Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sometimes the Defenders Can Execute a Squeeze

I had an interesting hand as declarer, but it's probably more interesting a defensive hand or double-dummy problem.


RHO opened 2S and I bid 3NT. LHO led a low spade and I took RHO's king with my ace. I tested diamonds and they split well but sadly my diamonds were too good to gain an entry to take a 3rd high club. So, 5 diamonds, 2 clubs, and a spade - where is my 9th trick? Well, they have to make 3 discards each on the diamonds while dummy can safely shed another club. The opening lead marks lho with Qxx of spades (probably) so if I exit with a spade, they won't be able to untangle the suit, but then if they just put me back in with a club, I'll have to untangle the spades for them or give up the heart suit. So, against best defense, this is really unmakable. What three pitches do you make from LHO's cards: Q9x, AQxxx, Jx, Jxx?

On the actual hand, he pitched 3 hearts, so I then exited with a low heart, which he won and then tried to cash out the spades. They set up my T of spades for trick #9, but even if he makes a passive club exit after winning the HQ, I can lead another heart and then dummy's HT would have been my 9th trick. It's a little hard to see, but he needs to hold 3 hearts and depend on partner to hold Txx as the club stopper. Ducking spades twice doesn't really change the situation - lho still needs to keep a low heart so his p can get on lead with the jack - the defense needs 3 heart tricks and 2 spade tricks while keeping enough clubs to keep declarer from being able to overtake the CQ and cash clubs.

Maybe it isn't so hard to find that defense. The fact that I took trick 1 indicates that I probably have a second stopper, and it's safe to assume I have the ace of clubs and king of hearts, but definitely not 3 clubs, for I've already shown up with 4 spades and 5 diamonds. 3 clubs would leave me with a singleton king of hearts, not very likely. So, just hope partner can count too, and holds onto clubs when you start pitching them asap, before partner gets a chance to. My best chance now is to play the AQ of clubs (to take away lho's safe exit cards) and then leading a low spade. LHO has to go up with the Q and play another spade, squeezing dummy in hearts and clubs! When RHO wins the jack of spades, he has a losing spade, a losing club, and a heart while LHO still has AQx of hearts. Dummy has to come down to Tx and the CK. West scores the last 3 tricks with hearts. Kinda cool!

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