Play Bridge: Executing a squeeze play

Building on the last 4 columns advanced declarer techniques, this week one of the two expert techniques is discussed.

In the last four columns, we have seen four advanced declarer techniques. In addition to these, there are two expert techniques, the squeeze and the determination of the defenders’ hands. The squeeze will be discussed here.

The squeeze is the play where declarer cashes a long suit, forcing a defender, guarding two suits, to let the guard go in one of those suits giving declarer a seemingly undeserved trick.

The bidding: South, with a balanced 16 points, opens one No Trump. West overcalls two clubs showing clubs and a higher suit. We saw another example of DONT last week.

North has 15 points which is not enough for slam without a five-card suit, but it is enough that three No Trump is likely the best contract. With only a ten-count, North would have used Stayman in case South needed ruffing power. The sheer strength of 30 to 32 points (which they have) will likely make ruffing unnecessary or redundant.

The Lead: West leads the King of clubs, the top of a broken sequence.

The play: Declarer ducks the opening lead, and West stops to think. His partner played the five which was his lowest spade. East does not want a club continuation. West recognizes the Bath Coup and leads a spade trying to break up a potential squeeze. If West continues clubs, declarer will win both his Jack and Ace, a coup first achieved in Bath England.

Declarer takes a diamond finesse into West because he does not want East, the danger hand, getting in and leading a club. The finesse loses and West exits a heart.

Declarer now loses a club to rectify the count. Declarer has nine tricks and can win a tenth trick on a squeeze if he loses three tricks before making the defenders discard. West wins a club and exits a club.

Declarer cashes another top heart and another top spade, so if he sees another heart or spade, he will run that suit. He cashes his last two diamonds and East must give up a spade or a heart and declarer gets his tenth trick.

Result: Three No Trump making plus one for +430.