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Compound Squeeze

Twelve years ago the Broward County Final of the Grand National Pairs Championship was held at the Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club. The top three finishers: 1. Emily Nevins, Helen Shanbrom; 2. Gracie Gabbai, Fred McBride; 3. Jackie Molovinsky, Evelyn Patten.

This was the most exciting deal, and several pairs went for all the marbles in 7 NT — not unreasonable with the North hand after South opened the bidding.

7 NT by South

Both Vul
S A 5 2
H 9
D A K Q J 5
C A K 9 4
S J 9 4 3
H 8 3
D 10 7 2
C 10 8 6 3
TableS Q 8 6
H Q 10 6 2
D 6 4 3
C Q 7 2
Lead: C 3S K 10 7
H A K J 7 5 4
D 9 8
C J 5

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
North

2 D
3 C
7 NT
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 H
2 H
3 NT

West chose to lead a club, taken by dummy’s king, and declarer had little choice but to try the heart finesse. When this held, he had 12 sure tricks assuming the diamonds ran; but where is the 13th trick? With hearts splitting 4-2, the contract seems hopeless.

There is no simple or double squeeze because either opponent can protect the clubs and spades. Enter, the compound squeeze. After finessing the H J, declarer cashes the H K to discard a club from dummy. The diamond suit is then run, South throwing two hearts and a spade. East is caught in a triple squeeze and must find two discards — the best he can do is discard two spades (other variations are left to the reader).

The S A is then cashed, followed by a spade to the king, and East is squeezed again (poor guy). East can delay the denouement by abandoning his club stopper, but now it is West’s turn to be crunched. The H A neatly squeezes West in the black suits, so the optimistic grand is made.

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© 1996 Richard Pavlicek