Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WATCH ON PRESTO - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

In a pairs game, de­clarer must strive for over­tricks. In to­day’s hand, re­ported by Nick Hardy, South opened a weak two in spades, East pro­tected with a slightly heavy 2N, West checked for a heart fit and sub­sided in 3NT. Some play­ers will ac­tu­ally bid 3NT in­stead of 2NT be­cause of the ex­tra strength but the scanty spade stop­per sug­gests the more con­ser­va­tive ap­proach.

South starts with the JS and de­clarer runs it round to the queen. When de­clarer leads a small card to­wards the spade king, South rises and ex­its with another spade. Now de­clarer has eleven tricks and must try to make twelve. The clubs might break 3-3 but de­clarer must not try this now. Gen­er­ally, you should leave try­ing for 3-3 breaks as a late op­tion in the play. If de­clarer cashes the four heart win­ners then North is in trou­ble as he needs to keep QJx of di­a­monds and Jxxx of clubs but must come down to six cards.

De­clarer will try di­a­monds to see if they come down and, lastly, try the clubs. If the squeeze hasn’t worked then the clubs might be 3-3 all the time. South can change all this by duck­ing the sec­ond spade and let­ting the king win. Now af­ter two spades and four hearts, North still has seven cards and can guard both mi­nors. Can South still get twelve tricks? Af­ter two spades and four hearts (dis­card­ing a small spade), South is known to be 64xx so cash the AD to see whether clubs are 3-3 or not since, if the clubs are 3-3, South will dis­card on the AD. If South fol­lows then cash the AC to make sure di­a­monds are not 4-3 then play the KD and duck a diamond to North. The 9D is now set up for the twelfth trick. The vast ma­jor­ity of squeezes op­er­ate only when de­clarer has a loser count of one be­fore the squeeze card (the last heart) is played and some­times de­clarer has to lose some un­winnable tricks to rec­tify the loser count to be­ing one. This squeeze works with two losers and is called a ‘squeeze with­out the count’.

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