Breaking up a squeeze by Gary Oleson

 

Many players bid and made the slam on this deal. However, there is a successful defense -- all other variations allow declarer to prevail. Can you find the winning defense? If you are the declarer, do you see how to take 12 tricks?

 

                          Dlr: West, Vul: N-S

 

                            S  10 4 3 2

                            H  J 10 9 7

                            D  10 2

                            C  Q J 10

             S  A K Q 5                     S  9 8

             H  K 8                         H  A Q 4 3 2

             D  K Q 3                       D  J 9 5 4

             C  A K 5 3                     C  9 8

                            S  J 7 6

                            H  6 5

                            D  A 8 7 6

                            C  7 6 4 2

 

           WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

           2C           Pass          2D (1)       Pass

           2NT          Pass          3D (2)       Pass

           3H           Pass          4NT          Pass

           6NT          All Pass

 

          (1) Values

          (2) Transfer

 

First -- how to make 12 tricks. North has to protect both majors, and it looks as if he has to protect clubs as well. After the diamonds are set up, North is going to have to make two pitches. Even if he sees the situation and sluffs two clubs, declarer still has the edge. Declarer can cash two clubs, forcing North to make a pitch in one of the majors.

So the question is -- how can the defense break up this squeeze. The only defense is to lead the suit that looks as if you shouldn't be leading -- the auction tells you that declarer's long suit is hearts. So you lead the HJ because squeeze defense requires that you attack entry conditions and beware of "correcting the count."

Once a heart is led, the ball is in South's court. South must win the THIRD round of diamonds as North sluffs a club honor. Then South must fire back a heart to completely sever communications between declarer and dummy. North has to rely on partner holding the C7 to stop the suit, and South has that card.

South cannot wait until the fourth round of diamonds to take his ace because North will have to make a premature discard and the squeeze will be in effect again.

 

 

 

Squeeze reprise

 

This board appeared in an article by Gary Oleson (breaking up a squeeze), the defense as reported by Gary Oleson was excellent, but futher analysis pointed out that declarer can always make 6NT, even against excellent defense.

 

                          Dlr: West, Vul: N-S

 

                            S  10 4 3 2

                            H  J 10 9 7

                            D  10 2

                            C  Q J 10

            S  A K Q 5                      S  9 8

            H  K 8                          H  A Q 4 3 2

            D  K Q 3                        D  J 9 5 4

            C  A K 5 3                      C  9 8

                            S  J 7 6

                            H  6 5

                            D  A 8 7 6

                            C  7 6 4 2

 

Oleson wrote that the only defense is to lead the suit that looks as if you shouldn't be leading -- the auction tells you that declarer's long suit is hearts. So you lead the HJ because squeeze defense requires that you attack entry conditions and beware of "correcting the count."

The report said that once a heart is led, the ball is in South's court. South must win the THIRD round of diamonds as North sluffs a club honor. Then South must fire back a heart to completely sever communications between declarer and dummy. North has to rely on partner holding the C7.

Problem -- what does North pitch when East cashes his diamonds? The first pitch is easy -- a club.  But what does he play on the second diamond? He can't throw a spade -- declarer's spades will be good. He can't throw a heart -- dummy's hearts will be good. So he has to sluff another club, right? But look at the club spots. If North comes down to the singleton CQ, declarer can cash the CA, cross to dummy's now good C9, then return to hand with a spade. That way declarer takes three clubs, three spades, three hearts and three diamonds. That adds up to 12!

 

There's a name for this -- a three-suit clash squeeze.

 

 

"Deduce, a matter of control." By Gary Oleson

 

                         Dlr: South, Vul: Both

 

                            S  J 9 5 4

                            H  A 2

                            D  8 7 6 5 2

                            C  A 4

           S  A K 8                        S  Q 7 3

           H  K Q 10 6                     H  9 8 7 4

           D  --                           D  10 4 2

           C  K J 9 8 6 3                  C  Q 10 7

                            S  10 5 2

                            H  J 5 3

                            D  A K Q J 9

                            C  5 2

 

           WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

            -            -             -           1D

           Dbl          1S            Pass         2D

           3C           3D            3H           Pass

           4H           All Pass

 

"Competitive bridge bidding sometimes makes you think that someone has introduced a pinochle deck into the game. The diamond opening lead is ruffed and the HK goes to the ace. Dummy then is tapped again with another diamond. The club return was taken by North's ace, and once again a diamond forced dummy to ruff. Now a club to the queen and the H8 is led. South should duck in case North has the 9, but it is to no avail. Whether or not South wins the trick no longer matters because East's trumps now put him in control -- he losers only the CA, the HA and the HJ -- making four.

"After it was over, North said, 'I feel that we should have beaten this hand.'

"My reply was that this something that she would have to deduce. She thought for a while and then asked me to explain. I replied that she should replay the hand and examine the effect of playing the trump 2 under the king.

"No matter how declarer struggles, he can no longer make the hand. If a club is led from dummy, simply rise with the ace, cash the trump ace and revert to leading diamonds. Declarer now must lose a diamond in addition to the above mentioned losers."