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The Florida Squeeze

 by Richard Pavlicek

The fiasco of our last presidential election has impacted many things, so it might as well enter the bridge world, too. Therefore, I am proposing a new bridge term: the Florida squeeze. Up until now, this technique has been called a “squeeze without the count,” but my new name is shorter and — ahem — just as descriptive. Consider this deal from a knockout team event.

The same 6 NT contract was reached at both tables. (A slam in clubs would be far better but is difficult to reach.) Both Wests led the S K, and both Souths faced the improbable task of winning 12 tricks.

North dealsS 8 6 3WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH A K 9 5 4 31 HPass1 S
D KPass2 HPass3 C
C Q 9 3Pass3 SPass4 NT
S K Q J 7TableS 9 4Pass5 DPass6 NT
H Q J 8 7H 10 6All Pass
D 5 4 3D 10 8 7 6 2
C 4 2C 8 7 6 5
S A 10 5 2
H 2
D A Q J 9
6 NT SouthC A K J 10

At one table declarer ducked the S K to rectify the count for a squeeze. West continued with the S Q and South won the ace. The D K was unblocked, then the run of the minor suits forced West to crumble — he could not protect both majors. Very nice. Or was it?

Not really. West could beat the contract by shifting to a heart at trick two. This would break declarer’s communication, and the squeeze would fail. Try it.

Enter the Florida squeeze. At the other table, declarer won the first spade and proceeded to run his minor suits. When South led his last winner, West held S Q-J H Q-J-8, and North held S 8-6 H A-K-9. There was no defense. If West let go a heart, North’s H 9 would be good; so West pitched the S J. Seeing this, declarer threw the H 9 from dummy, then led a spade to establish his 12th trick in spades.

Curiously, it takes an original heart lead to defeat the slam against any play. Even the Florida squeeze and 500 lawyers couldn’t overcome that.

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© 2000 Richard Pavlicek