Puzzle 7F14   Main

# The Snowflake Squeeze

by Richard Pavlicek

Like the classic snowflake design, this deal is symmetrical. As South, imagine that you are declarer in 3 NT, the obvious contract with 28 combined HCP, no eight-card fit and two flat hands. Also apparent is that no suit breaks evenly, as the enemy hands are symmetrically lopsided.

 3 NT SouthBoth Vul K 3 2 A 6 5 4 K 3 2 A 5 4 WestPass NORTH1 3 NT EastPassAll Pass South2 NT Q J 10 9 8 7 Q J 10 9 8 7 6 8 7 Q J 10 9 7 6 Q J 10 9 8 Lead: ? A 6 5 4 K 3 2 A 5 4 K 3 2

The question is: Who wins? With best play all-around (West can lead what he wants) can declarer win a ninth trick? Or can the defense always prevent it?

A ninth trick could materialize in only one way, so the question could also be stated: Can declarer develop a successful squeeze against any defense?

## Solution

Declarer wins!

Suppose West leads a diamond. Curiously, this must be won by the king in dummy. A spade is ducked, and West does best to switch to a club, which must be won by the king in hand. Win the K (optional) then duck a heart to East.

 3 NT South K 3 2 A 6 5 4 K 3 2 A 5 4 Trick1 W2 N3 W4 S5 N Lead Q 2 7 5 4 2ndK!74!109 3rd648K2 4th49K!87 W-LW1L1W2W3L2 Q J 10 9 8 7 Q J 10 9 8 7 6 8 7 Q J 10 9 7 6 Q J 10 9 8 Lead: Q A 6 5 4 K 3 2 A 5 4 K 3 2

East now has the privilege to decide which defender will be squeezed:

 NT win 6Success 3 A 6 5 3 2 A 5 Trick6 E7 S8 S9 N10 E11 E Lead Q A 3 6 Q J 2ndK8 9J3 5 3rd82A 2 10? 4th5710 65! W-LW1W2W3L1L2 Q J 8 J 10 9 8 6 — Q J 10 7 Q J 10 9 East leads A 6 K 3 A 5 3 2 West is squeezed

If East leads a red suit, win the K, A, A, lose a heart, and duck the club return. The next club squeezes West in the pointed suits.

If East instead leads a club in the 8-card ending, win the A, K, A, lose a spade, and duck the diamond return. The next diamond squeezes East in the rounded suits. Note that in either case the squeeze card is led by a defender and won by dummy or declarer after the victim is squeezed.

### Variations

If West leads anything but a club at Trick 3, win the A, K and K (in any order) then duck a heart to East. With West isolated, it is easy to duck another heart and club to squeeze West.

What about a different opening lead? If West leads a spade, declarer ducks, then the play follows one of the preceding lines, except declarer cashes the K on his own. If West leads a club or a heart, the play, like the deal, is symmetrical — just swap West with East, spades with hearts, and diamonds with clubs.

Curiosity: If either of the defenders’ minor-suit holdings is altered in any way (e.g., Q-J-10-9-7 opp. 8-6) the defense can always prevail. (Major-suit holdings are irrelevant.)

 Puzzle 7F14   Main Top   The Snowflake Squeeze