Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the French magazine Le Bridgeur n°893 on 15 April 2015.
For once, Funbridge presents a squeeze deal commented by Jean-Michel Grosfils (one of the best Belgian players). Planning the play and playing it should give you a hard time.
Please first hide East-West’s hands.
| 5 2|
Q 8 7 5
A 9 7 5 3
J 9 7 2
A K J 6 2
J 8 4
| 10 8|
A K 10 5
10 9 4 3
Q 10 2
| A K Q J 9 6 4 3|
Q 6 3
Card play: diamond ace lead, ruffed in hand.
At this stage, you know that in theory, you will have to concede three hearts. You could think of getting rid of the third loser in hearts via the ruff, but opponents will be only too pleased to thwart your plan by returning to trump suit every single time. How to take an eleventh trick, so invaluable in pair tournaments?
If you take a closer look at the situation, you have a squeeze card (spades), a threat suit (clubs) and two threat cards, namely the diamond queen in dummy… and the heart queen if East holds ace-king in the suit!
Therefore continue with a low heart, obliging opponents to rectify the count for you (as usual, it is about losing all the unwinnable tricks before fighting to make the remaining ones). Return to spades, play a second low heart (*) and return to spades again. At this stage, you have the heart queen left but there’s a significant difference: you regained control at the right time!
From then on, the end of the play is not difficult to visualise:
A 9 7
J 8 4
Q 10 2
On the penultimate trump West had no difficulty getting rid of his heart jack. But on the last one (the one that always hurts) he must resolve to discard a club. Then just discard your diamond queen, which is now useless, before seeing East also forced to get rid of a club. In this case, the heart queen was indeed a threat card and clubs then provide an eleventh trick via this double squeeze.
To conclude, you will notice that the only lead able to thwart the squeeze is the trump lead. As for a possible club lead, you will take it with the king and directly play hearts while staying ahead.
(*) Editor’s note: the heart queen will be the right card if the one having the singleton trump holds heart ace-king.