Ray Lee

Squeeze defense

Perhaps it’s because of our intensive work on the soon-to-be-published new edition of Love, Bridge Squeezes Complete, but I’m more aware of interesting squeeze deals than I used to be.  My eye was caught last week by this one, which appeared in Paul Thurston’s daily column in the National Post.

Dealer: S

Vul: EW

A 9 7 6 4
J 4 3
A 8 6 4


A K 9 7 6 5 4

Q 5

10 8 6 2

West North East South
2 3 3 4
pass pass dbl pass
4 5 dbl all pass

This deal is from the recent Bermuda Bowl Final.  You seem to be playing with the proverbial pinochle deck here, but eventually you get fed up and just double them. Partner leads the Q and declarer plays low from dummy.  How do you defend?

Let’s suppose you ruff on general principles (we’ll look at the consequences of not ruffing shortly).   What are you going to do now?  A low spade return will almost certainly get you into the Daily Bulletin, but possibly for entirely the wrong reason!  What does partner have for his vulnerable overcall?  Surely he has diamond cards, so a diamond return looks indicated — but should you cash a spade first?  Make your decision before reading on.

Here’s the full layout:



A 9 7 6 4
J 4 3
A 8 6 4
West East
10 8 2 A K 9 7 6 5 4
Q 5
K Q 9 7 10 8 6 2
Q J 10 7 5 2
K J 10 8 3 2
A 5
K 9 3

So a low spade certainly gets you into the Daily Bulletin 🙂  It doesn’t look wrong to cash a spade before playing a diamond through, but it is — horribly wrong.  Remember Love’s acronym, BLUE?  You just rectified the count, adjusting L to 1.  Declarer wins the diamond, ruffs a spade, draws your trump and reels off the rest of the hearts.  Partner gets squeezed in the minors.  If you play a diamond through at Trick 2, there’s no squeeze — try it for yourself, as Love would say.

A neat variant occurs if you refuse to ruff at Trick 1, in case you are simply ruffing one of declarer’s losers.  He wins in hand, draws trumps, and gives up a spade.   Again now, he wins the diamond return, ruffs a spade and runs hearts.  This time West gets squeezed on the second-last heart, and declarer can duck a trick to him in whichever minor he abandons to set up the eleventh trick.

Of course, East-West could actually make twelve tricks in spades on this layout, but who could tell that from the bidding?

Watch this space — more LOVE to come…


Nick KrnjevicDecember 1st, 2009 at 7:17 am


When does the Love book come out?


Ray LeeDecember 3rd, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Going to press Jan 1, should be available mid February or so.

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