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A Gem of a Squeeze

March 14, 1982 — Fort Lauderdale News & Sun-Sentinel

One of the rarest situations in bridge is the “inverted squeeze” — rare not only because it occurs so infrequently, but also because even on those few occasions it usually goes unrecognized, or discovered by declarer too late to execute it.

While the main purpose of these articles is to instruct (painlessly, I hope) by taking up everyday table occurrences, I couldn’t resist bringing you this little gem played a few weeks ago at the Broward Bridge Center by well-known teacher Mabel Pavlicek. She was partnered with a pupil and playing a basic bidding system (which did not include transfer bids after 1 NT).

4 H by South S A 7 4
H Q 9 8
D A J 10 7
C A Q 3
N-S Vul


1 NT
4 H

2 S
All Pass

3 H
S 10 8
H J 10
D 5 4 3 2
C 9 6 5 4 2
Table S K J 9 6 5
D K Q 9 8
C K 10 7
Lead: S 10 S Q 3 2
H A 7 6 5 4 3 2
D 6
C J 8

The opening lead of the spade 10 was won by the ace (South fearing a singleton) and a small heart was led from dummy. The king was a welcome sight, and South continued with a heart to dummy’s queen.

Since East’s double of 1 NT probably marked him with the club king, and with overtricks counting so much at duplicate bridge, Mabel came up with a bright idea: If East held the king and queen of diamonds, he might as well go home.

Mabel next cashed the heart nine (a key play to unblock the trump suit) and led a spade. East won the king and exited safely with a spade to South’s queen. Mabel now played two more trumps, discarding the diamond seven and the club three from dummy. This was now the situation:

On the next trump lead Mabel threw the club queen from dummy, and East had had it. If he discarded a diamond, Mabel would lead to the diamond ace, ruff out East’s remaining honor, and dummy would take the last two tricks. If East threw a club (as he actually did), Mabel would lead to dummy’s club ace (dropping the king), cash the diamond ace, ruff a diamond with her carefully preserved last trump, and the club jack would take the last trick to complete the rarely seen squeeze. South leads S
D A J 10
D 5 4
C 9 6 5
Table S
D K Q 9
C K 10
H 5 4
D 6
C J 8

Moral: When you play against Mabel, don’t expect any gifts!


© 1982 Charles H. Whitebrook