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Wishful Thinking

West Deals
N-S Vul
IMPs
From: OKbridge
A 7 3 2
A J 2
K
A J 9 7 4
 
K J
K 9 5
A 9 8 7
Q 10 8 3
West North East South
2 3 Pass 3 NT
Pass 6 NT All Pass

Okay, I said I was not going to manufacture hands, but I saw an inkling of something interesting in a hand today, and created this hand to illustrate the point.
This contract is what you deserve for not supporting partner. 6 was an easy contract, but you've stumbled into an awkward notrump slam.
West starts with a surprising lead, the Q. You know West's style, and, in particular, after this lead you strongly suspect that East holds the Q and the K. Is there any way to salvage this contract?
There is, if West holds the 10 along with the rest of the high diamonds. You win the lead in dummy and start playing clubs.
East wins the K at some point. You win East's spade return in hand, and run the rest of your clubs.
At the last club you have reached this position:
A 7 2
A J 2
A
Q 10
10 8 5
J 10
 
Q 7 5
6 5 4 3
J
K 9 5
A 9 8
You pitch a diamond, and West is stuck with an awkward decision.
If he chooses his "obvious" discard of a heart, you play the A and J, smothering West's 10. Whether East covers or not, you win the third heart in hand, on which trick West is squeezed in spades and diamonds.
If West pitches a diamond, you cash the A, then lead the J. East must cover, to keep you from making three heart tricks. You cash the A-9, and West is caught in a major suit squeeze.
A spade pitch gives you three spade tricks, plus two hearts and a diamond.
So, maybe the spade switch by East was the problem. What happens if he continues diamonds when he is in with the K?
You'd be forced to pitch a heart from dummy then run the clubs, reaching this position:
A 7 3 2
A J
A
Q 10 8
10 8 5
10
 
4
Q 7 4
6 5 4
K J
K 9 5
9 8
If West pitches a spade, you have four spade tricks and two hearts. If West pitches a heart, you play the A-J, pinning the 10. If East covers, you simply cash the 9, and West is again caught in a diamond-spade squeeze. If East doesn't cover, you still have a spade entry to hand to cash the K, again squeezing West.
If West pitches a diamond, you again play the A-J. East is forced to cover, or you have three heart tricks, a diamond, and two spades. You win, and, on playing the diamond winner, West is caught in a major suit squeeze again.
This is a repeating squeeze (sometimes called a progressive squeeze), which provides you two extra tricks. If West ungaurds the spades, you get two tricks immediately. If he ungaurds hearts or diamonds, West will be caught in a simple squeeze in the other two suits.
The basic repeating squeeze ending would look something like:
A 7 2
2
Q 10
10
J
 
7 4
6 2
J
9
9
A
When South plays the A here, West is caught. As above, if West pitches the spade declarer has three spade tricks, while a red-suit pitch gives declarer one trick immediately, and another via a simple squeeze in the other two suits.
This basic squeeze position can't be reached in our original deal, because the squeeze card (the last club) is in the hand with the long spade suit.
Normally, if we give a squeezed hand even better cards, he is squeezed again. On this hand, parodoxically, if West started with the Q-x-x, the squeeze is ineffective. Switching the Q and the 10, we get this position:
A 7 2
A J 2
A
Q 10
Q 8 5
J 10
 
10 7 4
6 5 4 3
J
K 9 5
A 9 8
Again, West cannot pitch a spade or a diamond on the club, but the heart pitch is now safe. It gives declarer a third trick in hearts, but he must win the third heart in dummy, and therefore, when that time comes, West can safely pitch a diamond.
Of course, if West had the Q, declarer could make simply by finessing in hearts and then running a squeeze in spades and diamonds.
Why, you might ask, must you not take the club finesse, to give yourself another chance? It's a case of limited entries.
If you lead a spade to the king and then take the club finesse, East will exit in diamonds. You will be at this uncomfortable crossroad:
A 7 2
A J 2
A J 9 7
Q 10 x x x
10 8 5
J 10
 
Q x x x
x x x x
x x
J
K 9 5
A 9 8
10 8 x
What would you pitch from dummy under the A? With the K still in your hand, you could safely pitch a heart from dummy. But here that isn't so safe. When you play the last club, West can pitch a heart. When you play the A-J, East will obstinately refuse to cover. The K would now be good, but you'd have no entry to cash it and effect the spade-diamond squeeze.
Clearly, you can't pitch a club, and if you pitch a spade, your spade suit will only be a threat to take one trick, and West can ungaurd it freely, giving you one extra trick, but breaking up the progressive aspect of the squeeze. On the last spade, West will be pitching after you do.
Okay, what if, at trick two, you lead the J, forcing East to cover. You win the king and take the club finesse. East wins and exits a spade:
A 7 3 2
A 2
A J 9 7
Q 10 x x x
10 8 5
J 10
 
x
x x x
x x x x
x x
K J
9 5
A 9 8
10 8 x
Now, whether you play the spade king or jack , your entries are all tangled up. The K is a disaster, because you now have no entry to your hand. Therefore, you play the J, West covers, and you win the ace. You then run your clubs:
7 3 2
A 2
J
10 8
10 8
J 10
 
x x
x x x x
J
9 5
A 9 8
It looks like West is caught in the repeating sqeeze again, but the entries are all wrong. West can not pitch a diamond or spade, but again, the heart pitch is safe, because there are no link cards for the spade-diamond squeeze.
Clearly, this is a delicate hand.
One last thought. This line works really only if West's hand was one of the following:
(A)
Q x x x x x
10 x x
Q J 10 x
(B)
Q x x x x x
10 x x
Q J 10
x
(C)
Q x x x x x
10 x
Q J 10
x x
(D)
Q x x x x x
10 x
Q J 10 x
x
(E)
Q x x x x x
10 x x x
Q J 10
Note that in (C) and (D), West is not really squeezed - he was dealt unguarded hearts.
The problem is that declarer will have to make up his mind at the 6-card end position. It will be pretty obvious if West pitches aways his spades. But what if West pitches away a high diamond? This is, in fact, a case where the false card is mandatory. West only needs one trick, and the void in dummy means that pitching a high diamond can't do any harm. If West ever pitches a low diamond ever, declarer is going to get the hand right.
<< Anticipation
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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