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Bizarre Triple Squeeze

This deal from the first round of the Vanderbilt Cup in Reno contained an unusual ending that I don’t recall seeing before. As East, I doubled the 1 C opening for takeout, and my son Rich rescued to 1 H after the redouble. Eventually, Brian Senior of England became declarer in 3 NT.

3 NT by South

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

West

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

It looks like nine easy tricks with the D A-K onside, and it would be after a red-suit lead; but Rich found the almost-killing spade lead, won by South’s king. The C A-Q were cashed to discover the bad news (I pitched a spade) then South led a heart to develop his ninth trick. Suppose I win the H A and return a spade, won in dummy.

If declarer leads another heart, West takes the king and leads a diamond to my A-K, then a third spade severs declarer’s communication. Whichever hand he wins in is left with a loser.

But wait! If declarer cashes one top club in dummy (he can’t cash both because West still has the H K) I am caught in a bizarre triple squeeze, reminiscent of the late Geza Ottlik. If I pitch my last spade, I can’t lead a spade to break declarer’s communication; so I must let go my long card in a red suit; and declarer pitches from the opposite red suit. Next a heart is led to the king, and declarer can cope with any defense. If we cash both diamonds and lead a third spade, his hand is high thanks to the squeeze.

Alas, we didn’t put declarer to the test — instead trying to run diamonds after winning the heart. Sorry, Brian, for depriving you of the opportunity for the rare squeeze; but I’m sure he would have gotten it right anyway.

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© 2004 Richard Pavlicek