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Restricted Choice

North Deals
Both Vul
Matchpoints
From: OKbridge
K 10 9
K 9 8
K 8 6 2
Q 10 9
7 3 2
6 2
A 7 3
J 8 7 4 2
 
Q J 8 4
A 10 7 4
J 10 9 4
6
A 6 5
Q J 5 3
Q 5
A K 5 3
West North East South
Pass Pass 1 NT
Pass 3 NT All Pass

Against 3 NT, West led the 7, which went to the 10, jack, and ace.
Declarer then led a heart to the king and ace, and East exited with the J. This was duck all around, and East continued with a low diamond to the queen and West's ace. West continued with his last diamond, won in dummy, declarer pitching a spade from hand. Declarer then cashed his two hearts and three rounds of clubs at this position:
K 10
8
9
3 2
J 8
 
Q 8
10
9
6
3
K 5
Declarer has found nothing breaking. Still, on the K, East is squeezed in three suits. If he parts with the a spade, declarer gets two spade tricks. If he parts with a diamond, dummy's diamond is good. And if he parts with a heart, declarer's heart is good.
This is a triple squeeze. Note that the count has not been rectified.
Sadly, our declarer decided that West led the 7 from a doubleton, and therefore thought the end position was:
K 10
8
9
3
9
J 8
 
Q 8 2
10
6
3
K 5
When East parted with a spade, declarer led his last heart, which declarer hoped would force East to lead spades into the K-10. As the cards were, however, East cashed the 9, setting the contract.
Might West's spade lead be from a doubleton? It certainly might, but West is know to have started with only two hearts. If he held two small hearts and two small spades, and he chose to lead a major, about half of the time he would lead a heart. But with three spades and two hearts, he will almost always choose the spade.
This is a subtle form of restricted choice, and I think it leads to the conclusion that West is more likely to have started with three spades.
The spade lead was the only one with a chance to set this contract. All other leads give declarer his ninth trick.
<< A Little Too High
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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