Lesson ten

Instructions: Click on the link (the number of a deal) and after the movie appears, click on “Next” to have the opening lead. You can then click on “Play” and play the hand for yourself or by following my notes.

Deal one

You can count twelve top tricks.

Clubs may break 3-3, but do you really want to rely a grand slam on a 36% bet?

The only other possibility is that one defender holds the guards in both black suits, in which case, you can try to execute a squeeze against him, since he will have to throw one of them when you cash your winners in the red suits.

By simple counting of suits and high cards and watching discards carefully, try to determine which defender has the controls that stop your threat cards from being winners.

During the course of the play, you will find out, by count, that the only player you can squeeze here would be against East.

The 8 of clubs is one threat card. Dummy’s 8 of spades is the second.

Take one

Win the opening lead, cash four rounds of diamonds, throwing one club from your hand (you need only one extra trick, so the fifth club has no value).

Then test the club suit by cashing the Ace, King and Queen, discarding a spade from dummy.

West shows out on the third round, so the contract can be made only if East has the sole guard of spades, as well as clubs.

Cash your three heart winners, the last of which would be the squeeze card.

East has no good card to play on the last heart. He is squeezed in spades and clubs.

Whatever he throws, you will have your thirteenth trick.

Now, look at the end position.

You can see that one of the two threat cards – the 8 of clubs, became, in the course of the play, unguarded and the 8 of spades is guarded by the King.

In squeeze terms, the 8 of clubs is called a “One-card threat” and the 8 of spades is called “Two-card threat”.

A two-card threat is a threat card that in the end position accompanied by an entry.

Most squeezes require a two-card threat.

It is to allow you to reach the threat card if the defenders give up their guard in the suit.

The hand over the defender that is being squeezed, must hold at least one threat card.

As we can see, the defender who falls a victim of the squeeze here is East, in which case the hand that lies over East is dummy’s.

In squeeze terms, this hand is called the “upper hand”.

In most cases, the threat card in the upper hand, allows you to make your discard AFTER the defender makes his and it will usually be accompanied by an entry (the King of spades here).

In this deal, since you intend to squeeze East, the upper-hand’s threat card is dummy’s 8 of spades.

We can also see the necessity for the threat card in the upper hand to be accompanied by an entry.

Take two

Suppose you had carelessly cashed the King of spade when in dummy, then followed the same line of play.

When you play the Queen of heart (the squeeze card), East can safely throw his spade guard.

Dummy’s 8 of spades will be established, but you will have no way to reach it.

Deal two

You have six top tricks in clubs and hearts, and must develop three more tricks from spades and diamonds.

What will happen if you win the opening lead with the Ace and lead the Jack of spades?

Take one

East will take his Ace immediately and clear the heart suit.

Two extra spade tricks have brought your total to eight, but you will not score any extra tricks from the diamond suit.

The moment that you play a diamond, East will win his Ace and cash enough hearts to beat the contract.

Take two

Win the opening lead with dummy’s King and lead a low spade towards your hand.

If East rises with the Ace, you will have three spade tricks, enough for the contract.

If instead East plays low, you will win the Jack, return to dummy with a top club and lead a diamond to your hand.

If East rises with the Ace, you will have two diamond tricks for the contract.

If he ducks, you will win with the King and set up ninth trick in spades.

Deal three

North wins the Ace-King of spades and continues with the Jack.

If you ruff low, it is obvious what will happen.

South will overruff and you will still have the Ace of hearts to lose.

That will be one down.

Take one

So, you should ruff with the Jack. South discards a diamond.

If you play a trump, North will win with the Ace and lead another spade, allowing South to overruff.

Take two

Instead, you must put South under pressure by playing diamonds.

Play the King of diamonds, overtake the Jack with the Ace and play the Queen.

South, who threw a diamond at trick three, is now out of the suit.

If he fails to ruff, you will throw your last spade and make the contract easily.

East ruffs, therefore, and you overruff.

Return to dummy with the Ace of clubs and lead the 10 of diamonds.

Once again South has to ruff.

Overruff and lead the King of trumps.

North wins with the Ace and South follows with his last trump.

You will be able to ruff your last spade and the contract is yours.

Deal four

You have eight tricks on top, so you need an extra trick from somewhere.

This may come from a finesse in diamonds or hearts, or perhaps the heart suit may split 3-3, enabling you to set up and score the ninth trick.

Win the Ace of spades, then, three more spade tricks in dummy on which you discard the 2 of hearts.

South discards the three of diamonds, then a club.

Lead your last club which South wins.

South can grab another club trick on which you discard diamonds from both hands.

South must now lead away from one of his red suit honors, giving you the ninth trick.

Deal five

You win the lead with the Ace and play the Ace of trumps, West discarding a heart.

Take one

One possible plan is to draw trumps straight away.

You can then cash the Ace-Queen of hearts cross to dummy with the King of clubs and throw your diamond loser on the King of hearts.

You will not make the contract when clubs break other than 3-3.

On some deals you can improve your chances by playing on the 4-2 suit before drawing all the trumps.

You know already that East has long trumps.

If he also holds four clubs, you can play the Ace-King-Queen of clubs and ruff the fourth round in dummy.

On the present deal, it is most unlikely to succeed.

You would need to discard your diamond loser on the King of hearts before drawing trumps, so East would have to hold three hearts in addition to four trumps and four clubs.

Too much to expect, especially when this would leave East with only two diamonds, making his Queen of diamonds lead a most unlikely against a grand slam.

Take two

A better idea is to ruff two diamonds in your hand, playing the hand as a dummy reversal.

At trick three, after you have found out about the bad trump break, you should cash the Ace-Queen of hearts then cross to the King of clubs and throw your remaining diamond on the King of hearts.

Ruff a diamond with the 10 of trumps in your hand and return to dummy the 6 to the 8.

You then ruff dummy’s last diamond with the Jack return to dummy by overtaking the Queen of trumps with the King.

Finally, you pull East’s last trump and claim.

Is this a better line than simply drawing trumps and hoping for the clubs 3-3?

It sure is.

All you need is for East to follow to three rounds, allowing you to discard your diamond loser.

Since there are eight hearts out, and only six clubs, East is much more likely to hold three or more cards in hearts than in clubs.

Deal six

Say you win the opening lead in dummy and run the 10 of trumps successfully.

You play a trump to the Queen and have to bring you contract home after south shows out.

You cannot catch North’s King of hearts with a straightforward finesse and there is an apparent second loser in the diamond suit.

You must plan to add six trump tricks to the six winners you have in the side suits.

The first move is to cash the King and the Queen of spades.

You need North to have at least three spades anyway and you don’t want him to discard a spade when you ruff clubs in your hand.

When this works successfully, cross to the Ace of clubs and ruff a club.

Play the King and Ace of diamonds and ruff another club.

The two club ruffs have reduced your trump length to two, the same as North.

Look at the end position that you have reached.

As you can see, there is no need to cross to dummy to lead a card towards your trump tenace. You simply exit with your losing diamond.

It makes no difference which defender wins the trick. You are assured of the last two tricks with your A-J of trumps which placed over East’s K-8.


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