Country Life Every Week - - Bridge Crossword - An­drew Rob­son

The first of this week’s pair of deals in­volv­ing squeeze play comes from Cyprus ver­sus Slo­vakia in the Small Fed­er­a­tions’ Tro­phy.

West led the seven of Di­a­monds, giv­ing de­clarer an awk­ward de­ci­sion. If East held six Di­a­monds, then play­ing low would en­able West to score two Di­a­mond ruffs. In that case, he would be bet­ter to rise with dummy’s Ace and rely on a Heart to the Knave for his 10th trick. De­clarer gam­bled that East had over­called with five Di­a­monds and played low in dummy—per­haps East would not play his part­ner for a sin­gle­ton even if he held six Di­a­monds.

East won trick one with the Queen of Di­a­monds and switched to the three of Clubs. West won the Queen, cashed the Ace (was this best?) and led his sec­ond Di­a­mond. De­clarer rose with dummy’s Ace and drew trumps.

De­clarer crossed to the Ace of Hearts (on the off chance of see­ing a sin­gle­ton Queen) and ruffed dummy’s third Club. He then led out his last two Spades, dummy com­ing down to the King-knave of Hearts. East had to keep his King of Di­a­monds, to pre­vent de­clarer’s ten from pro­mot­ing, so had to bare his Queen of Hearts.

At trick 12, de­clarer led his sec­ond Heart to dummy’s KingK­nave. Fi­nesse or drop? Drop—he had squeezed East down to one Heart to re­tain the King of Di­a­monds. He played dummy’s King. East’s Queen was felled and the Knave took the last trick. Game made.

If West had not cashed his Ace of Clubs be­fore lead­ing the sec­ond Di­a­mond, the ten­sion in the end- ing would have gone and the squeeze would not have op­er­ated.

our sec­ond deal is an ex­cit­ing grand slam.

De­clarer won West’s Queen of Di­a­monds lead with the Ace and saw that he could score seven Club tricks by ruff­ing three Di­a­monds in dummy. He ruffed a Di­a­mond at trick two, crossed to the nine of Clubs, ruffed a third Di­a­mond, crossed to the Ace of Clubs and ruffed a fourth Di­a­mond (with dummy’s last Club), both op­po­nents re­veal­ing four Di­a­monds.

De­clarer crossed to the King of Hearts, then led out his two re­main­ing Clubs, throw­ing Spades from dummy (West be­gin­ning with one Club, East with three). West was in se­vere dis­com­fort. He had to re­tain all four Hearts to pre­vent dummy’s four Hearts from be­ing pro­moted. He there­fore had to dis­card down to a sin­gle­ton King of Spades.

De­clarer crossed to the AceQueen of Hearts, hop­ing for a 3-3 split and no need for a sec­ond Spade trick. East dis­carded on the third Heart. At trick 12, de­clarer led dummy’s re­main­ing Spade to his Ace-queen, East play­ing low. Fi­nesse or drop?

De­clarer knew he had squeezed West down to a sin­gle­ton Spade and had seen West, clearly un­der pres­sure, throw a stran­gu­lated nine and Knave of Spades. Surely that King was bare. De­clarer rose with the Ace and, yes, the King was felled. De­clarer scored the last trick with his pro­moted Queen of Spades and that was 13 tricks and grand slam made.

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