Today’s deal is from a match-point event where none of the declarers found the play for the overtrick. See if you can come up with the right solution.

Contract: 6N by south. West leads the spade ten. Plan the play.

Bidding comment: North’s 3H bid was ‘limit raise or better’ in diamonds. 4S by north was natural, indicating game-forcing values. This gives south an opportunity to pass with a four-card support in spades. If opener has no four-card support, he can bid 4N for play or go back to diamonds. As opener had sufficient ‘extras’, it was easy to bid 6N.

Analysis: As you can see, the lead has solved declarer’s problem. He has to decide how to go after the thirteenth trick. West appears to have K-J-x-x-x-x in hearts for his 2H bid. So, only he can guard hearts. After the opening lead, you can well place east with the spade length and it is easy to see that only he can guard spades.

How the play went: The first trick went to the jack, queen, and declarer’s ace. Declarer reeled his diamond winners and discarded a heart from dummy. When he cashed his spades next, declarer had a problem discarding from his hand. As a result, he could make only 12 tricks.

Correct play: Play dummies-jack. East covers and you win with the ace. Cash the king and the nine of spades next. On the S9, discard the HQ from hand! Cash five diamond tricks next, coming down to:

Cash HA now and play the D9, the squeeze card. West will be forced to part with a club. Dummy gives up the heart ten. Forced to retain the spade, east will also have to give up a club. Declarer’s third club becomes high.

Technically speaking, it is a simultaneous double squeeze. West had to guard the hearts, east the spades, and nobody could guard the pivot suit, clubs!

The complete hands are:

Discussion: As you would have noticed, 6D poses no problem in play. Declarer can take the ruffing finesse against the SQ.

It was important for the declarer to cash the winners in proper order before leading the squeeze card.

A non-committal diamond lead would have been the best choice. Declarer will be held to twelve tricks.

Strictly, a double squeeze can be considered as two simple squeezes, one against each defender. West is squeezed in hearts and clubs, and east in spades and clubs.

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