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The deal below is from the elimination round of the Gymkhana Club Open Pairs event held recently in Chennai. The north player in the diagram shown below put his partner in grand slam and the south declarer fulfilled his partner's ambitious bid by superb dummy play.
Contract: 7S by south. West leads a trump. Plan the play.
Bidding comment: The 4H bid by north is the Texas transfer to spades. 4NT is RKC. 5C indicated zero or three key-cards. The 6D bid by north confirms the possession of all the five key-cards in the combined hands and suggests opener to bid the grand with the king of diamonds. It is surprising how he is able to count thirteen tricks, even granting opener has the diamond king. What about the second round heart loser and the third round diamond loser?
Strictly, north should have transferred at the two level and raised to game to suggest a mild slam interest. South would only be glad to bid the little slam as he has a maximum and also excellent spade support.
Analysis: Declarer requires the heart finesse and a squeeze of sorts against an opponent.
Play: Declarer won the opening lead in hand, crossed to dummy in club, and successfully finessed the HQ. Removing the adverse trumps in one more round, he cashed the HA and ruffed a heart, west following with the jack to the third round. After cashing CA, he reeled off trumps to arrive at the four-card ending:
When S10 was played from dummy, east discarded the D7 and declarer threw the H8 from his hand. A diamond from dummy collected the jack from east. Declarer won with the king, and finessed the diamond ten to fulfil the contract in great style. The complete hands are:
Discussion: There were many intersteing points boh in bidding and the play. East was under three-suit pressure and felt being put through the wringer when the squeeze card was led.
This particular squeeze is known as ‘Guard Squeeze'. An apt name indeed, for the defence is squeezed of the guard that they together share.
N. Periasamy, former scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation, played this wonderful squeeze at the table to gain an absolute top.
What made the declarer to play east for the CQ? The answer is very simple. Declarer had carefully noted that west had discarded the C2 to inform his partner of his inability to guard clubs.
Suppose west has the CQ and discards a high club to indicate that he can guard clubs, there is a simultaneous double squeeze at the finish, as neither defender can guard diamonds.
Those who were in 6S never thought about the overtrick, for they were more keen on finding the best play for the contract. After cashing the clubs, they reeled all trumps but one, cashed D A-K, and exited in a third diamond. West won with the queen and played a heart and south chalked up the contract. In any case, the heart finesse was in and they had no problem.
Play out the deal with a deck of cards to understand the squeeze mechanism better.