Squeeze? I Don’t Think So!

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The following hand was sent to us as an offensive gem – declarer made all 13 tricks on a squeeze. However, the deal is far more interesting from a defensive point of view.

Dlr: North Vul: E-W

North
S Q J
H A K 10 6 3 2
D J 3 2
C A 5
West
S 9 8 7 4 3
H Q 9 5
D 10 8
C Q 8 6
East
S K
H J 8 7 4
D 6 5 4
C J 10 9 7 2
South
S A 10 6 5 2
H – –
D A K Q 9 7
C K 4 3

 

WestNorthEastSouth
1HPass1S
Pass3HPass4D
Pass4SPass4NT
Pass5HPass6NT
All Pass

At the table the opening lead was the spade 9 to the jack, king and ace. Declarer crossed to the spade queen and came back to hand with a diamond to take the spade 10. Then he ran the diamonds. What should the defenders discard?

Of course West had to hold a spade, and the hearts and clubs had to be protected. Both West and East had protection in both suits, so there had to be a defensive meeting of minds. At the table West began his discards by getting rid of the 6 and 8 of clubs. East decided to protect hearts, so he pitched three clubs. Whoops! Now declarer was able to take his 13th trick with the club 4.

In a situation like this, it is so important to watch the cards. West could have discarded either hearts or clubs. He chose to pitch two clubs, the lower first. The message was clear: “Partner, I’m covering hearts, so you take care of clubs.” But East eyed those hearts in dummy and thought he had to protect the suit.

Partnership discourse, cooperation and trust are paramount for the defense. Here West sent a clear message, and East should have cooperated by showing his trust in partner. Sure, it’s possible only 1 IMP was involved in this case, but what if the battle had been for the 12th trick? Or what if it had been matchpoints instead of IMPs?

It’s surprising how often what looks like a squeeze of some sort really is the result of a defensive misplay

About the Author:

Harold Schogger has just celebrated 40 years of bridge teaching. He opened his bridge club in Hendon London in 1983. Since 1997 he has devoted his time to teaching and directing.

He holds the Professional Teachers’ Diploma from the English Bridge Union, and now trains teachers for the EBU. He is also a member of the International Bridge Press Association. Harold is the author of Practice Your Rule of 11 and the ebook Bridge for Winners.

Harold has been an OKbridge member since 1997. You can see his valuable blog posts here under the category Bridge Hand Review. Harold is also a Premier Life Master.

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