Main     Article 7K17 by Richard Pavlicek    

Squeeze Defense

Six clubs is an easy make, but South was concerned about protecting his H K from the opening lead. Hence he decided on 6 NT after key-card Blackwood.

6 NT by South

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

West

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

East won the H A and returned the suit. The only hope was a squeeze, so declarer ran the clubs. Through four rounds there was no discomfort; East let go two hearts; South, a spade and diamond; West, a heart.

On the 5th club East threw a diamond, South a spade, and West was forced to unguard something. In practice he let go a spade. On the last club East had to throw a diamond to keep his spade stopper, South threw a spade, as did West. Then declarer cashed the S A-K to squeeze West in hearts and diamonds. Well done!

All this was well executed, but it never should have happened! There were two ways to beat this contract after the H Q lead. Can you spot them?

One technique in squeeze defense is to attack crucial entries, and East could have done that with a diamond return at trick two. Try as he might, declarer could no longer bring about the squeeze. Try it!

Another way to foil a squeeze is to prevent declarer from “rectifying the count” (timing the play so he can win all but one trick). East could do this by ducking the first trick. Again, declarer cannot succeed.

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© 1998 Richard Pavlicek