Squeezing The Dummy

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Missed Opportunity

Knowing how to execute rare squeezes is not vital to the long-term success of a bridge player for that very reason; they are rare. Still, they are fun when they do come up and sometimes can win you a lot of imps. See if you can do better than my partner did on this tricky hand.

Q4
AK942
Q3
AK43

AKJT72
T63
K7
T5

After partner opens 1 you respond 1. Partner rebids 2 and you bid 2 to establish a game force. Lefty Xs and this is passed back to you. You choose to suppress the heart fit and bid 2. Partner raises to 3, and you having done a lot already simply sign off in 4. Partner has other plans and bids 5 to ask for a diamond control. Since you have one you must bid 6.

LHO leads the 9 of clubs. Plan your play then read on.

One possible line is a simple squeeze. For this to execute against RHO, LHO will need a stiff club or else he can kill your entry to the board. You will not be able to cash the AK of hearts effectively after that as you will have no board entry so the squeeze will not operate against RHO. You also need RHO to have 5+ clubs for this line to work if he guards both suits.

Another line is just to try for the QJ of hearts onside. This is only 25 % though, and we can do better.

The best line is what's known as a trump squeeze. We need to be careful in preparation, though. The ending we need to reach is:

--
AK
--
43

2
T63
--
--

It does not matter if 1 less round of clubs has been played or not. If one hand has the club guard and the heart guard, they will have to unguard one suit. If they throw a club, play a heart to the ace, ruff a club, heart to dummy and cash your good club. If they throw a heart, cash the AK of hearts and ruff a club to cash your good heart.

Say we were to just pull trumps and then play a diamond. The defense can foil us by ducking. The count is not rectified, so we are forced to play another diamond. Now the defense can win the ace and play a club or heart locking us in dummy. The only way we can get off the board is ruffing a club which destroys the squeeze against RHO. So we must play a diamond immediately while we can still get off the board with a trump. The risk of a club ruff is negligible. LHO doubled 2 so is a huge favorite to have the ace of diamonds. He is the only one who can have a stiff given the lead, so a ruff is very unlikely.

Did you find this line of play? If not, don't feel too bad. You won't see this again for another 5 years.

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