Paul Bethe

Textbook hands that come up.

Dealer: E

Vul: NS

West East
KT742 Q8
A Q6
Q84 J652
K976 QT853
East South West North
P 4 P (?) P

My teammate demonstrated solid declarer play on this hand.  At my table we competed to 5 Clubs, but North went for the vulnerable game bonus, competing to 5H.  Declarer guessed hearts correctly, but did not discard properly and made only +650.

Against my teammate, the club lead was won with the Ace and next came the correct guess play of a heart to the Jack.  West won and returned a spade.  Declarer won, ruffed a spade (important, to isolate the spade threat) and ran trump.  For the 4-card ending, West holding KQ84 K could either pitch the King of clubs, or pitch a diamond.  (a spade would be fatal).  After thought, a diamond was discarded.

Declarer kept 1 spade, 1 club, and Ax of diamonds in dummy and cashed the last trump.  At the table, West pitched a club, and when dummy let go of the spade, East was squeezed between diamonds and clubs.  If instead West had parted with another diamond, dummy still parts with a spade, and a diamond to dummy’s Ace fells West’s jack, and the finesse is taken through East.

The literature calls this a ‘pentagonal guard-squeeze’, as West is triple squeezed. Letting go of clubs creates a standard positional double squeeze, spades on West, clubs on East and diamonds in the middle; but letting go of two diamonds creates a finesse-able position, thus the ‘guard’.  Definitely fun when this comes up at the table AND you get it right!

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