A Bad Habit
One of my bad habits is that I pay attention to
the play when I'm dummy. Better is to relax and
save energy for when it can be used more effectively,
but I find that difficult. On the other hand, I have seen
a few gems otherwise missed.
Playing a regional swiss, we are vulnerable and the
opponents not, and partner deals me
QJ107 AK3 106 AQ82
Partner opens 1. This is a difficult hand to
bid playing 2/1 methods. Jacoby 2NT won't help; I
don't really care which shortness partner has, or at
least I won't be able to take control no matter which
he has. I decide to try to describe my hand and let
partner take control. There isn't a perfect way to
do that, but we play strong jump shifts in a way that
will help. I bid 3. Partner will normally
bid 3, and he does this time. RHO doubles this.
Now when I bid 3, partner knows I have four
or more trumps, 16-18 dummy points, no singletons or
voids, and something good in clubs. He'll expect five clubs,
but I think he ought to know that if I don't have a stiff,
I'll have four clubs pretty often. In any case, he gives
me no further problems by jumping to 7!
West leads a trump and partner smiles. The hand is
If clubs are 3-2 or he guesses a singleton honor,
the slam is cold. What if clubs are bad? Partner
draws two rounds of trumps, the opening leader having
started with a singleton. Figuring that two singletons
and good enough high diamonds to double 3 would
probably have acted, he cashes the K. No one
shows out nor does an honor fall. He leads to the A,
but, very sadly, East discards a heart. West had
J1075. Partner considers this for awhile and
tries to squeeze West in diamonds and clubs. When East
shows up with the J, he is down one. Very unlucky.
1|| Pass|| 3|| Pass|
3|| Dbl|| 3|| Pass|
7|| All Pass|
Wait a sec...I've seen this layout before...yes! it's
the matrix for the double guard squeeze. Oh, my...I
blurt out, "I think you could have made it!" "What?"
"There's a double guard squeeze...but there is a
complication or two..let's see...yes, you need
to unblock the 10 as your first discard from
dummy!" We agree to wait to talk about this hand after the
match. On the next hand, we bid and make a difficult
vulnerable game, but we still lose the match by nine,
mostly because we lose 17 IMPs on the unlucky grand.
To make 7, declarer needs to start as he did,
then cash two hearts, pitching a low card in each
minor. Then he runs the trumps. On the fifth trump,
he must pitch the 10, reaching the following
On the last trump, West is squeezed in three suits.
Obviously, a club discard gives up a trick.
If West pitches his
last heart, East will be squeezed betweeen hearts and
diamonds when the Q is cashed.
a diamond allows partner to cross to the Q and
take a diamond finesse. That's why the 10 has
to be discarded; otherwise East doesn't cover and there
is no way back to the A.
It would not help for the defenders to alter their
discarding strategy earlier; as soon as East has
sole control of hearts, there's a straightforward
double squeeze around diamonds. Because there is
no entry to the hearts, a straight compound squeeze fails,
but the guard menace in diamonds makes up for it.
Perhaps it's impossible to get this right. If West
really did have KQJ, declarer has to guess
the position, as he cannot get a count on either red
suit. On the other hand, maybe West would have led
the K with all three honors. Then again, if
he had led it on the actual layout, 7 would
have been unmakable.
This is such a good hand that I unabashedly show
it around the room, despite its being one partner
didn't get right. No one else notices the squeeze,
even the person who said, "I'm good at seeing
compound squeezes." I reassure partner that it's
no sin to miss such a thing at the table. Too bad, though.
I would have been very impressed. ...and we would have
done a lot better in the event. It would have taken
a lot less effort to win the match if clubs had simply
Copyright © 2002 Jeff Goldsmith