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An Early Squeeze

K Q 8 3
K 6 5 3
3
K 8 3 2
J 10 9 6
Q 10 9 2
K 10 9 5
6
 
7 5 4
J 8
A J 6 2
J 10 9 7
A 2
A 7 4
Q 8 7 4
A Q 5 4
South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3 NT All Pass

West led the J, which declarer won in hand. On a 3-2 club break, this contract would be cold, but that was not to be today.
Still, declarer found a way to put West through the wringer, simply by running the top clubs. On the second club West could afford to pitch a heart. On the third club, West began to sweat a little. He obviously could not pitch a spade or another heart, so he was forced to pitch a diamond. Declarer then exited with the fourth club at this position:
K Q 8
K 6 5 3
3
8
10 9 6
Q 10 9
K 10 9
 
7 5
J 8
A J 6 2
J
2
A 7 4
Q 8 7 4
5
West has to hold onto his major suit guards, so he again pitches a diamond. But now the opponents can only take two diamond tricks, so declarer can safely take the time to set up his hearts.
So maybe the heart pitch wasn't so wise, after all. What if West, instead, simply discards two diamond on the first two clubs? At the fourth club, West again can't pitch a spade. If he pitches a heart, we get the same position as before, so West must pitch a third diamond.
Declarer wins East's heart exit in dummy and ducks a diamond to West's stiff king. West exits another heart, won in hand.
K Q 8
6 5
10 9 6
Q 10
 
7 5
A J 6
2
7
Q 8 7
Declarer, in hand, leads a low spade to dummy, forcing West to play either the 9 or 10. Then declarer exits the heart, and West is forced to concede a trick in spades. The defense gets two hearts, a diamond and a club.
<< An Intriguing Trump Squeeze
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
Another Three-suited Squeeze >>
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