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Lucky Break

West Deals
N-S Vul
8 7 5 4
8 7
A K J 7 6 2
A K 6
A Q 10 3 2
Q 3
9 8 5
West North East South
Pass 1 Dbl Rdbl
2 2 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 3 NT
All Pass

Our auction was less than successful, and West started ominously, leading a club to East's ace. After taking the Q-J (with me pitching spades from dummy), a wonderful thing occurred - East shifted to the Q. Apparently, the clubs were blocked. Hallelujah! Now I could even make 10 tricks. Sure, I could have taken the nearly marked heart finesse, but on okbridge, you never know whether East has the full strength for his takeout double. It was matchpoints, so I considered risking it anyway, in an attempt to beat those in five diamonds making six.
But instead, I decided to play for a showup squeeze, playing for East to have four or more spades.
I played the A-K, and ran the diamonds. The end position, with one diamond to go, was:
8 7
? ?
? ?
On the last diamond, East must either give up a heart, or his high spade. If he gives up a heart, I pitch my spade and play a low heart to the ace. If East pitches a spade, my spade is good. If East had started with Q-J-x-x J-x-x-x-x x A-Q-J, then my line would drop West's stiff K, which would make me look like a genius.
Often, the showup squeeze at matchpoints is a big win - it gives you a chance for an overtrick without the risk of taking a losing finesse and going down. And occasionally you drop an honor offside.
In reality, the East/West hands were:
10 3
9 5
9 8 5
10 7 6 4 3 2
Q J 9 2
K J 6 4
10 4
and when East didn't pitch the high spade, my heart felled his K. On this hand, I might as well have finessed, but next time...
<< A Nice Endplay
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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