OUT FOR THE COUNT
By Barry Rigal
Squeezes without the count are one of the more esoteric available to the sophisticated declarer. I had two such opportunities but strange things happened on both deals.
DlXr: West H AK3
Vul: None D A54
S 9 S QJT8742
H J876 H Q2
D KQ63 D T2
C AQ53 C 85
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
1D 2C Pass Pass
East-West avoided an accident in spades, but since plenty of pairs escaped for minus 50, there were some possibilities of a reasonable score if I could make my contract.
I won the SQ opening lead and finessed a club, then played a second spade, ruffed. West got out with a heart, and I
foolishly (well, unluckily maybe) tried to run this to the 10.
East took his queen and played a third spade. I ruffed and played the CK, allowing West to win and make the mistake of
cashing his last trump before exiting with a heart. This was the ending:
S -- S T87
H J8 H --
D KQ6 D T2
C -- C --
When I led the last trump, West couldn't pitch a diamond or I would play two rounds of the suit. If he throws a heart
away, I can take my top hearts and play a diamond to the 9, endplaying him for the last two tricks.
Alas, I missed my chance and went one down. But I had my chance to recover a few boards later.
Dlr: East H KQ76
Vul: None D AQJ2
S KQ76 S T92
H T53 H AJ92
D K6 D 873
C 9642 C 873
A 2NT opening led to a routine auction to 3NT after a Stayman ask. The D8 lead allowed me to cash a few rounds of the suit on which West threw two revealing hearts and East the C3.
The H8 was covered by the 10, queen and ace, and back came a club. I saw my chance to be a hero again, recovering from
my previous error. Win the CK unblocking the jack, and play a spade to the jack. East will win and probably return a
Now I can win and cash the last club. This was the ending:
S K76 S 92
H -- H J92
D -- D --
C 9 C --
East still has to make a discard. If he throws a spade, you cash the SA and exit with the H7. East would win and be
endplayed at trick 12 again.
If East throws a heart, you set up the hearts for one loser. Either route leads to a valuable overtrick. But it
didn't work out that way.
What actually happened when I played a spade to the jack, it was allowed to hold the trick!! Now I had the same
squeeze for a second overtrick, enough to recover all the matchpoints I had dropped on the first hand.