Join Bridge Winners
Unnecessary Squeeze
(Page of 13)

In a semi-final match in the senior trials for USA2, you have to decide what to do opposite partner's strong notrump.

None vul, South deals. As South, you hold:

South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
?

1NT: 15-17

If you wish to move towards game and search for a major-suit fit, 2 puppet Stayman is available. If you want to make a power invite, 2 is a size ask.

You call?

South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
?

Your side has a maximum of 24 HCP. On the other hand, you have a good 5-card diamond suit which might be running. Also, if partner has a 4-card spade suit spades could play quite well.

On the other hand, you are non-vulnerable. If game is around 50%, you don't care whether you are there or not. If partner has a minimum and is unable to accept, you would much rather be in 1NT than 2NT.

It is a close call. Probably it is best not to move towards game.

Even if you choose not to invite, your methods leave you another option. You might bid 2, puppet Stayman, planning on passing the likely 2 response. It is usually right to play in a 5-card suit rather than play 1NT, but maybe notrump is better here. You do have a minimum of 22 HCP between the two hands, so 1NT figures to make on power while 2 might be in jeopardy on a bad diamond split. On the other hand you have two worthless doubletons, and if the opponents can run one of these suit 1NT might be in jeopardy.

All things considered, the percentage call appears to be to take advantage of Puppet Stayman, bidding 2 with the plan of passing 2.

You choose to pass. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
?

2: Clubs and a major

2: Asking for the major

Your call?

South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
?

It is clear to double. Since 2 is an artificial call, this double should show a real diamond suit. It also lets partner know you aren't broke, so if West's major is hearts partner will be able to double with a 4-card heart holding. Should West's major be spades, you will be happy to double that.

You double. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
?

Your call?

South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
?

Partner was unable to double 2, so it is clear that the opponents have at least an 8-card heart fit. That indicates that you should compete. 2 looks perfect on your hand. Partner will know you are bidding a 4-card spade suit, so if he has a doubleton spade he will get you back to 3. A 4-3 fit might not be too pretty, but still you will have more trumps than the opponents and can probably scramble 8 tricks. In addition you might hit partner with 4 spades, in which case the 2 bid will do very well.

You bid 2, ending the auction.

W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

West leads the jack of diamonds.

North
KQ4
K52
K2
KQ1098
South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

Where do you win this trick?

North
KQ4
K52
K2
KQ1098
South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

There is some chance that the lead is a singleton. If West also has ace-doubleton of trumps, there might be a gain from winning in your hand in order to lead a trump towards dummy. However, this does tangle up the diamond suit, and the lead doesn't have to be a singleton. It looks better to win the lead in dummy and keep a smoother entry flow.

You win the king of diamonds. East plays the 3, UDCA. What do you lead at trick 2?

North
KQ4
K52
2
KQ1098
South
J976
104
AQ87
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

It has to be right to get to work drawing trumps, since you have likely winners in both minors and there may be singletons out against you in both minors. There is some danger of being forced in hearts, but with the ace of spades out of the way you can control things.

You lead the king of spades. East wins the ace, West playing the 5. East returns the 10. What do you do?

North
Q4
K52
2
KQ1098
South
J97
104
AQ87
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

It is now almost certain that West has led a singleton diamond. You know he didn't start with J10 doubleton, and leading from jack-doubleton after you showed a diamond suit in the auction makes no sense.

If West has the expected singleton diamond, perhaps it is right to duck the 10 of diamonds. This will retain your two diamond winners, which could be important on this hand. This also avoids an immediate heart through dummy's king, which you definitely don't want to see.

There are a couple of arguments against ducking. One is the possibility that West actually led a doubleton diamond, in which case ducking is just giving the defense a trick. The other is that East might continue diamonds, allowing West to uppercut dummy and promote a trump trick for East. But if this happens you will be left with two winning diamonds which you won't have to worry about disposing.

It is an unusual play, but it does look like ducking is the right idea.

You choose to play the queen of diamonds. West ruffs, and shifts to the 2. What do you play?

North
Q4
K52
KQ1098
South
J97
104
A87
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

This is encouraging. It appears that East has the ace of clubs, which means that the ace of hearts is onside. You would have been in much worse shape if those aces were reversed.

It is looking likely that East has the stiff ace of clubs. However, you don't need to make that commitment now. You can play a high club, and finesse later if that looks right. If that finesse wins, you will have enough winners to make the contract.

You play the king of clubs. East wins the ace. He shifts to the 8. You play the 10 (why not?), and West wins the ace. West now leads the 3. Do you finesse or not?

North
Q4
K5
Q1098
South
J97
4
A87
4
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

This one you have to get right. If you go up queen and East ruffs and returns a trump, you are a trick short. However, the trick will come back. Assuming East has the remaining trumps, you can win in your hand, ruff a diamond with dummy's queen of trumps, ruff a club back to your hand, draw the last trump, and cash the ace of diamonds. This will result in a double squeeze position.

What about if East returns a heart? That breaks up any possible squeeze. However, if the trumps are 4-2 as expected, your ace of diamonds will cash and you can crossruff for the rest of the tricks. Once again, this works out badly if the trumps are 3-3 as West can ruff your ace of diamonds.

Finessing is wrong only if West's shape is 3-5-1-4, and even then East would have to hold AJ doubleton of clubs. This looks a lot less likely than the danger shape of 3-4-1-5. Finessing appears to be the percentage play.

You finesse. East ruffs with the 3, and returns the 8. You play the 9, and West discards a heart. Now what?

North
Q
K5
Q109
South
J7
4
A87
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

You are now cold. Simply ruff a diamond, ruff a club back, and draw East's last trump. You have the ace of diamonds and two winners left in dummy.

You cash the ace of diamonds, pitching a club, and ruff a diamond in dummy. You then have a blackout thinking that East has two trumps left and that you need a trump coup, so you lead the queen of clubs. East ruffs, and you overruff. Now what?

North
K5
10
South
7
4
8
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

You have a recovery with an unnecessary squeeze. Cashing the last trump produces a classic double squeeze position, and you make your contract. The full hand is:

 

West
52
AJ763
J
J7632
North
KQ4
K52
K2
KQ1098
East
A1083
Q98
109643
A
South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1N
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
K
3
5
1
1
0
K
A
6
5
2
1
1
10
Q
2
2
0
1
2
2
K
A
5
2
1
3
8
10
A
2
0
1
4
3
8
3
4
2
1
5
8
9
6
4
3
2
5
A
3
9
4
3
3
5
8
6
Q
6
1
4
5
Q
10
J
7
3
5
5
7
11

Could the defense have been improved?

West
52
AJ763
J
J7632
North
KQ4
K52
K2
KQ1098
East
A1083
Q98
109643
A
South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1N
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
K
3
5
1
1
0
K
A
6
5
2
1
1
10
Q
2
2
0
1
2
2
K
A
5
2
1
3
8
10
A
2
0
1
4
3
8
3
4
2
1
5
8
9
6
4
3
2
5
A
3
9
4
3
3
5
8
6
Q
6
1
4
5
Q
10
J
7
3
5
5
7
11

East might have returned a small diamond. He knows his partner has led a singleton diamond, but declarer can't be sure of that. West might have led from J10 doubleton. Only when East leads the 10 does declarer know for sure.

After ruffing the diamond, West could have made things a lot more difficult for declarer by shifting to a small heart. This threatens to force declarer, which would prevent declarer from scoring any club tricks. Declarer can survive this if he reads the position, but it is a lot more difficult.

How was the E-W bidding?

West
52
AJ763
J
J7632
North
KQ4
K52
K2
KQ1098
East
A1083
Q98
109643
A
South
J976
104
AQ875
54
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1N
P
P
2
P
2
X
2
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
K
3
5
1
1
0
K
A
6
5
2
1
1
10
Q
2
2
0
1
2
2
K
A
5
2
1
3
8
10
A
2
0
1
4
3
8
3
4
2
1
5
8
9
6
4
3
2
5
A
3
9
4
3
3
5
8
6
Q
6
1
4
5
Q
10
J
7
3
5
5
7
11

East might have entered over 1NT. He does have some shape, and the vulnerability is the most attractive vulnerability for competing, since whichever side buys the contract if they are going down it is only 50 a trick.

West's 2 call is clear. His 5-5 in hearts/clubs is not attractive for defending 1NT, particularly since partner isn't likely to find the heart lead. Also East is likely to be relatively balanced since he didn't act directly when he is known to have a fair hand, so West is likely to hit some kind of a fit.

At the other table, West opened Multi on his 5-5 hand. North overcalled 2NT, and East acted, finding out his partner held hearts. East led the 8, which looks like a killer, but West fell from grace, winning the ace of hearts and shifting to a club. After this start, declarer was able to come to 9 tricks.

Modern philosophy stresses more and more the importance of bidding with distributional hands even if fairly weak. The actions of E-W at both tables is an illustration of this trend.

15 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top