I’M going to run a series on The Squeeze, hoping to demystify this exciting area of the game. The first thing to say is that most squeezes just happen, without you as declarer having to do much, apart from lead out all your winners, including that very last trump.
Take this ending in which you as declarer are leading: Dummy ♥A J ♦2 Declarer ♠A ♥4 ♦K You have two of the last three tricks off the top: the Aces of Spades and Hearts. If you lead the Ace of Spades and discard dummy’s Diamond, however, you will make all three tricks, as East is squeezed in Hearts and Diamonds. If he throws his Ace of Diamonds, your King is promoted; if he throws a Heart, dummy’s Ace-knave are promoted.
Note the above squeeze would operate if West held guards in both red suits. It’s therefore classed as Automatic—that is, it works on either opponent. Let’s swap the King of Diamonds: Dummy ♥A J ♦K Declarer ♠A ♥4 ♦2 You lead your Ace of Spades and West is squeezed. If he throws the Ace of Diamonds, dummy’s King is promoted; if he throws a Heart, dummy’s Diamond is discarded (having served its purpose) and the last two tricks are won by dummy’s Ace-knave of Hearts.
Note that the second position would not work if East held West’s cards, because he would be discarding after dummy, dummy holding both the red-suit threats. Because the squeeze works only on West but not on East, it’s said to be Positional.
On our first deal, West led the Ace of Diamonds versus Four Hearts, East encouraging with the nine. West cashed the King and led a third Diamond to East’s Queen. At trick four, East switched to the ten of Clubs. Plan the play
It appears that you need the Club finesse for your 10th trick with three Spades, five Hearts and the Ace of Clubs. However, West’s double has told you he has the King of Clubs—and, also, very likely, four Spades. Guarding both black suits, he’s going to be in some trouble. Rise with the Ace of Clubs and lead out all your Hearts. On the last Heart, West must either throw a Spade, promoting dummy’s Aceking-queen-four into four tricks; or let go the King of Clubs, promoting your Queen. Ten tricks and game made.
We finish with an outrageous coup in a horrible slam.
The defence could have taken the Ace-king of Hearts straight away, but West reasonably led the Knave of Spades. Declarer won in dummy and needed to tighten the ending. At trick two, he led a Heart (yes, really) to the Queen. West won the Ace and, unsuspectingly, continued with the ten of Spades.
Declarer won the Spade and cashed all his Diamonds plus the third Spade. On this final winner, East was squeezed between the King of Hearts and his four Clubs. Throw the Heart and declarer’s Knave was promoted; discard a Club and the suit would provide four tricks. Slam made.