Both this week’s squeezes were played by juniors, the first by Egypt’s hussein Sherif in the Youth team Championships.
West led the Knave of Clubs and declarer had to decide whether to win or to duck. there is something to be said for winning and leading a Spade to the Queen, for a favourable Spade layout—a three-three split with West holding the King —will yield three Spade tricks, whereupon the slam is nearly home.
the above line, found by the Polish South at the other table, failed. our young Egyptian hero elected to let the Knave of Clubs win, relying on the hearts to provide five tricks, preparing the way for a 4-4 Club split and a long card, also rectifying the count for a possible squeeze.
he threw a Diamond from dummy on the Knave of Clubs and another Diamond on the ten of Clubs that followed.
Winning the second Club, declarer cashed the other two top Clubs, discarding Spades from dummy, then led the Ace of Spades, the Vienna Coup. he next cashed the Ace of hearts and led over to dummy’s King-queen-ten-eight (when the Knave fell).
on the last heart winner, East was squeezed. he had to keep the King of Spades or dummy’s Queen would be promoted, so was forced to reduce to two Diamonds. At trick 11, declarer led a Diamond to his Ace-king, and scored the last trick with his lowly seven of Diamonds. In junior circles, winning the last trick with the seven of Diamonds entitles you to a beer from the other players. Very well played.
our second deal comes from a Swedish Junior Camp and features fine declarer play from Israel’s ophir Reshef.
West led the Queen of hearts, which declarer correctly allowed to hold. A Spade switch at trick two would have left declarer with too much to do, but, West continued normally with the Knave of hearts, which would have been the necessary heart play if declarer began with ten-small. Declarer covered the Knave with dummy’s King, East winning the Ace and returning a third heart to declarer’s ten.
At trick four, declarer led a low Club towards dummy’s Knavenine, West flying in with the Queen (would declarer have tried dummy’s nine if West had ducked smoothly?). West cashed his long heart, dummy and declarer letting go Diamonds, and exited with the Knave of Spades.
Declarer won the Queen of Spades, crossed to the Knave of Clubs and returned to his Aceking, forcing West to throw the Knave of Diamonds to keep three Spades. Declarer crossed to the Ace-king of Spades and, at trick 12, led a Diamond towards his Ace-queen. Finesse or drop?
Declarer reflected that West had flown in with the Queen of Clubs, which suggested he knew his partner held no higher Club. he would only know that if he held the King of Diamonds.
on a more superficial level, that Knave of Diamonds discard was very suspicious. Declarer rose with the Ace and the King was felled. Game made.