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Deal of the Week (Aug 03, 2007) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West  North  East  South
1       dbl      pass  1NT
pass    3NT    all pass

In the finals of the National Open Swiss, you are the declarer 3NT after West opens 1 (the deal has been modified slightly from the original layout). The opening lead is the ♠3, which runs to your eight. Since you don't have many entries to your hand, you run the ♣J, as West has opened the bidding and is likely to possess the card. East surprises you by winning the ♣Q and returning the 8. You play low, West takes the trick with the Q and switches to the 3.

After the opening lead, you are guaranteed to score at least nine tricks (three spades, one heart, one diamond and four clubs). Though the scoring is IMPs, there are only seven deals in one round, so every IMP becomes important. What are your thoughts on prospects of overtrick(s)?

Almost every key card (K, ♠Q10, A) is marked with West. Your first key play arises when West leads a low heart at trick four. You should play a low heart from dummy, and capture East's jack with your queen (you will see the significance of this play pretty soon). Now you should run all your clubs. West has to find four discards, and can spare two hearts and a diamond. Here is the position when you lead your last club (on this trick you should discard a diamond from dummy, regardless of what West discards) :

 Q105 Deal  74
 A  76
  K9   76
 -  -
West is caught in the pangs of a triple squeeze, one with a repeating element. West has no good discard, as any discard by him would yield an extra trick for you. Furthermore, with the extra winner that you just obtained, you will squeeze West again. If West discards a diamond, you will cash the A to drop West's bare king, and cash 10 from hand to squeeze West in the majors. If West discards the A, you will play a heart to the king to squeeze West in diamonds and spades.

A spade discard doesn't do West any good either; You will cash the ace, king and the nine of spades, squeezing West in hearts and diamonds. At trick four, if you had won West's heart return in dummy with the king, your entry position would not have supported the squeeze. When you play the last club, West would discard a spade, and the position would have been:

 - Deal  -
 A  7
  K9   76
 -  -
When you cash the ♠9, West will have the privilege of discarding after you first discard from hand, and he will discard whichever suit you discard. The purpose of winning the heart in hand at trick four was to setup the heart threat in the North hand, so that the above issue does not arise.
 Q1053 Deal  764
 A1053  J764
  KQ94   876
 8  Q64

In general, a squeeze produces one extra trick. The repeating element of the triple squeeze is unique in that it produces two extra tricks.

In the other room, your opponents wrong-sided the contract and North became the declare in 3NT. East led a diamond which was ducked to West's queen. Now a heart was switched, and when East got in with the ♣Q, he returned a heart to set the contract. 660 + 100 was good for an unexpected 13 IMPs (you were only hoping for 2 extra IMPs in the form of overtricks).

After West plays a low heart at trick four, Bridge Baron's double dummy solver confirms that the triple squeeze produces two extra tricks. The double dummy solver also pointed out that an initial diamond honor or a heart lead would result restrict declarer to nine tricks. When West won the diamond queen, if West cashes the A or plays a diamond or a spade, declarer can be restricted to ten tricks.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 3NT by South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N5309-62107-95581-13072-47612-77561

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