cross-ruff as long as West is 4=2=4=3.
Nov. 28, 2015
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