WE have been looking extensively at declarer squeezing his hapless opponents. Is there anything they can do to stop him? Our first deal comes from across the pond.
West led the Knave of Clubs versus the marginal Six Hearts. Declarer won the Ace, drew three rounds of trumps and led a Spade. East beat dummy’s Queen with the Ace and, seeing the weak Diamonds in dummy, looked no further than the Diamond return.
Declarer realised that East would hardly lead from the King of Diamonds. He rose with the Ace. He crossed to the King of Spades, returned to hand via a fourth Heart, cashed the Knave of Spades (discarding a Diamond from dummy) and then led out his fifth Heart.
West was poleaxed. He had to discard from the King of Diamonds and ten-nine-four of Clubs and either was fatal. He chose a Club, but dummy’s Queen of Diamonds could disappear, to leave King-queen-seven of Clubs. At trick 11, declarer led his second Club to dummy’s King-queen and enjoyed the last trick with the lowly seven.
Twelve tricks and slam made, but have you seen the way for the defence to break up the squeeze? East needed to return a second Club, not a Diamond, when he won the Ace of Spades. This ruins the communications and the slam must fail.
Our second deal comes from a duplicate at the Andrew Robson Bridge Club. West cashed the Ace of Spades and switched to his singleton in partner’s Clubs. Declarer won the Ace and led the King of Diamonds. West won the Ace and switched to the Queen of Hearts. Declarer won the Ace and ran all his Diamonds. Every last one.
On the last Diamond, West had to discard from the King of Spades and Knave-ten of Hearts, dummy, crucially discarding after, held the Queen of Spades and King-nine of Hearts. Whichever major West chose to let go, dummy would throw the other. In practice, West threw the ten of Hearts, so dummy threw the Queen of Spades. At trick 12, declarer led his second Heart to the (Knave and) King and enjoyed the last trick with the nine.
Eleven tricks and doubled game made, making West wish he’d switched at trick two to the Queen of Hearts. He wins the first Diamond, whereupon he can lead the Knave of Hearts, with East threatening to ruff away dummy’s King. Indeed, declarer needs to withhold dummy’s King to escape with down one.
(1) Jacoby—showing a gameforcing Heart raise. (2) 15–19 balanced. (3) north can afford to cue bid a King facing a balanced hand. (4) ace-showing cue bid. (5) nothing more to add—north dislikes his acelessness. (6) ace-showing cue bid. south is willing to go beyond game, given his fine trump quality and two side aces. (7) Because he has a control (albeit second-round) in the unbid spades.
(1) Weak hand (er, yes) with a good(ish) seven-card suit. East is certainly bottom of the range for a vulnerable Three clubs. (2) Practical leap. (3) certainly looks right to defend, facing a weak hand with seven clubs, although when he picked up his fine six-five (‘come alive’), i’m sure he was looking forward to doing plenty of bidding in his long majors.