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Perseverance Is Rewarded

  by Richard Pavlicek

Today’s deal was played by Jeanne Poore of Ft. Lauderdale at the Robert Reynolds Memorial Tournament in Miami and reported by her partner, Bernie Chazen of Tamarac.

Poore, South, overcalled East’s opening bid with one spade, and North responded one notrump. South then jumped to three spades and North raised to four, expecting South to have more extreme distribution. South would have been better advised to raise one notrump to three notrump because her hand was nearly balanced and the strong spade suit would provide tricks. But then there would be no story.

4 S South
Both Vul
H J 7 5 4
D A J 8 7
C K 9 8 5


1 NT
4 S
1 D
1 S
3 S
S 9 7 6
H Q 10 9 3
D 10 9 6
C Q 10 4
TableS 5 3 2
H A K 2
D K Q 3 2
C J 7 3

Lead: D 10
S A K J 10 8 4
H 8 6
D 5 4
C A 6 2

West started with the diamond 10, jack, queen; then East shifted to the heart king. When West signaled with the 10, East played the ace and another heart, South ruffing. Declarer had nine obvious tricks (six spades, two clubs one diamond) but the prospects for a 10th were poore (apologies for that). There was a slim chance of establishing a diamond trick by ruffing; but failing that the only hope was a squeeze.

Declarer crossed to the spade queen, cashed the diamond ace, and ruffed a diamond to return to her hand. Trumps were drawn in two more rounds to reach a four-card ending in which dummy kept king-small in clubs and a loser in each red suit. West held the high heart and three clubs; East held the high diamond and three clubs.

South next led her last trump, the hallmark of a squeeze. West had to let go a club to keep the heart queen. Dummy then threw the heart jack, having served its purpose. East was obliged to keep the diamond king, so he too let go a club. Finally, a club to the king, back to the ace, and the club six won the last trick, as the defenders glared in disbelief.

Notwithstanding Poore’s fine effort, it should be noted that East could defeat the squeeze by leading a club at trick two.

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© 1987 Richard Pavlicek