Main     Study 6K by Richard Pavlicek    

Squeeze Defense

It’s time to turn the tables on declarer! Too many times, a skillful declarer has the edge in the endgame due to his knowledge of squeeze plays, and the sad truth is that he is usually aided by soft defense. Read on, and your defensive skills may catch up.

Each of these 32 deals illustrates one or more crucial defensive plays to foil an impending squeeze by declarer. Key plays are shown with an exclamation point (!) and dubious plays are shown with a question mark (?).

The deals are arranged in standard format with South always declarer and West the opening leader.

TopMain

Upset transportation

1. 3 S South

None Vul
S K 9 3
H Q 10
D 6 4 3 2
C A 10 8 4
S 10 4
H 8 6 4 2
D A K 10 8
C K 6 5
TableS 7 2
H A K J 3
D Q 9 7
C J 9 7 2
S A Q J 8 6 5
H 9 7 5
D J 5
C Q 3

West

Pass
3 H
North

Pass
3 S
East
Pass
Dbl
All Pass
South
2 S
Pass

Trick
1. W
2. W
3. W
4. S
5. E
6. N
7. E
Lead
D K
D A
D 8
H 5!
S 2!
H Q
S 7!
2nd
2
3
4
6
6
K
J
3rd
7
9
Q
10
10
7
4
4th
5
J
S 5
J
K
2
3
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

East must lead a trump each time he wins a heart, else declarer will have the entries to ruff his heart and squeeze West in the minors. The trump leads force declarer to ruff the last diamond, killing the threat.

TopMain

Prevent rectification of count

2. 5 C South

E-W Vul
S K 6 4 2
H 7 6
D A 10 2
C A 9 8 5
S 8 3
H Q 10 8 4 2
D 9 6 5 4 3
C 2
TableS J 10 9 5
H K J 9 3
D K Q 7
C K 4
S A Q 7
H A 5
D J 8
C Q J 10 7 6 3

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
North

1 S
3 C
5 C
East

Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 C
2 C
3 S

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. E
4. N
5. N
6. N
7. S
8. S
Lead
H 4
C Q
D K!
C A
C 9
C 8
C 10
C 7
2nd
6
2
8
4
H 3
H 9
D 6
D 9
3rd
J!
5
3
3
6
J
H 7
D 2
4th
A
K
A
H 2
D 4
D 5
D 7
H K!
Lose 2 more tricks — Down 1

If East cashes his heart trick when he wins the C K, he will later be squeezed in spades and diamonds. The early diamond shift foils declarer by leaving him with two losers.

TopMain

Attack proper entry

3. 3 NT South

Both Vul
S 4 2
H Q 2
D 5 4 2
C A K 7 6 4 3
S J 9 6 5
H K 7 6 5
D K 10 3
C 10 5
TableS A K 8 3
H J 10 9 8
D J 8 6
C 8 2
S Q 10 7
H A 4 3
D A Q 9 7
C Q J 9

West

Pass
North

3 NT
East

All Pass
South
1 NT

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. W
4. E
5. E
Lead
S 5
S 3!
S 9!
S 8
D 6!
2nd
2
10
D 2
H 3
3rd
K
J
A
6
4th
7
4
Q
D 4
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

If West won the fourth spade, or if East failed to shift to a diamond at Trick 5, declarer could succeed by squeezing West in the red suits. Also note that if the defenders cashed only three spades, declarer could succeed by an endplay regardless of the shift.

TopMain

Remove dummy’s only entry

4. 4 H South

E-W Vul
S A K Q 2
H K Q J
D 5 4 2
C J 8 7
S J 9 4
H 5 4 3
D 7 6
C A K Q 6 3
TableS 10 8 7 6 3
H 7 6
D K Q 9 3
C 10 2
S 5
H A 10 9 8 2
D A J 10 8
C 9 5 4

West

Pass
North
1 NT
4 H
East
Pass
All Pass
South
3 H*
*not a Jacoby fan

Trick
1. W
2. W
3. W
4. W
5. N
6. N
7. N
8. S
9. S
Lead
C K
C A
C Q
S J!
H K
H Q
H J
H 10
H 9
2nd
7
8
J
A
6
7
D 3
S 4
S 9!
3rd
10
2
S 3
6
2
8
A?
D 2
D 4
4th
4
5
9
5
5
3
4
D 9
S 7!
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

If West makes the “obvious shift” to a diamond, East would later be squeezed in spades and diamonds. East’s spade discard is a big clue (surely from five with four in dummy) so West can break declarer’s communication with one spade lead. Note the lead of the S J, just in case South had a stiff 10.

TopMain

Timing assault and jettison

5. 3 S South

N-S Vul
S Q 9 4
H J 7 2
D 10 7 5 3
C A Q 4
S 3 2
H 3
D K 8 6 4
C K J 10 9 5 3
TableS 10 6 5
H A K Q 10 6
D Q J 9
C 7 6
S A K J 8 7
H 9 8 5 4
D A 2
C 8 2

West

Dbl
3 C
All Pass
North

2 S
Pass
East
1 H
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
Pass
3 S

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. S
4. E
5. N
6. S
7. E
8. S
9. S
10. S
11. N
12. N
Lead
H 3
S 6!
H 5
S 5!
D 3
D 2
S 10!
S A
S J
C 2
C A
C 4
2nd
2
7
C 5
8
9
4
K
C 9
D K!
10
H Q
H K!
3rd
10
2
J
3
A
5
C 3
H 7
D 7
Q
8
4th
4
4
A
9
6
J
Q
H 6
C 6
7
J
Lose the rest — Down 1

One slip anywhere and West would get squeezed. Note the early trump leads were necessary to stop a heart ruff. Especially note West’s discard at Trick 9: If he threw his low diamond, declarer could set up the long diamond while keeping East off lead; but West knows East has the D Q.

TopMain

Kill future winner and remove entry

6. 4 H South

N-S Vul
S Q J 8 3
H Q 2
D A 8 5 3
C A J 5
S A K 10 9 4 2
H 3
D Q 9 6
C 9 7 2
TableS 5
H J 7 6
D K 7 4
C K Q 10 8 4 3
S 7 6
H A K 10 9 8 5 4
D J 10 2
C 6

West
2 S
Pass
All Pass
North
Pass
3 NT
East
Pass
Pass
South
3 H
4 H

Trick
1. W
2. W
3. E
4. N
5. N
6. S
7. S
8. E
Lead
S K
S 10!
C K
H Q
C 5
H A
D J
D 7!
2nd
3
J
6
6
10
S 2
6!
2
3rd
5
H 7
2
4
H K
2
3
9
4th
6
7
A
3
7
J
K
A
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

West can read East’s spade as a singleton, so he allows East to ruff the second spade to kill any chance of declarer establishing a spade trick. When East wins the D K, he must return a diamond (not a passive club) else West would be squeezed in the end.

TopMain

Guard correct suit

7. 4 S South

None Vul
S Q J 10 8
H A 7 4 2
D 4 3
C A 8 2
S 7 4
H Q J 10 8
D Q 9 8 6
C K 10 6
TableS 6 5 3
H 9 6 5
D J 10 2
C Q J 7 5
S A K 9 2
H K 3
D A K 7 5
C 9 4 3

West

Pass
Pass
North

2 C
4 S
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT
2 S

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. N
4. S
5. N
6. S
7. N
8. N
9. N
Lead
H Q
H 3
H 4
S 2
H 7
S 9
S J
S 8
D 3
2nd
2
J
9
4
D 2!
7
6
C 7
J
3rd
5
A
S K
Q
S A
10
C 3
C 4
5
4th
K
6
10
3
8
5
C 6!
C 10!
6
Lose 1 more trick — Made 5

Declarer embarks on a clever line of play that would secure two overtricks against many West players. The big clue is East’s first discard of the D 2, which suggests that West must hold his diamonds at all costs.

TopMain

Break link and guard correct suit

8. 6 NT South

N-S Vul
S K 3
H A K 8 6 5 2
D Q J 3
C K J
S J 10 9
H J 10 9 7
D 8 7 2
C 10 9 3
TableS Q 8 5 2
H 4 3
D A 9 6
C 8 6 5 4
S A 7 6 4
H Q
D K 10 5 4
C A Q 7 2

West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 H
3 H
5 H*
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
4 NT
6 NT
*2 key cards

Trick
1. W
2. N
3. S
4. N
5. N
6. E
7. S
8. S
9. N
10. N
Lead
S J
H 2
D 4
D J
D 3
S 2
D K
C 2
H K
H A
2nd
K
4
2
9!
A
A
C 3
9
3
S Q!
3rd
5
Q
Q
5
10
9
H 5
K
S 6
4th
4
J
6!
7
8
3
S 8
6
10
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

Declarer could succeed at double-dummy (cash the H A-K and unblock the C K-J before leading the third diamond), but he could never go wrong if East took his D A on the first or second round. In the end, East must hold tight to his four clubs, as insignificant as they might seem.

TopMain

Prevent rectification of count

9. 3 NT South

None Vul
S K 9 4 3
H K 10 5
D Q 3
C K 9 4 3
S 10 7
H 8 7 6 2
D J 10 9 4
C 8 5 2
TableS Q J 5 2
H Q J 9
D K 8 5 2
C A 6
S A 8 6
H A 4 3
D A 7 6
C Q J 10 7

West

Pass
Pass
North

2 C
3 NT
East

Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT
2 D

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. W
4. S
5. E
6. N
7. S
Lead
D J
D 2
D 4
C Q
C 6!
C 9
C 10
2nd
Q
7
C 3
2
7
S 2
H 2
3rd
K
9
8
4
5
J
S 3
4th
6
3
A
A
K
8
D 5!
Lose 2 more tricks — Down 1

If East leads his fourth diamond after winning the C A, he will later be squeezed in the major suits; but this should be obvious in view of his holdings. The passive club return foils declarer. Note that East must not shift to the H Q, else he could be endplayed.

TopMain

Retain winners and evade endplay

10. 3 NT South

N-S Vul
S A K Q 7 2
H 3 2
D J 3
C K Q 7 5
S 6 3
H A K 9 5 4
D K 2
C J 10 8 2
TableS J 10 9 8
H 10 7 6
D 10 7 4
C 9 4 3
S 5 4
H Q J 8
D A Q 9 8 6 5
C A 6

West

1 H
Pass
All Pass
North

1 S
3 C
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 D
2 D
3 NT

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. N
4. N
5. N
6. S
7. N
8. N
Lead
H 5
S 4
S K
S Q
C 5
C 6
C Q
H 3?
2nd
2
6
8
9
3
8
9
6
3rd
10
A
5
D 5
A
K
D 6
8
4th
Q
J
3
D 2!
2
4
J
9
Lose 4 more tricks — Down 1

West can foresee his discarding problem and lets go the D 2 on the third spade with no apparent agony. Also note his play in clubs, trying to paint a wrong picture for declarer. If West began with 3-3 in the minors, declarer’s play at Trick 8 would be right.

TopMain

Establish then kill threat

11. 4 H South

N-S Vul
S A Q 3
H Q J 3
D 10 8 7 3
C K 5 3
S 10 9 2
H A 4
D A K J 9
C Q 9 8 7
TableS J 8 6 5
H 9 6 5
D 5 4 2
C 10 6 4
S K 7 4
H K 10 8 7 2
D Q 6
C A J 2

West

Dbl
Pass
All Pass
North

Rdbl
3 H
East

1 S
Pass
South
1 H
Pass
4 H

Trick
1. W
2. W
3. W
4. S
5. W
Lead
D K
D A
D J!
H 7
D 9
2nd
3
7
8
A!
10
3rd
2
4
5
3
H 5
4th
6
Q
H 2
6
H 8
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

After North foolishly raises hearts instead of bidding 3 NT, West must defend well to benefit. Diamonds are continued, temporarily establishing the D 10 in dummy, which is erased completely when West wins the H A. Failure to do this would allow declarer to squeeze West in the minors, which is indicated (versus the club finesse) on the auction.

TopMain

Prevent rectification of count

12. 3 NT South

None Vul
S 10 8 3
H K 10 7
D K Q 4 3
C K 7 6
S K J 9 4 2
H 6 5 4
D 7
C Q J 8 4
TableS Q 6 5
H Q J 9 2
D J 10 9 8
C 5 3
S A 7
H A 8 3
D A 6 5 2
C A 10 9 2

West

Pass
North

3 NT
East

All Pass
South
1 NT

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. S
4. N
5. N
6. W
7. W
Lead
S 4
S 6
D 2
D Q
S 10!
S 9!
H 6!
2nd
3
A
7
8
5
D 3
7
3rd
Q
2
K
5
C 2
C 3
9
4th
7
8
J
C 4
J
H 3
A
Lose 2 more tricks — Down 1

West must not cash his 5th spade, else East would become squeezed in hearts and diamonds. The heart exit (not a club) at Trick 7 is indicated by East’s C 3 discard. Also note that if East were to signal with the H 9 (ouch), he could later be endplayed.

TopMain

Holdup to prevent Vienna coup

13. 6 H South

None Vul
S 7
H A 9 5 4
D A K Q 9
C A 8 7 5
S K Q J 10 6 5 2
H
D 7 6
C J 9 6 2
TableS 9 8 3
H K 10 3
D J 10 8 5 3
C K 3
S A 4
H Q J 8 7 6 2
D 4 2
C Q 10 4

West
4 S
Pass
North
Dbl
6 H
East
Pass
All Pass
South
5 H

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. S
4. N
5. E
Lead
S K
H Q
S 4
H 5
H 10!
2nd
7
S 5
6
K
J
3rd
3
4
H A
2
S 10
4th
A
3!
8
S 2
9
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

East’s holdup in hearts may look pointless, but it’s a crucial play. East can see the danger of being squeezed in the minors if South has the C Q; but for this squeeze to work, declarer must cash the C A (Vienna coup) before running his trumps. Careful defense prevents this.

TopMain

Holdup to foil count rectification

14. 3 NT South

None Vul
S A K 3 2
H Q J 3
D 10 7 2
C K J 10
S J 10 9 7 6
H 10 4
D J 9 6 5
C Q 2
TableS 8 4
H 7 6 5 2
D K 3
C A 8 5 4 3
S Q 5
H A K 9 8
D A Q 8 4
C 9 7 6

West

Pass
Pass
North
1 C
1 S
3 NT
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 H
2 NT

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. N
4. S
Lead
S J
C 6
D 2
C 7
2nd
2
2
3
Q
3rd
4
10
Q
K
4th
Q
3!
6
4!
Lose 2 tricks — Made 5

Since East cannot guard either spades or diamonds, it is apparent that West might be squeezed. Ducking the first two clubs prevents declarer from rectifying the count for the squeeze. If East took his C A earlier, declarer would fall into 12 easy tricks.

TopMain

Prevent isolation of threat

15. 6 H× South

E-W Vul
S A 9 2
H A Q 5
D A K 6 4
C Q 10 3
S 6 5 4
H
D Q J 9 7 3 2
C K J 9 2
TableS J 8 7
H 8 7 3 2
D
C A 8 7 6 5 4
S K Q 10 3
H K J 10 9 6 4
D 10 8 5
C

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
North
1 D
2 NT
4 H
5 D
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Dbl
South
1 H
3 S
5 C
6 H
All Pass

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. N
Lead
D Q
H 3!
C 3!
2nd
K
4
4!
3rd
H 2
C 9!
H 6
4th
5
A
2
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

After doubling for a diamond lead and getting a ruff, many Easts would panic and try to cash the C A. Ouch! West would then be squeezed in the minor suits. East should foresee this (especially considering South’s 5 C bid) and stay cool with a safe trump return. Also note that East must duck the club lead from dummy.

TopMain

Holdup to disturb squeeze order

16. 6 NT South

Both Vul
S A 6
H 9 8
D A K Q 4 2
C K 7 6 2
S Q 9 7
H 7 3 2
D 7 6 5
C J 10 9 8
TableS J 10 8 2
H A 6 5 4
D J 10 9 8
C 5
S K 5 4 3
H K Q J 10
D 3
C A Q 4 3

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 D
3 C
5 H
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 C
2 H
4 NT
6 NT

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. S
4. S
5. E
Lead
C J
H K
H Q
H J
H 5!
2nd
2
2
3
7
10
3rd
5
8
9
D 2
D 5
4th
Q
6
4!
A
C 6
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

After forcing out the H A, declarer has a double-squeeze position (West guards clubs, East diamonds, and both spades), but the order of play is delicate. To succeed, declarer must cash the top diamonds before leading his last heart. East can foil this by ducking twice and returning his last heart immediately, which in effect squeezes dummy.

TopMain

Holdup and attack dual entry

17. 6 NT South

None Vul
S A Q J 2
H A 10 2
D J 4
C Q 9 4 2
S 10 8 7 6
H 8 7 5
D 10 9 8 2
C 6 3
TableS K 5 4
H Q J 9
D 7 6 5
C J 10 8 7
S 9 3
H K 6 4 3
D A K Q 3
C A K 5

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
North

1 S
4 C
6 NT
East

Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 D
2 NT
4 S

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. N
4. N
5. S
6. E
Lead
D 10
S 3
D J
C 2
S 9
H Q!
2nd
4
8
6
8
10
3rd
5
J
3
A
Q
4th
A
4!
2
3
K
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

East can see that he may be squeezed in hearts and clubs; and even if West can help in hearts, there is a potential double squeeze since West will have to guard dummy’s fourth spade. To defeat this form of double squeeze it is necessary to kill the spade and heart entries to dummy, which can only be done by ducking the first spade and shifting to a heart later.

TopMain

Holdup and attack dummy’s entry

18. 6 S South

Both Vul
S 5 3 2
H K Q 7 6 4
D A 2
C 10 7 2
S 7
H 5 3
D K 8 5 4
C J 9 8 6 5 4
TableS 10 4
H A J 10 9
D J 10 7 6 3
C Q 3
S A K Q J 9 8 6
H 8 2
D Q 9
C A K

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 H
3 S
4 D
5 D
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
2 S
4 C
4 NT
6 S

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. S
4. S
5. N
6. S
7. E
Lead
C 6
S A
S K
H 2
S 5
H 8
D J!
2nd
2
7
C 5
5
D 3
3
Q
3rd
Q
2
3
K
Q
Q
K
4th
A
4
10
J!
C 4
A
A
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

East must duck the first heart lead, else he could be squeezed in hearts and diamonds (the D 9 becomes a threat after the jack is covered all around). Further, East must shift to the D J to break up a squeeze against West in the minors. At double-dummy, declarer could succeed in a bizarre “losing squeeze card” ending, but that’s only for your dreams.

TopMain

Deceptive discard to evade endplay

19. 3 H South

Both Vul
S Q 4 3
H 6 5
D 9 7 6 5 2
C J 10 4
S 10 9 7 5
H J 8 7
D K 4
C 9 6 5 2
TableS A J 8 6
H 3 2
D A Q J 10
C Q 8 7
S K 2
H A K Q 10 9 4
D 8 3
C A K 3

West
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
Pass
1 S
East
1 D
Pass
South
Dbl
3 H

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. E
4. W
5. S
6. S
7. S
8. S
9. S
10. S
11. S
12. E
Lead
D K
D Q
D J!
S 10
H A
H K
H Q
H 9
H 4
C K
S 2?
S 8
2nd
2
8
H 10
3
7
8
C 2
S 5
C 5
6
7
3rd
A
4
H J
6
5
6
D 7
D 9
S 4
4
Q
4th
3
5
6
K
2
3
C 7!
D 10
S J!
8
A
Win the last trick — Down 1

From East’s point of view, South should have all of the missing high cards, so ducking the spade at Trick 4 was essential to deny declarer an entry to dummy for the club finesse. Alas, declarer now can succeed by a squeeze throw-in if he guesses right. East’s best chance is to unguard the C Q early, then discard the S J (keeping A-8) and hope declarer opts for the throw-in.

TopMain

Abandon suit that foils resqueeze

20. 7 NT South

None Vul
S A 3 2
H K Q 5 3
D A 9 8 2
C A 6
S Q J 10
H J 10 9 6
D K 6 4
C 5 4 2
TableS 8 7 5 4
H 7 2
D J 7 5 3
C 8 7 3
S K 9 6
H A 8 4
D Q 10
C K Q J 10 9

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 C
4 C¹
5 C²
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 NT
2 D
4 H
7 NT³
1. Gerber
2. asking for kings
3. asking for miracles

Trick
1. W
2. N
3. N
4. S
5. S
6. S
7. S
8. N
9. S
10. N
Lead
S Q
C A
C 6
C Q
C J
C 10
H 4
H 3
H 8
H 5
2nd
A
3
7
5
D 4
H 6!
9
S 7
J
D 3
3rd
4
9
K
D 2
S 2
D 8
Q
A
K
D 10
4th
6
2
4
8
H 2
S 5
7
10
S 8
D 6!
Lose 1 trick — Down 1

The bidding is a bit crazy, but that’s not your problem. As West you have to decide which stopper to give up on the last club. As the only real hope, assume East has the D J (if South had it he could succeed even without the S 9), which gives declarer 11 tricks. West must release the suit guarded behind him (hearts) which surrenders 12 tricks and no more. If West gave up his spade or diamond stopper, the squeeze would repeat for all 13.

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Attack correct dual entry

21. 4 S South

None Vul
S A J 3
H 8 6 5 3
D K 10 4
C K 10 2
S 8
H A K 10 2
D Q 8 7 5
C Q 8 7 6
TableS 7 6 5 4
H 7 4
D J 9 6
C J 9 5 3
S K Q 10 9 2
H Q J 9
D A 3 2
C A 4

West

Dbl
Pass
All Pass
North

Rdbl
2 S
East

2 C
Pass
South
1 S
Pass
4 S

Trick
1. W
2. W
3. W
4. E
Lead
H K
H A
H 2
D 6!
2nd
3
5
6
2
3rd
7
4
S 4
Q
4th
9
J
Q
K
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

After ruffing the third heart, East’s return may seem immaterial, but it matters a lot. Dummy has a heart threat against West, which might lead to a compound squeeze. They key is to attack the suit in which South holds a threat, removing the crucial dual entry. Based on the takeout double, this suit is likely to be diamonds. Note that declarer can succeed against any other shift.

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Deceptive discard to evade endplay

22. 3 NT South

None Vul
S K J 7 2
H 8 5 2
D 8 5 2
C A Q 4
S 10 9 8
H 9 4
D 9 6 4
C J 9 7 3 2
TableS 6 5
H A Q J 7 6
D Q J 10 3
C K 6
S A Q 4 3
H K 10 3
D A K 7
C 10 8 5

West

Pass
North

3 NT
East
1 H
All Pass
South
1 NT

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. S
4. N
5. S
6. N
7. S
8. S
Lead
H 9
S A
S 3
S 7
S 4
D 2
D A
H 10?
2nd
2
8
9
C 6!
C 2
J
6
4
3rd
J
2
K
Q
J
K
5
5
4th
K
5
6
10
D 3
4
Q!
Q
Lose 4 more tricks — Down 1

East is doomed if declarer guesses right, so he must hope for a misread. Against most declarers the best chance is to blank the C K early and falsecard in diamonds (keeping the 10). Declarer is likely to opt for the throw-in, which would be right if East began with 3-3 in the minors.

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Guard correct suit

23. 5 D South

E-W Vul
S 8 6
H K 5 4
D A 10 9
C K 8 7 6 3
S K J 7 5 2
H Q J 9
D 5 2
C 10 4 2
TableS A Q 10 3
H 8 7 6 3 2
D 8 3
C Q J
S 9 4
H A 10
D K Q J 7 6 4
C A 9 5

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 C
3 D
4 D
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 D
2 D
3 H
5 D

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. W
4. S
5. N
6. S
7. S
8. S
9. S
Lead
S 5
S 3
H Q
D 4
D 9
D Q
D J
D 7
D 6!
2nd
6
9
4
2
8
S 2
S 7
S K
H 9!
3rd
A
J
2
A
K
10
C 3
C 6
C 7
4th
4
8
A
3
5
S 10
S Q
H 3
H 6
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

There is no real squeeze here, but a pseudo one. West must cling tight to his three clubs. Declarer is marked with the C A, and if he held just two clubs (or a stiff ace) he could establish the club suit by ruffing. Hence, South must have three clubs and only West can guard the suit.

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Discard winners to evade endplay

24. 3 NT South

N-S Vul
S A 10
H 4 3
D Q J 9
C A K J 9 4 3
S K J 6
H K J 9 6 5
D A 7 2
C 10 8
TableS 9 8 5 4 2
H Q 8 7
D K 8 6 4
C 5
S Q 7 3
H A 10 2
D 10 5 3
C Q 7 6 2

West
1 H
Pass
All Pass
North
2 C
3 D
East
2 H
Pass
South
3 C
3 NT

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. W
4. S
5. N
6. S
7. N
8. N
9. N
Lead
H 6
H 8
H K
C 2
C 3
C 6
C J
C 9
C 4
2nd
3
10
D 9
8
S 2
S 6
D 8
S 5
D 4
3rd
Q
J
7
A
Q
K
7
S 3
D 3
4th
2
4
A
5
10
S 4
D 2
H 5!
H 9!
Lose 3 more tricks — Down 1

Declarer has eight obvious tricks, and West is in danger of being squeezed and endplayed. It is crucial for West to know whether East has the S Q or the D K (if South has both West is dead) and East gives the proper message by discarding a low spade first. Hence, West must play East for the D K and throw his good hearts away to keep: S K-J and D A-x, after which declarer must fail.

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Unblock and retain exit card

25. 4 S South

Both Vul
S A Q J
H A Q 10 8 6
D 6 5 2
C 5 3
S 6 2
H 5 3 2
D J 10 9 7
C K J 9 6
TableS 5 4 3
H K J 9 7
D A Q 4
C Q 8 7
S K 10 9 8 7
H 4
D K 8 3
C A 10 4 2

West

Pass
All Pass
North
1 H
2 S
East
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
4 S

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. N
4. W
5. N
6. S
7. N
8. S
9. S
10. S
11. S
Lead
D J
S 5!
C 3
S 6!
C 5
C 2
D 5
S K
S 10
S 9
H 4
2nd
2
7
7
A
8
9
Q!
H 2
H 3
D 9
5
3rd
A
2
10
3
A
S Q
K
H 6
H 8
D 6
Q?
4th
3
J
J
8
6
Q
7
4
H 7
H 9!
K
Lose the rest — Down 2

East can see that hearts are laying foul for declarer, so he accurately shifts to a trump at Trick 2, limiting declarer to one club ruff. Note the unblocking play at Trick 7 (else East could be thrown in with a diamond), and when declarer leads trumps East must never part with his small diamond.

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Attack dummy’s only entry

26. 3 NT South

None Vul
S K 6 4
H A 10 8 7 3
D Q 2
C 9 7 4
S Q 9 5 3
H Q J 5
D 7 6 5
C 6 5 3
TableS A 7
H 9 4 2
D A J 10 8
C J 10 8 2
S J 10 8 2
H K 6
D K 9 4 3
C A K Q

West

Pass
Pass
North

2 D
3 NT
East

Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT
2 H

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. N
4. S
5. E
6. S
7. E
Lead
S 3
S 7!
C 4
D 3
H 2!
D 4
H 4!
2nd
4
J
2
5
K
6
6
3rd
A!
Q
A
Q
5
2
J
4th
2
K
3
A
3
8
A
Lose 2 more tricks — Down 1

The Jacoby transfer sequence marks South with only two hearts. Since East cannot protect hearts or spades, it should be apparent that West would eventually be squeezed. The key defense is for East to attack declarer’s link to dummy by leading hearts. If East leads anything else when he wins the D A, declarer can succeed.

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Holdup to foil count rectification

27. 3 NT South

Both Vul
S K 5 2
H K Q J 5
D J 5 4
C Q 6 4
S J 10 9 8 4
H 4 3
D A 6
C 10 8 7 2
TableS Q 3
H A 10 9 8
D 10 9 8 3
C J 9 5
S A 7 6
H 7 6 2
D K Q 7 2
C A K 3

West

Pass
North

3 NT
East

All Pass
South
1 NT

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. S
4. N
5. W
6. N
7. N
8. N
9. S
10. S
Lead
S J
S 3
D 2
D 4
S 8
H K
H Q
C 4
C K
C 3
2nd
2
A
6
8
K
10
8!
9
2
7
3rd
Q
4
J
K
C 5
2
6
A
6
Q
4th
6
5
3
A
7
4
3
8
J
H 9
Lose 2 more tricks — Made 3

East can see the danger of being squeezed in the red suits, so he must fight declarer’s effort to rectify the count. The key is to duck the first two heart leads, which holds declarer to his contract. If East took his H A on the first or second round, he would be squeezed for an overtrick.

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Refuse ruff and guard correct suit

28. 6 H South

Both Vul
S A 7 4 2
H 9 7 2
D K 3
C A J 8 6
S Q J 10 9
H 6
D Q J 10 8 6 4
C Q 9
TableS 8 5 3
H 10 8 5
D 7
C K 10 7 5 4 3
S K 6
H A K Q J 4 3
D A 9 5 2
C 2

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

1 S
4 NT
5 NT
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 H
4 H
5 H
6 H

Trick
1. W
2. N
3. S
4. E
5. S
6. S
7. S
8. S
9. S
10. S
Lead
D Q
D 3
D 5?
H 5
H K?
H Q
H J
H 4
H 3
C 2
2nd
K
C 5!
J
A
D 6
D 8
C 9
C Q
S Q
S 9
3rd
7
A
H 7
6
9
C 6
C 8
S 2
C J
A
4th
2
4
H 8
2
10
C 3
C 4
C 7
C 10!
K
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

East has to make two good plays to sink declarer’s ship. First, he must refuse to ruff the second diamond lead (ruffing a low card led by declarer early in the play is rarely a wise move). Second, he must keep all of his spades, else West would be squeezed in spades and diamonds.

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Spoil one-threat hand double entry

29. 6 NT South

None Vul
S 9 3
H 6 3
D A 10 9 8 6 3
C A K 4
S Q 7 6 5 2
H 2
D 7 5
C Q 9 8 7 6
TableS J 8 4
H K Q J 9 8 7 4
D
C J 10 5
S A K 10
H A 10 5
D K Q J 4 2
C 3 2

West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 D
5 H
6 D
East
4 H
Pass
Pass
South
4 NT
5 NT
6 NT?

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. N
4. S
5. S
6. N
7. N
Lead
H 2
C J!
D 3
D Q
D 2
D 10
D A
2nd
3
2
H 4
7
C 6
H 9
S 4!
3rd
J
9
K
6
8
4
J
4th
5!
A
5
H 7
H 8
S 2
C 7
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

South’s last bid was piggish (it was matchpoints) and he is about to get away with it if East is not sharp. The holdup at Trick 1 strongly suggests declarer has a squeeze in mind. In compound and double-squeeze positions, attacking the double entry in the hand with a single threat is almost always the best move, so East shifts to a club. Declarer could succeed against any other defense.

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Kill double entry to ruffout threat

30. 6 S South

E-W Vul
S J 10 5
H A Q 9 2
D 8 7 6 2
C Q 4
S 8 2
H K 4
D J 9 5
C 10 8 7 6 3 2
TableS 6
H J 10 8 3
D A Q 10 4 3
C J 9 5
S A K Q 9 7 4 3
H 7 6 5
D K
C A K

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 NT
4 H
5 D
East

Pass
Pass
Dbl
South
2 C
3 S
4 NT
6 S

Trick
1. W
2. E
3. N
4. N
5. S
6. N
Lead
D 5
H 10!
S J
D 6
S 7
D 7
2nd
2
5
6
3
8
4
3rd
A
4
3
S A
10
S 9
4th
K
Q
2
9
C 5
J
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

Things may look cozy at Trick 1, but East is in imminent danger. Only East can protect the fourth round of diamonds, and declarer is poised for a ruffout squeeze aided by the heart finesse. It is urgent to kill one of dummy’s heart entries early to foil the squeeze. Yes, declarer might have made a brilliant play with D K-J-9 and a blank H K, but I’d rather pay off to that than the actual layout.

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Commit declarer to finesse decision

31. 4 S South

None Vul
S K 7 6
H K 6 3
D 7 6
C K 10 8 5 3
S 5
H Q 5
D K Q J 10 9 5 4
C J 7 2
TableS Q 4 2
H 10 9 8 7 2
D 8 2
C A Q 9
S A J 10 9 8 3
H A J 4
D A 3
C 6 4

West
3 D
Pass
North
Pass
4 S
East
Pass
All Pass
South
3 S

Trick
1. W
2. S
3. N
4. S
5. S
6. E
7. N
Lead
D K
S J
S 6
S A
C 4
H 7!
H 3
2nd
6
5
4
D 5
2
4
9
3rd
8
K
10
7
8
5
J
4th
A?
2
D 4
Q
9
K
Q
Lose 2 more tricks — Down 1

After winning the C 9, the distribution should be obvious to East. Declarer will eventually fall into a club-heart squeeze, or in this case what is commonly called a show-up finesse. The only hope is to lead hearts early and commit declarer to a heart guess, which he is likely to get wrong. Leading the H 7, I think, is psychologically better than the 10.

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Exploit error and cut communication

32. 6 H South

None Vul
S A 10 7
H J 10
D A 10 8 7 6 4
C K 2
S K Q J 9 4
H 4
D K J 2
C Q J 9 4
TableS 8 3 2
H 6 5 3 2
D 9 5
C 10 8 7 6
S 6 5
H A K Q 9 8 7
D Q 3
C A 5 3

West

1 S
Pass
Pass
North

2 D
4 NT
6 H
East

Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 H
3 H
5 C*
*0 or 3 key cards

Trick
1. W
2. W
3. S
4. N
5. S
6. N
7. N
Lead
S K
H 4!
C 3
C 2
C 5
S A
S 10
2nd
7?
10
4
7
J
3
8
3rd
2
2
K
A
H J
6
H 7
4th
5
K
6
9
8
4
9
Lose 1 more trick — Down 1

After West is allowed to win the first trick, he can see the danger of being squeezed in spades and diamonds. Another spade lead (or a diamond) won’t do any good since dummy has both aces, so the only hope is to ruin the communication. It is likely declarer will need to ruff a club, so a trump lead is the killer. Declarer, of course, should win the first spade, ruff his club loser and run trumps to effect a squeeze throw-in against West.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek