California Winkle

By Paul Bethe


I played this deal in the second round of the Thursday-Friday KOs. I was playing with my dad, Henry.


Dlr: East                   S  8 2

Vul: Both                   H  8 6

                            D  J 9 5 2

                            C  A K 7 3 2


            S  7 5                            S  Q J

            H  K 4                            H  A 10 7 5 3

            D  K 10 6 3                       D  Q 8 7

            C  Q J 10 5 4                     C  9 8 6


                            S  A K 10 9 6 4 3

                            H  Q J 9 2

                            D  A 4

                            C  ---


          WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

           -           Dad            -           Me

           -            -            2H (1)       Dbl

          Pass         3C (2)        Pass         4S

          All Pass


          (1) Bailey weak-two bid.

          (2) Constructive values.


Notice that I had stayed out of the laydown contract of 3NT to play 4S. A trump lead will beat me off the top but since East's bid guaranteed one of the top three heart honors, West felt safe leading the HK. Seeing the dummy, he switched to a spade, trying to stop heart ruffs. I won and exited the HQ. East did best by returning the SQ (any other return allows me to make five).


Now I had a problem --- after losing two hearts I still had a diamond and a heart loser. Having read about all sorts of squeezes that rely on running all the trumps I figured running a few rounds might be useful. So I cashed four more spades to come to this position:


                            S  ---

                            H  ---

                            D  J 9 5

                            C  A K


               S  ---                 S  ---

               H  ---                 H  10 7

               D  K 10 6 3            D  Q 8 7

               C  Q                   C  ---


                            S  3

                            H  J 9

                            D  A 4

                            C  ---


Here, I missed a neat line. If I had cashed the last spade, West would pitch a club, and I would also pitch one from dummy. Now East feels the squeeze. East can't pitch a heart, so he must pitch a diamond and I could have then played DA and another diamond. If West ducks, East will win and I'll score two hearts tricks, but if he takes the king he becomes the stepping-stone to the dummy for the last two tricks.