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.