A Three-suited Squeeze
North's 3 NT was a matchpoint stab - a good tactical bid.
Partner might be able to rattle off nine tricks when he gets in, and a
slower auction might let the opponents find the right lead.
West led the ♣ 2
, and declarer, Jacques Carel (wert on OKbridge) played
low from dummy, and East inexplicably played the ♣ 5
, letting Jacques
win the ♣ 6
in hand. East's play, while bad, doesn't seem to obviously
give up any tricks.
Jacques then ran six diamonds, pitching two spade and two hearts. West
pitched a heart and a spade, but on the last diamond has a problem:
||K Q 6 3
||Q J 4
East and Jacques both pitched spades, and West was squeezed in three suits.
If West pitched a heart, Jacques could duck a heart to West's stiff ace.
If West pitched a club, Jacques could play ace and a club, setting up
the ♣ J
while still holding an entry.
In reality, West pitched a spade, Jacques played the two black aces,
then threw in West with a club, forcing him to give up a heart trick
at the end.
What happens if East plays the ♣ 8
. Does that set the
This would be the end-position if East had played the ♣ 8
first trick. East has to keep two clubs to keep West from being squeezed.
On the last diamond, East pitches a heart, Jacques pitches a spade, and West
can pitch a spade. Now Jacques ducks the ♣ 10
West's ♣ K
, wins the spade or club return, cashes the other
black ace and exits a low club.
So the misplay did not cost East anything.
Okay, an overtrick here isn't worth much - only 13% more. Bidding and
making 3 NT was good enough to get a majority of the matchpoints.
Still, the spade pitch West chose (partly because partner echoed in his spade
pitches) was actually the pitch that made it easiest for Jacques to make
the overtrick without risk. If West had pitched a heart, it would have
required an iron will for Jacques to duck a heart. Jacques, who showed
me this hand, claimed he'd figured out the position, but it's certainly
better to make him work for it.