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Deal of the Week (Aug 25, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
4♠      pass     pass    dbl
pass    5       5♠     6
all pass

West leads the ♠A and continues with the King, which you ruff. You draw two rounds of trumps with the King and Queen, East having two. The contract is not very flattering. You need the diamond finesse for starters. After that, you still need to take care of the other diamond loser. A 3-3 club break would do the job. You astutely notice the ♣9 in dummy, and realize that if an opponent has the J10 doubleton in clubs, that would be sufficient. You plunk down the Ace and King of clubs, but no such luck. You play the ♣Q, but West discards a spade, ending your dreams of a 3-3 break in the suit. How would you continue?

The Tale of an Eight

At this stage, your only chance is to squeeze East in diamonds and clubs. The hand actually plays itself from this point. You cross over to dummy in hearts, by playing the Ten and overtaking with the Ace, making sure that you have preserved a heart entry to dummy. You finesse the Q, play the 6 to dummy's 7. You now play dummy's last heart, the 8. This is the end position when the 8 is played:


If East discards his club, you discard your low diamond. If East keeps his club, you discard your club, and hope that a squeeze has taken place. Similar to last week's deal, you only need to watch out for East's club, and need not keep track of diamond discards.

You may be wondering, what is the eight that we keep talking about? On this deal, believe it or not, the 8 is the key to the entire hand. Now is the time to answer the question, what diamond holding does East need to have for the simple squeeze to operate? The obvious answer is 5 or more diamonds. If East does not have five diamonds your chances are minimal, but the squeeze will also work when East specifically holds the KJ109 in diamonds, as was the case when this deal was played. If your side did not have the 8, even if East held the KJ109 of diamonds there would be no squeeze, as East will throw all his diamonds, leaving West's 8 to protect the suit. Indeed, never has an eight been more valuable!

 AKJ9763 Deal  Q42
 J  95
 765  KJ109
 32  J1087

The squeeze on this hand is a positional simple squeeze against East. It would have also been okay to finesse in diamonds, cash the A, and retain the ♣Q as the entry to the South hand, and keep track of the King, Jack, 10 and 9 of diamonds. Bridge Baron's double dummy analysis confirms this. But as you see, the suggested line of play is simpler as you only have to keep track of one club, rather than four diamonds.

Bridge Baron's Line of Play
Bridge Baron's play was similar to the suggested line of play, cashing three rounds of clubs before finessing the diamond, and then finishing off trumps to squeeze East. However, Bridge Baron drew only one round of trump before playing three clubs, risking an enemy ruff. There was no ruff on this deal, so Bridge Baron went on to squeeze East and make the contract.
Par Contract Analysis:
East-West have a good sacrifice in 6♠, which is off by 4 tricks. The par contract therefore is 6♠ doubled by East-West, for a score of -800.

Bridge Baron deal No : 32644819418527122831334128966

You can download this deal in PPL format, and view it with Bridge Baron here :
Deal Of The Week
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