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Country Life Every Week - - Books - An­drew Rob­son

We re­turn to The Squeeze. Con­trast these two end­ings (Spades are trumps): As de­clarer, you wish to make three more tricks in each end­ing, yet have just two ob­vi­ous win­ners. It’s im­pos­si­ble to wring a third trick in (a). You lead your Ace of Spades, but East can dis­card his Club and you get nowhere.

In end­ing (b), how­ever, the lead of the Ace of Spades squeezes East in Hearts and Di­a­monds, be­cause he has no ‘idle card’ (this is a tech­ni­cal term). Go back to (a). What you needed to do ear­lier is lose the Club, to tighten the end­ing.

For most squeezes to work, you need to have pre­cisely one fewer win­ner than the num­ber of cards re­main­ing. In (b), you have two win­ners and three cards re­main­ing. Los­ing an early trick to reach this de­sired sit­u­a­tion is known as ‘rec­ti­fy­ing the count’.

On our first il­lus­tra­tive deal, as de­clarer, you have 11 win­ners and 13 cards. To bring about the de­sired ‘N-1’, you must lose an early trick. West led the nine of Hearts, which looks safer than lead­ing from a Knave. De­clarer won the Knave and now rec­ti­fied the count by duck­ing a Di­a­mond round to East’s nine. East con­tin­ued with the King of Di­a­monds.

Win­ning dummy’s Ace of Di­a­monds, de­clarer now played out his three re­main­ing Heart win­ners (throw­ing his last Di­a­mond on dummy’s last Heart). West fol­lowed to the sec­ond round of Hearts, dis­carded his last Di­a­mond on the third, but was squeezed in the black suits on the last Heart. Slam made.

If de­clarer hadn’t ducked a Di­a­mond, West would have been able to dis­card two Di­a­monds on the Hearts and avoid the Squeeze.

Here is an­other Six Notrumps, West hav­ing opened a Weak Two. Plan the play on West’s Knave of Clubs lead.

De­clarer won the Club lead with his King and counted 10 top tricks, with an 11th eas­ily es­tab­lish­able in Hearts, but should he lead a low Heart to the Queen, or lead the King? The suc­cess of the slam de­pends upon his choice.

De­clarer can’t af­ford the Heart trick to go, two, eight, Queen, five, for the count would not have been rec­ti­fied. At trick two, de­clarer cor­rectly led the King of Hearts.

West clearly had to win the Ace of Hearts or de­clarer would be able to gen­er­ate a sec­ond Heart trick by lead­ing to­wards the Queen. West con­tin­ued with the ten of Clubs.

De­clarer won dummy’s Queen of Clubs and cashed four rounds of Spades, dis­card­ing a Di­a­mond from dummy, East fol­low­ing all the way. He then led a Heart to dummy’s Queen and watched East squirm. Which­ever mi­nor East threw gave de­clarer a fourth trick in the suit—slam made.

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