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Deal of the Week (Oct 06, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
1♠      dbl       2♠     3♠
dbl     pass      pass    5♣
all pass

Declarer wins your ♠K lead with the Ace (partner playing the 2) and draws trumps in 3 rounds, partner discarding a spade. Declarer now plays a heart to the Ace, noticing the fall of your Jack. He plays a heart from dummy, and plays low from hand after considerable thought. Winning perforce with the K, what do you play next?

Declarer has 6 clubs. Partner's ♠2 was a count signal showing odd number, so declarer has 2 spades (also, if declarer has a singleton spade, the defense has very little prospect). It looks as if declarer has Qxx in hearts and has read the heart position accurately. Which leaves declarer with 2 diamonds. If he has the K, he would be claiming by now. Therefore, partner has the K. It may seem safe to exit with a spade, and let partner score the K eventually. The "safe" spade return is not so safe after all, declarer can succeed by cashing the remaining two trumps, executing a criss-cross squeeze against your partner. Watch what happens:

 8 Deal  
 J98  K10

Declarer plays his last club, discarding a diamond from dummy. East has no good answer : If he discards a heart, declarer will cash the Q, play a diamond to dummy's Ace, and cash the last heart. If partner discards a diamond instead, declarer will play a diamond to dummy's Ace, cross over to the and cash the last diamond.

You can prevent the criss-cross squeeze by switching to a diamond, removing dummy's entry. Now declarer has no recourse, and the contract has to fail.

 KQJ83 Deal  762
 KJ  10983
 J98  K1043
 742  J8

North-South bid the hand poorly, missing the cold 3NT which has 9 top tricks. Also, ducking the second round of hearts is a peculiar play; playing the Q is successful on a lot of straightforward layouts where a squeeze is not required. Also, you would play the Jack from a wide variety of holdings, the KJ doubleton is just one of them. Finally, ducking the heart is a poor play even if you do have the K, as a diamond switch by you defeats the contract (and no squeeze exists if you hold the K).

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver asserts that a diamond switch is essential to thwart the criss-cross squeeze.

Bridge Baron's Line of Play
In with the K, Bridge Baron cashed a spade, and found the killing diamond switch to defeat the contract.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 3NT. Though declarer has only 9 top tricks, playing off all the clubs puts West under pressure, and an extra trick is generated. You can see this for yourself by playing this deal with Bridge Baron, and possibly making use of the double dummy solver.

Bridge Baron deal No : N4855-61389-02780-09787-84878-65240

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