Paul Bethe

Defending a Squeeze

With the Edgar Kaplan regional coming up, this hand from a few years ago came back to me.

West East
T63 K2
AJ75 Q9
7 QJ96543
Q9864 75
West North East South
P 1
P 1 P 1
P 2 P 4

Interesting that East did not bid his 7-by-2, since I have never seen a seven-card suit not worth bidding…  The play in 4♠ was: diamond lead, won with the King, (Jack).  Club to the Ace, club ruff, spade to the Jack.

Here, I was perhaps careless, as I tried to ruff another club with the 9.  The train started to derail as East over-ruffed with the King and then lead the 9 of diamonds for his partner who ruffed out my Ace with the ♠6.  (which gave away that West also held the Ten, since East would not have ruffed with the King).

Interestingly at this point both West and South have perfect count on the hand, since they have counted East to exactly 2 spades, 7 diamonds and 2 clubs, and therefore 2 hearts.

Now a two-part defense was required to set.  First the heart trap must be avoided:  Ace and another allows me to ruff a third heart back to hand, score the club King and crossruff (west must follow to 2 heart plays and 2 clubs.).

A low heart looks attractive, but dummy wins, and a diamond can be led and a heart shaked (loser-on-loser).  Then when East leads another diamond, a club is discarded from hand, ruffed in dummy, heart ruff to hand while West must follow, and the last trump drawn and a claim.  (A heart return creates a simple cross ruff, cashing the club-King along the way)

No, a trump must be returned to prevent that club ruff.  However now when I overtook, and played two more trumps, West was squeeze-endplayed:

West East
AJ7 Q9

When they pitched a heart (dummy a diamond), I now lead a heart up, and they could either win and give the rest to me or dummy, so they ducked to dummy’s king, but a second heart left them to lead into my club tenace.

However West missed a neat play, as they were not really squeezed.  At trick nine [above], they needed to jettison the Ace of hearts, transferring the heart winner to partner and some good diamonds.  (Push board).

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