I was playing 6 NT
, a rather awkward slam. I won the heart with the
ace and led the ♣ K
, hoping to rectify the count and
squeeze East in diamonds and spades. Annoyingly, West wouldn't help
me; after a moment of thought, he ducked the ♣ K
This put me in a pickle, and the line I chose at the time was basically
to give up, taking my tricks and going home. I was a wimp, and got what I
There are actually a number of lines which give me a chance to make this
For example, assume West has both diamond honors and at most two spades.
Take the top spades, then play a diamond from hand, finessing if West
doesn't split his honors. Assuming he does split the diamond honors,
win in dummy, and run the hearts.
I am in this position:
On the last heart, I pitch the club Q. Assuming West had at least
six clubs for his call, I know the count in that suit at the end.
If he pitches down to one club, I endplay him in clubs and he is forced
to lead a diamond, giving me two more tricks in the suit. If he
pitches down to one diamond, I can drop his ♦ Q
This line also works if West started with a stiff diamond honor and
two or fewer spades, because East would be squeezed.
If West started with three or more spades and the ♦ Q-J
, and I ascertain this somehow, there is still a squeeze
on this line, but I have to be careful about him coming down to:
at the end. Then when I try to endplay him in clubs, he can
exit a spade. If I have reason to believe he is still holding
a spade, I have to play for the diamond drop.
If West has four spades, there is a different squeeze available. After
he ducks the club, I lead a low diamond to the ten. Assume that loses to
East, and East continues a spade. I win, cash ♦ A-K
and run the hearts.
On the last heart, we are at:
I pitch the ♣ Q
and West must give up in one of the black suits.
Notice how the ♣ 4
becomes a threat card once I know East has
no more clubs. West's bid has given me information which I would
not otherwise be able to work out.
Of course, it seems unlikely that West has both diamond honors,
and even more unlikely that West has four spades. Still, this
second line brings to mind other options. Notice that even though
the opponents have an ace outstanding, it is safe for me to rectify
the count in another suit as long, as I can lose the trick to East,
because he can't lead a club back. I might be able to later squeeze
him in spades and diamonds.
Clearly, I need to lose a spade trick to East, because losing a diamond trick
to him gives up my diamond threat. If he holds the ♠ Q-J-10, all I
need to do is lead a low spade to the nine. His best exit is a diamond
at this point - if he exits in a major suit, for instance, I don't even need
East to hold the diamond guard. Instead, I execute a double squeeze.
I win his return, and cash the two top spades. Now I cross to the
and run the hearts, pitching clubs from my hand. When the last heart is
played, the position is:
East must pitch a diamond, or I score my ♠ 5
. I pitch my spade,
and West must pitch a diamond or I score the ♣ 4
What if I play ♠ A
then a low spade, to protect against
a stiff queen, jack, or ten in West's hand? That seems to cause
entry problems if South exits a high diamond. I win the diamond
in dummy and run the hearts, to this four-card end position:
On the last heart, I need to guess what shape East has pitched down
to. East might fool me by pitching down to:
and yielding the ♠ J
on the last heart.
So are there any other options? What about a squeeze without rectifying
the count? Assume East is guarding both diamonds and spades. After West
ducks the club, I simply cross to the ♦ K
and run the hearts:
On the last heart, if East pitches a diamond, I get another diamond,
and if East pitches a spade, I pitch a diamond, and play three rounds
of spades, setting up the fourth. When East is in, he has to lead a diamond
to the ace and my good spade is my twelfth trick. A good East will put me
to a guess at the end. For example, he might unguard the spades,
pitching down to three early, and then, on the last heart, pitch the
But if West can find the club duck and East can find such a deceptive
sequence of pitches, perhaps I should concede the hand to their superior
For a hand I gave up on, there certainly were quite a few options.